Opinion

K-POP Idols and the Battle with Haters

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K-POP artists are beloved around the globe, captivating fans with their talent. According to a report by the American research company Statista, the total revenue of the South Korean music industry reached approximately 11 trillion won (around won) in 2022, with exports amounting to about 926.76 million dollars.

However, alongside their talent, these artists also face a growing problem – haters. The issue of defamation and slander directed at them is becoming increasingly severe each year. Social media and streaming services, which should be platforms for enjoyable interaction, have also become mediums for inflicting pain on these artists.

This article delves into the current state of defamation surrounding K-POP artists and the measures taken by leading agencies to combat it.

Ways K-POP Artists Interact with Fans and Haters

The means of contact between artists, fans, and haters are diversifying. While some agencies prohibit the ownership of personal accounts to prevent trouble, the methods of defamation are limitless.

Social Media

Like many celebrities, numerous K-POP idols interact with fans via social media platforms such as Instagram. Some agencies and groups prohibit personal accounts to prevent issues, but troubles still arise from leaked private account posts.

Interaction Apps

Services like Weverse and Bubble allow artists and fans to exchange messages. Mostly subscription-based, these platforms have a forced withdrawal system for users who violate policies, making it difficult for haters to infiltrate. Yet, comments witnessing defamation are not uncommon.

Live Streaming

Live streaming on platforms like Instagram and interaction apps allow real-time communication between artists and fans. However, the artists are at high risk of encountering defamatory comments during these sessions. There have been numerous instances of idols being moved to tears by such comments.

Fan Advertisements

In South Korea, it is common for fans to pool money on occasions like artists’ birthdays to run trucks with electronic billboards, set up coffee cars, or display banners. While mostly a positive activity, these have also been misused by haters.

Direct Interaction at Airports

K-POP artists, who often travel domestically and internationally, are subjected to photography by waiting fans. Although not officially banned, physical contact and persistent photography are controversial, along with leaks of flight information and passport photo theft by airport staff or insiders.

Recent Incidents of Defamation

  • A female idol’s relationship with an actor was exposed, leading to a barrage of slander on social media. Fans also demanded her contract termination via a truck campaign, forcing the idol to issue an apology on social media.
  • Unfounded rumours about a male idol led to defamation on social media and calls for his exit from the group via a truck campaign. The idol’s agency announced legal action, declaring the rumours baseless.
  • During a live stream, a female idol read a comment that insinuated murder. She responded on the spot, and her agency later issued a statement announcing legal actions against malicious comments.
  • A lawsuit was filed against a YouTuber persistently spreading false information about a female idol. The idol and her agency are seeking damages.
  • A fan repeatedly making death threats against a male idol was arrested.

The examples highlighted above merely scratch the surface of the challenges faced by K-POP idols. With their soaring popularity, the battle against haters continues, underlining the need for robust measures to safeguard these artists’ rights and dignity.

The Stance of Various Agencies

In response to the increasing issue of defamation against their artists, major entertainment agencies in South Korea have adopted a variety of measures to protect their talents. Here’s a look at the approaches taken by four of the country’s leading agencies:

SM Entertainment – Establishment of a Reporting Centre

Home to artists like BOA, aespa, and NCT, SM Entertainment has set up ‘KWANGYA 119’, a reporting center dedicated to protecting the rights of their artists. Fans can directly report incidents of defamation, slander, or fake news affecting their favourite idols, with staff members responding to these reports. To date, the center has received over 230,000 reports, with some being made publicly accessible on their website for transparency.


Source:https://kwangya119.smtown.com/

JYP Entertainment – Announcing Legal Actions

JYP Entertainment, the powerhouse behind Twice and StrayKids, recently issued statements announcing the initiation of legal actions in response to defamation and the spread of false information targeting specific groups. The company has also called for active information provision from fans to further assist in these legal battles.

Hello, this is JYPE.

