Irene, from K-pop group Red Velvet, is facing a backlash after allegedly making homophobic comments to a fan.
The incident - which has not been confirmed - has captivated social media users after being translated and posted online. In the reported conversation, a female fan at an autograph signing asked Irene to "write what you want to tell me", to which Irene responded "what do you want to hear from me?"
The fan replied that she wanted Irene to say "Let's get married!" and Irene's reported response was that "marriage is supposed to be with a guy".
When the fan replied that she would "be the guy", Irene supposedly reiterated that "marriage is supposed to be with a guy".
Fans of Red Velvet were quick to take to Twitter expressing their disappointment in the pop star.
However, some fans are coming to Irene's defense, saying that her quotes have been mistranslated and misinterpreted.
In one Tweet, a fan says that what Irene meant to say was not that marriage is "supposed to be" with a guy, but rather, that she herself was going to marry a guy. They argue that the original Korean transcription of this interaction was missing characters that would be necessary to give the sentence the meaning that Irene was saying that marriage, in its "original" or "natural" state, would be between a man and a woman.