Pop singer PSY, who's become a ubiquitous presence this year with his hit "Gangnam Style," has gone into apology mode, saying he's "deeply sorry" for saying that Americans should be killed "slowly and painfully" during a 2004 performance.
"As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world," the statement, issued to MTV News, begins.
"The song I was featured in — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time," the pop singer said in the statement. "While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words."
The "Gangnam Style" sensation added, "I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."
The singer found himself at the center of controversy this week, after reports emerged that he issued an anti-American screed during a concert in October 2004.
During a performance of the song "Dear American" by the South Korean group N.E.X.T. with several other artists, PSY tore into America and its foreign policy, rapping, "Kill those f—ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives, adding, "Kill those f—ing Yankees who ordered them to torture … Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers … Kill them all slowly and painfully," according to TMZ.
The concert came after the beheading of South Korean hostage Kim Sun-Il, who was killed by Iraqi insurgents in protest of South Korea's decision to send 3,000 more troops to Iraq.
A spokesman for PSY has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.