SM Entertainment Once Again Accused of Plagiarism Following Drop of Aespa's 'Black Mamba' Teaser

SM Entertainment has once again been accused of plagiarism. However, this time, they are accused of plagiarizing not one but two separate works for Aespa's "Black Mamba" teaser. Keep on reading to learn more about the situation.

On Sunday, Nov. 15, SM Entertainment dropped the teaser for Aespa's debut track "Black Mamba." The teaser piqued international fans' interest with its bright color scheme and the numerous different settings the girls are seen even in just 40 seconds.

However, K-pop fans have immediately noticed how similar the teasers are with the music video is with "POP/STARS", a song by the virtual League of Legends girl group, K/DA.

First, fans noticed how both videos are set in a subway. Both videos feature a subway station sign that flashes the group name and the song title. Additionally, both the videos feature the artist standing in the middle of the subway train, posing as the camera zooms out.

Additionally, fans noticed that both videos used the same neon color schemes. Both artists from each video are also seen using spray paint for graffiti. 

Additionally, the "Black Mamba" has a similar overall aesthetic to the creature seen in the "POP/STARS" music video.

This is not the first time Aespa has been compared with K/DA. When SM Entertainment first dropped the photo teasers for Aespa's "AI" members, Korean netizens immediately compared the photo with K/DA's teaser for "POP/STARS." 

When Aespa's teaser first dropped, many claimed that Aespa's teaser's quality was noticeably lower than the one for K/DA. Some even accused SM Entertainment of copying K/DA. On the other hand, some fans suggested that the "AI" teasers resembled the members of BLACKPINK too much, to the point where it looks like fanart.

Additionally, a visual artist from Germany, Timo Helgert, pointed out the similarity of his past work with Aespa's teaser. Previously, in NCT's music video for "Make a Wish," SM Entertainment spoiled bits of Aespa's teaser at the end of the video. In that scene, we see the subway Aespa's "Black Mamba" teaser is set in. The subway floor is filled with grass and purple flowers, with a purple butterfly flying around. 

Tom Helgert's past works share a video of an empty subway with grass and white flowers, with butterflies flying around. 

In Aespa's "Black Mamba" teaser, there is a scene in which a large snake - presumably the black mamba - is seen sliding through the doors of the subway.

In another one of Tom Helgert's past works, a large snake that looks extremely similar to the black mamba in Aespa's teaser is seen sliding through the floor of an empty subway.

In Aespa's teaser, we see the members often use their phones and gadgets. The posts from the phone are often seen jumping out of the gadget and floating around them. In the teaser, we see that effect again.

Many pointed out how similar this effect is with Tom Helgert's past work, which he has shared with fans on his social media accounts. 

Helgert also noticed the similarities due to the number of messages he received, asking if he has helped SM Entertainment with the teaser if he was at least asked for permission. He shared an Instagram story featuring a photo of Aespa and two of his past works and claims SM Entertainment did not ask for his permission, nor did he work on it. He ends the story by saying it appears the company copied his work.

As of the moment, SM Entertainment has not released statement about the issue.

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Written by Alexa L.

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