A Thai indie pop band with a regional following broke up yesterday after its guitarist’s sexist and homophobic views came to light.
Gym and Swim, which has produced a number of pop anthems and toured Asia, lost its lead singer and announced a six-month hiatus after offensive tweets by guitarist Nitikrist “Terk” Attakrist were dug up in response to his homophobic comments.
Crude messages dating back to the band’s 2013 founding were brought to light after Terk wrote Saturday that Putthipong “Bilkin” Assaratanakul and Krit “PP” Amnuaydechkorn, stars of a recent boys’ love drama tapped to perform a massive Tokyo music fest, “should just fuck each other.”
Coming one day before Bangkok hosted its first Pride Parade in 16 years, Terk’s comments uncorked a fierce backlash, sent #BanGymAndSwim trending, and led people to his old tweets, such as this passing observation of a fellow commuter from 2013:
“The woman in front of me at the MRT is wearing an open back top. It makes me want to unhook her bra. Why did she have to wear such a shirt?”
Another referenced actress Sutatta “Pun Pun” Udomsilp, who back in 2013 was photographed using drugs.
“I’m thinking if either of these leaked which would be heavier: Her smoking crystal meth or her sucking dick? I’m thinking the latter; everyone would be searching for the clip,” he wrote.
Other tweets included homophobic slurs directed at talk how host Woody Milintachinda, as well as comments about the size of an actress’ breasts, and less controversial posts hating on Blackpink, Justin Bieber, BNK48, and even Coldplay. Terk’s Twitter account is no longer available.
He dismissed his comments as “bad boy” behavior in a too-late apology issued yesterday.
“Now things have gone too far with people digging up my old tweets from 10 years ago that I would like to forget because coming back to read them now, they’re very disgusting,” he wrote Sunday. “Because in the past, I would like to admit that I was a bad boy who used to have racist thoughts that come with young age.”
He added that his “past self … should not receive any sort of forgiveness of any kind because I now accept that my attitude is unacceptable.”
Later Saturday, amid the growing furor, the band’s label apologized. On Sunday, Terk’s own apology did not quiet the uproar. Two hours later, its lead singer quit the band.
In its statement, Parinam Music said the band would go on a six-month hiatus and sever ties with Terk.
“Gym and Swim’s Parinam Music label apologizes for the lack of judgment, and sincerely apologize to both PP and Bilkin, as well as the fans here,” it said. “Gym and Swim will be taking a hiatus for 6 months, as for the band member who commented inappropriately, he will be taking a break from the band indefinitely.”
In his apology a day later, Terk addressed the two actors: “I admit that the words were inappropriate. I am personally open and respectful of the sexuality, diversity, and passion of LGBTQIA+ culture, which is the beauty of modern society.”
Two hours later, lead singer Chalerm Soongsak announced his resignation from the band with yet another statement saying he did not share Terk’s views.
“Right now there is a feeling of deep regret, and I think an apology should come with a punishment,” Chalerm wrote. “I think everyone would feel that taking responsibility together is the right thing to do.”
Gym and Swim’s 2013 debut LP, Seasick, featured hit single Sunrise.