We would like to update you on legal actions being taken in response to the defamation, false rumors, and unauthorized posts about our artists that are being spread on social media and online communities.

We have been diligently gathering evidence against those who have posted and disseminated malicious content aimed at slandering and defaming our artists. We are currently working with specialized law firms to pursue all available legal actions.

The act of infringing upon the rights of our artists by posting and spreading malicious posts is a clear violation of the law. JYPE will take strong legal action without any leniency or agreement.

Additionally, the collection of malicious posts regarding our artists and subsequent legal actions are carried out on a regular basis. We kindly ask for continued interest and active reporting from fans. (fan@jype.com) …

Thank you.

Source:JYP ENTERTAINMENT

YG Entertainment – Launch of a ‘Fan Etiquette Campaign’

YG Entertainment, known for its roster including BIGBANG and BLACKPINK, has initiated a ‘Fan Etiquette Campaign’. The campaign not only addresses online defamation but also the invasion of artists’ privacy, making it clear that the agency will take a firm stance against actions that harm their artists.

Hello, this is YG ENTERTAINMENT.

We would first like to express our gratitude for the support and love fans have been showing toward our artists. 

We will be carrying out the [Fan Etiquette Campaign] to establish a healthy fan culture environment, so we ask for fans’ active participation. 

1. Please refrain from unauthorized visits to artists’ personal spaces (dorm, practice center, etc) and unofficial schedule sites. 

2. Leaking or being paid to trade artists’ personal information and unannounced schedule information is strictly against the law. When such information is found, please report it to us via the following email. (Report: withygfan@ygmail.net) 

3. Please refrain from acts of stalking such as obtaining contact details of the artist, the artist’s family, or friends, and constantly contacting them through calls and texts and physically following them.  

4. Chasing after moving vehicles carrying the artist, attempting to overly touch them, and blocking them from relocating to another place can lead to a serious safety accident. We ask fans to follow the instruction of staff on site and cooperate in order to prevent any accidents. 

5. Do not spread malicious rumors based on incorrect and groundless facts, and make malicious comments that include swear words and sexually disparaging remarks. YG Entertainment is constantly monitoring malicious posts and we are taking active legal actions against such posts.  

We will do our utmost to establish a healthy fan culture and protect our artists’ personalities, rights, and honor along with supporting them in every way so they can constantly seek growth as an artist. We ask for your active cooperation as part of these efforts.   

Thank you.

Source:YG ENTERTAINMENT Official HP

HYBE – Opening an In-house Clinic

HYBE, which represents global sensations BTS and NewJeans, announced the opening of an in-house clinic staffed with doctors and nurses available for their artists and trainees, as well as all company employees. This pioneering initiative in the Korean entertainment industry aims to provide comprehensive physical and mental health care, overseen by specialists in mental health.

In their press release, HYBE explained that the establishment of the clinic is part of their commitment to systematically manage the health of their leading K-POP members and artists, underpinning the sustainable growth of the industry.

The Role of Self-regulation Among Fans

The majority of artists targeted by such defamation are teenagers and young adults in their early twenties. ADOR, a label under the major Korean agency HYBE, has commented regarding the speculation and rumors surrounding its artists, emphasising the importance of respecting their period of significant learning and growth in both their careers and personal lives. However, the kind of defamation mentioned can inflict mental anguish on these growing artists and, in some cases, can even lead to tragic outcomes.

Preventing online defamation from occurring is challenging. Agencies often find themselves reacting rather than preventing, and once a post is made public, it’s almost impossible to completely eradicate it. In this context, what we see is the ‘overwriting of malice by goodwill’ by fans. For instance, fans using hashtags created for derogatory purposes to post numerous warm messages or flooding an artist’s social media comment section, which is filled with criticism, with words of support, show that there are many who actively protect the artists they love.

As the K-POP market continues to grow brilliantly, so does the number of haters. The search for solutions to these problems will undoubtedly continue.

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