When April 1 rolled around this year, we all sort of agreed, worldwide, that pranks were off the table.
Things are weird enough as it is, without adding more uncertainty into the mix.
Nobody needs to be reminded that our politicians sometimes don’t know what they’re talking about, or process the idea that the Springboks might be getting a name change.
All of that was 2019’s problem.
Needless to say, there are significantly fewer awful “jokes” in the news, with the exception of one really bad one, which comes to us courtesy of K-Pop star Jaejoong (real name Kim Jae-joong).
It’s so awful that even The New York Times covered it:
For most people, the coronavirus is no laughing matter. But the Korean star known as Jaejoong of the K-pop group JYJ decided to pretend to have the virus on Wednesday in a misfired attempt at an April Fools’ Day joke.
He made the claim on his Instagram account, which had nearly two million followers, and his legions of fans reacted with shock and concern.
The Instagram post, which has since been deleted, is in Korean, so here’s a translation:
I have contracted Coronavirus. It was careless of me to live disregarding all of the cautions provided by the government and those around me.
Just how big could one individual’s behavior impact all of society be… I am sorry to those who could have been infected by me.
The stupid judgments I made, it’s how I became like this. I lived thinking it would never happen to me.
I am currently hospitalized. I currently feel grateful and apologetic, reflecting on my past.
There are so many things I want to say…
There are so many people I want to see…
It looks like Jae-joong was trying to follow in the footsteps of a number of celebrities who have publicly spoken about their own experiences after contracting coronavirus. The obvious difference here is that Jae-joong doesn’t have the virus, but thought it would be…I’m not actually sure.
He claims it was an April Fools’ Day joke, but it could also have been a cheap publicity stunt. Either way, it isn’t cool. He later apologised and acknowledged that the prank wasn’t very funny.
“This prank was too much to be considered a simple April Fools’ Day joke, but many people expressed their worry for me during that short period of time,” he said.
With all the misinformation flying around about COVID-19, this sort of thing just adds fuel to the fire.
While it’s a good idea to keep the mood light, maybe think things over before pranking anyone during a pandemic.
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