Sorb3t, a California-based “Idol Group” found themselves at the center of a not-so-sweet TikTok controversy, being accused of cultural appropriation and racism after uploading a video performing their fan “call and responses.”
“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," Berry, the leading member of the group said in a now-deleted clip.
@jefferrybezos #duet with @sorb3t.official #animeriverside ♬ original sound - sorb3t.official
Though none of the call and responses were anything special, Berry’s garnered the most backlash, critics critiquing her as she appeared to strategically use a faux Japanese accent.
"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!'" Berry, who later clarified that she is white, said in her video.
Quickly drawing comparisons to YouTube personality Jennifer Murphy’s infamously offensive "I Want To Be Neenja" video, the group quickly uploaded an apology.
Though thanks to the stitches, including one from TikTok creator @soogia1 imploring Berry to “consider the degradation and the demeaning and mockery” faced by those who “actually have Asian accents when they speak English,” Sorb3t’s video still remains on the platform.
@soogia1 I really hope this message is received in the spirit it was intended. I tried to link the video but it wouldn’t let me. #anime #cosplay #accents #englishasasecondlanguage #greenscreenvideo ♬ Cupid – Twin Ver. (FIFTY FIFTY) – Sped Up Version - sped up 8282
“I genuinely and wholeheartedly apologize to every single person that I have upset or that I have offended with my call and response," Berry said in Sorb3t’s apology, admitting that “as a white person” she has “an insane amount of privilege and “will never truly understand the struggles that people of color go through."
Yet, even after she apologized for her decision to employ a Japanese accent in her call and response, “When I eventually have my own tracks, I plan to release solo music almost exclusively in Japanese,” she said, before thanking her Japanese boyfriend for helping her come up with them.
@sorb3t.official Replying to @yes ♬ original sound - sorb3t.official
“Sorb3t is not off to a strong start bestie!!” wrote @megandepressed.