The 'Burn It Up' singer appeared to have said, 'Yo! N***a what's up?' in a special video for music show 'Show Champion'.
The video saw all 11 members of Wanna One trying to appeal fans with their cuteness. When it was Jae Hwan's turn, he seemingly said, "Yo! N***a what's up? Come on!" Although the word couldn't be clearly heard, people speculated that he purposely said the n-word.
Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the "Energetic" hitmaker. @nctelitist even slowed down the video in order to let people know what he exactly said. "so this is kim jaehwan of wanna one saying 'n***a,' that show champion tried to hide. i even slowed it down so y'all could see," s/he stated.
so this is kim jaehwan of wanna one saying "nigga," that show champion tried to hide. i even slowed it down so y'all could see. pic.twitter.com/y7GsJrXsnO— nia | janae day! (@nctelitist) August 24, 2017
"I love kim jaehwan but this is wrong in so many levels," @lordgguo tweeted.
i love kim jaehwan but this is wrong in so many levels pic.twitter.com/1EZLQKNVBw— #ENERGETIC7thWIN 🍑 (@lordgguo) August 24, 2017
Similarly, @adaehwi slammed Jae Hwan for being ignorant, writing, "hhhhh deep sigh that this isn't new but also kim jaehwan really is a stinky boy i shouldn't have ignored the signs." @wannabIink added, "[REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!] it was the motherf**ker jaehwan. Kim Jaehwan, hes the one who f**ked up NOT the whole damn group."
hhhhh deep sigh that this isn't new but also kim jaehwan really is a stinky boy i shouldn't have ignored the signs— jojo goes to school (@adaehwi) August 24, 2017
[REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!] it was the motherfucker jaehwan. Kim Jaehwan, hes the one who fucked up NOT the whole damn group— ☼ (@wannabIink) August 24, 2017
However, some fans saw the problem from another perspective and concluded that Jae Hwan was actually trying to say, "naega what's up," which was a word play on Korean words "naega wattseo." The words "naega wattseo" translates to "I'm here" in English.
"Why do you judge the language of other countries based on your own language? You don't even know about Korean language," @Visho_King tweeted alongside a picture that explained what naega wattseo meant.
Others quickly came to the singer's defense. @lovelycloud0322 quipped, "if you want to blame korean, plz study korean first. Their logic doesn't make any sense." @bynolano said, "English is not the center of the world. To watch Korean TV, learn Korean. I'm disgusted with you guys."
This wasn't the first time the word "naega" sparked controversy due to its similar pronunciation with the n-word. Last year, Seventeen (II)'s S.Coups stirred a hot debate among fans as he seemingly said the n-word on camera.