Sorb3t, comprised of members Berry, Alice and Ashe, is an overseas idol group, also known as a kaigai idol group, inspired by J-pop idols.
On Wednesday (May 23), the trio introduced themselves on TikTok by sharing their call and response style, which shows how they would interact with
“So sweet! Hello, we are Sorb3t! We are an idol group based in California, and today we wanted to teach you guys our call and responses,” pink member Berry announced.
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Berry’s personal call and response, however, drew backlash when the member, who is a white American, delivered her part in Japanese.
“Hello everyone. My name is Berry, and I’m the leader and pink member of Sorb3t,” began.
“I start off by saying, ‘Strawberry!’ and then you repeat back, ‘Blueberry!’ and when I ask, ‘Who’s everyone’s sweet idol?’ you’re gonna say, ‘Berry-chan!'” she continued, speaking partly in Japanese and using loanwords such as “sutoroberī.”
Watch Berry’s part, below:
Berry’s use of Japanese, which isn’t uncommon in overseas idol groups, drew the ire of the internet, with many crying cultural appropriation.
“Right, but did the second one have to say strawberry like that..and their group music is gonna be in English, so like…” one person commented.
“And I thought I was delulu,” someone else joked, using the popular slang for the word delusional.
“Strawberry accent is sending me,” another wrote.
The group has since deleted the original viral video, and Berry released an apology video on the group’s TikTok account.
“I genuinely and wholeheartedly apologize to every single person that I have upset or that I have offended with my call and response … I, as a white person, have an insane amount of privilege, and I will never truly understand the struggles that people of color go through,” she said.
Berry also explained why she chose to say her call and response in Japanese, despite the group aiming to release music in English.
“When I eventually have my own tracks, I plan to release solo music almost exclusively in Japanese,” she revealed. She also added that her boyfriend is Japanese and “unintentionally” created her signature call and response after during a discussion about her “idol career.”
Watch Berry’s apology video, below:
Still, some viewers didn’t buy the apology.
“PLS, THE BF CARD IS CRAZY,” one user commented.
“UR VOICE CHANGED LMAO,” another person noted.
In an update posted over the weekend, the group announced that they are taking a break after they were doxxed on the internet.
See more reactions to Sorb3t’s controversy, below: