One netizen uploaded a post on an online community portal explaining what s/he considers to be problematic with IU's album concept, which apparently revolves around a 'lolita' theme.
IU herself had explained the concept behind "Zeze," the song on her new album which drew criticism from listeners, "'My Sweet Orange Tree's Zeze is a character with flaws. In a certain light, he is described as an 'angelic child' and a 'child with a shining heart,' but in another light, he is portrayed as 'a devilish, contrarian character.' He is innocent but also cruel. He is very mischievous so he acts meanly towards others. It makes sense because Zeze is a young child...that's why I feel he is charismatic and sexy. I think it's an immense charm for the character to have the reader be drawn to his two traits and cheer him on until the very end."
The netizen wrote, "Those who read 'My Sweet Orange Tree' will know that you can't describe the character like that. If you take what she said at face value, she's basically saying that a boy who was sexually abused is charismatic and sexy."
The netizen then showed a series of risque pictures from IU's album showing the singer sprawled in bed with nothing but a sheet covering her body and another photo of her lying down in a white one piece, and explained, "Behind her are books with the titles, 'Delicate,' 'Leon,' and, 'Discipline.' 'Leon' is a famous movie that uses a lolita concept and 'Delicate' means weak which signifies 'a weak girl who is an easy target for abuse.' 'Discipline' represents 'a man who (sexually) tames a little girl.' Honestly, it may mean nothing if there was just one example there but with three prime cliches, doesn't it just scream 'lolita'? Even a non-expert like myself knows this so there's no way that the photographer and the person who thought of the concept wouldn't know... I think everyone would know what the meaning behind [IU's] white one piece dress and her tousled hair is."
Some of the top comments on this post read, "Oh sh*t that's really freaky.....omg.....so dirty....she really is fake kekekekeke innocence my a*s!", "Omg I've read the lyrics for 'Zeze' for the first time but seriously, who wrote it. That a child is abused like hell by his father and going astray is charismatic and sexy..??" and, "It's only because it's IU that the reaction is like this. It would have been different with any other artist."