Japanese band pulls music video with ape-like natives

A Japanese rock band has pulled the music video for its new song "Columbus" after drawing flak for scenes that depicted Christopher Columbus with ape-like men.

The video shows three historical figures teaching the ape-like beings to do various things, like how to ride on horses and play musical instruments.

The video swiftly sparked a backlash after it was released on Wednesday - it was removed just a day later.

The band, Mrs Green Apple, apologised on Thursday, saying the video "contains expressions that lack understanding of historical and cultural backgrounds".

In the video, the band's three members - dressed in costumes depicting Columbus, Napoleon and Beethoven - are shown discovering an island inhabited by people who look like apes.

Some social media criticised the video for being racist while others accused it of affirming slavery.

"Columbus is credited with creating slavery, and [there are] controversial scenes such as educating apes to look like natives. Didn't anyone notice that," read one comment on X.

"The music video shows the men dressed as colonisers and the natives are portrayed as literal monkeys... that's actually insane," another chimed in.

Others took issue with its portrayal of Columbus - the man has been credited for "discovering" America, but  some claim he was a brutal governor who mistreated and enslaved the natives.

"Wasn't there anyone involved who had studied world history at all?," wrote a comment on YouTube.

"I think the people defending this video dont know anything about history in North America. Columbus is hated by many Americans, to the point where Columbus Day has disappeared [in many places]," another said.

In one of two apology statements posted yesterday, the band said they had intended to depict "life forms of different ages having a home party".

"We were concerned from the beginning that [the apes] might be seen as discriminatory expression, but we had no intention of likening apes to humans.

"We never intended to make the content discriminatory or to make it something that affirms tragic history," it said.

Coca-Cola had initially included the video as part of Coke Studio, its music initiative featuring celebrities.

Mrs Green Apple has some 3.4 million followers on YouTube and the band is behind several songs in popular Japanese anime series One Piece.

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