(CNN) — Topps apologized after it shared an insensitive trading card image of K-pop band BTS bruised and beaten.
The sticker card depicts BTS members in whack-a-mole holes with bruised faces, a Grammy trophy over their heads and text that reads “BTS Bruisers.” The band did not take home any Grammy awards on Sunday.
The trading card and collectibles company initially included the card as part of a Grammys-edition deck of Garbage Pail Kids sticker cards, a series released in 1985 as a parody to the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. After receiving severe backlash on social media, Topps apologized and said it had removed the BTS image from the deck.
“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” the company tweeted. “We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”
BTS fans, known as the BTS Army, expressed their anger and disappointment for the cartoon.
“Just learned about the disgusting caricature Topps made of BTS. That is not satire. It’s downright racist. For anyone trying to brush it off as comedic, depicting violence like that toward an Asian group during these times is hateful & dangerous. what in the world,” USA Today’s audience editor Fatima Farha tweeted.
The backlash comes during a time of increased hate crimes against Asian Americans in the United States. In the past two months alone, there have been at least 500 reports of Asian Americans reported being targeted, with cases ranging from verbal harassment to physical assaults.
Many people chastised Topps for releasing the image a day after eight people were killed in a shooting in Atlanta — six of the eight people killed were Asian women, according to officials. Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said Wednesday that investigators are not ready to say yet whether or not the attacks are being considered as a hate crime.