K-Sélection

Reporter criticized for mentioning SHINee’s Jonghyun and BIGBANG as “unnecessary” in BTS article

On June 21, a New Yorker contributor published an article titled “How BTS became the most popular group in history”. As written in the title, it was meant to “dive deep” into the rich subculture of BTS and ARMYs (fandom).

Upon its release, the article written by E.Tami Kim received rave reviews from K-pop fans, editors, TV reporters, and other writers for its publication. “An in-depth and detailed analysis of BTS’s journey”.

However, the praise did not last long. Other K-pop fans, especially SHINee World (Shawol) and VIPs (BIGBANG fans), have expressed their frustration with the unnecessary mention of their favorite artists.

During the segment where the writer mentioned how BTS works with children’s and women’s organizations, E. Tammy Kim briefly mentioned SHINee’s Jonghyun and his radical decision, a sensitive topic for the Shawols.

“In 2017, the same year that K-pop singer SHINee’s Kim Jonghyun committed suicide, BTS launched a campaign with UNICEF to combat violence against children and adolescents.”

The Shawols indicated that Jonghyun’s death was unrelated.

“While Jonghyun has been using his platform to change Korean laws, draw attention to the Israeli occupation, and speak out against transgender discrimination, you are here to disrespect him for a few clicks.”

What disappointed fans the most was the way the writer seemed to sum up the singer’s life in one sentence, “discrediting him” because of the legacy he’s built.

Not only has he been in the music scene for years, but he was also one of the first artists to speak out against social injustice, mental health and LGBT+ rights.

The VIPs were also furious when the writer mentioned BIGBANG in the segment where she explained how ARMYs made a Chinese LGBT+ fan feel welcome in the fan base.

A military member named Wang in Chengdu, China, who is identified as gay, told me, but not publicly, ‘There is a big gay component to BTS. Fans are really welcome.’ (Compare that with K-pop group Big Bang, whose singers have been convicted of charges Sex trafficking, gambling, and drug crimes.”

The dignitaries pointed out that adding group status with Korean law is not necessary for the article. They defended the members because of the misleading description.

Fans also noted that the group’s “crimes” do not affect the VIP reception of LGBT+ fans. In fact, G-Dragon himself is well known for his support of the community, which even has tattoos dedicated to them.

In response to the hashtags, e-Tamie Kim just wrote:

“Mdr Kpop fans who start with their usual death threats”

What do you think?


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