Update: The performer has been suspended for a month by her parent group BNK48, citing her action as “an inappropriate model for the youth and society.” She will not be on stage for the group’s upcoming performance. She has posted an apology on her Facebook page and said she will take it as a “lesson learned.”
BANGKOK — A member of an all-girl idol group is being grilled today by netizens who believe she flaunts counterfeit luxury fashion goods.
Natruja “Kaew” Chutiwansophon, one of the leading members of BNK48, has yet to respond to allegations she uses fake high-end designer items.
“Can someone tell Kaew BNK48 to stop flaunting her wealth with fake goods,” read a Saturday post by Facebook page “Idol’s Panties by 7Mangda.” “Real Patek Philippe watches are from Geneva, but it appears that she might have got hers from Chatuchak.”
The post continues with an analysis of the idol’s timepiece, alongside other accessories such as a Gucci handbag and Chanel tee, which the page alleges are all counterfeit.
“The Aquanaut collection that she wore does not come in grey models (except the ten year anniversary special model),” read the post, accompanied with annotated photos of the watch. “More importantly, the crown has to be embedded into the watch’s face, not bulging out like this.”
Kaew, 25, is regularly seen flaunting her (possibly fake) designer bags and shoes. In a live video, she can be heard saying, “I like using brand name goods” and “I use them because they are meaningful.”
But gossip is now surrounding the most senior member of the group, who is dubbed by fans as the “queen” due to her mature and elegant appearance.
“Using fake goods does not raise your taste above lower class people,” user Alawee Ngamkhanong commented.
Another group of netizens pointed out the importance of intellectual property.
“Try to think of the designers who spent years on their best-selling designs. Then some asshole simply copies it. How would you feel?” user Wutthinan Roysan commented. “It’s not just spending habits that are important here, but it’s the violation of intellectual property.”
A Twitter user even tweeted a satirical solution for Kaew to address the ongoing outrage.
“Just tell the public that you borrowed the watch from someone and you’ll be fine. I have seen someone do this before and it works,” user @PatchieTan tweeted on Monday, referring to Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan’s watch saga.
น้องแก้วแถลงเลยค่ะ ว่ายืมเพื่อนมา รอดแน่นอน พี่เคยเห็นคนทำแล้วเวิร์คนะคะ สู้ๆค่ะ #แก้วชอบของแบรนด์เนมค่ะ
— PatchieTan (@PatchieTan) August 19, 2019
Netizens further speculated that a wallet Kaew gave to fellow BNK48 member Jiradapa “Pupe” Intajak as a birthday gift was also counterfeit. Kaew reportedly received a genuine designer item in return.
“A Prada Saffiano Rose wallet is supposed to come with a paper wrapper, not in a fabric bag like this. The zipper has to match the color of the wallet as well,” read another post by Facebook page, “Idol’s Panties by 7Mangda.” The page also accused Kaew of selling her used fake goods, though the claim was not supported by any evidence.
Kaew’s fans, on their part, have defended their idol’s actions as within her rights.
“Everyone is using counterfeit goods. What can be economized should be economized,” user Surapan Wuthisen commented. “It’s her personal taste. Don’t get dramatic over it.”
Other netizens have defended the idol by pointing out that it can be difficult to authenticate real from fake designer goods. Facebook user Matilda Charlotte posted a photo of a Gucci bag and asked whether it was fake. When netizens swarmed in and ruled it to be an imitation, she posted the receipt of the bag.
อันนี้ตลก555555555555คือในดราม่า #KaewBNK48 #แก้วชอบของแบรนด์เนมค่ะ
ก็แหกกันเรื่องกระเป๋า บน.ละพี่คนนี้นางก็เอามาลงให้เซียนๆดูกันว่าของนางอ่ะแท้รึปลอม พอคนว่าปลอมเยอะๆ
— I T S A B E L L R A 👑 (@itsabellra) August 18, 2019
Neither Kaew or her parent group BNK48 have come out to defend themselves as of the press time. Her name can still be seen in the Monday lineup post for the group’s upcoming performance.
Thailand’s branch of the Japanese idol group AKB48 has regularly been the subject of controversy. A member was caught wearing a Nazi shirt during a concert rehearsal in January, after which she sang the Israeli national anthem as part of a “sincere apology.” In 2018, its frontwoman received backlash for agreeing to promote the junta’s policies in a government television program.