Wrath of ‘Cancel Culture’ Diminishes for K-Pop Stars

Boy band Big Bang [YG ENTERTAINMENT]

Boy band Massive Bang [YG ENTERTAINMENT]

The Korean public has a popularity for holding celebrities to excessive ethical requirements. However latest releases within the Ok-pop scene might recommend that Korea’s “cancel tradition” is not as absolute as folks suppose it’s. Are Korean listeners studying to separate the artist from their content material?

In Korea, stars are anticipated to not solely entertain, but in addition set an instance for society. Those who deviate from such requirements usually fall into public disuse and are “canceled” in a single day. After a fall from grace, absolutely regaining reputation or returning to the leisure business could be extraordinarily tough. That is particularly the case for Ok-pop singers, who depend on a extra relatable picture than actors.

On April 5, Big Bang released their digital single “Still Life” after a four-year hiatus. [YG ENTERTAINMENT]

On April 5, Massive Bang launched their digital single “Nonetheless Life” after a four-year hiatus. [YG ENTERTAINMENT]

On April 5, Massive Bang launched their digital single “Nonetheless Life” after a four-year hiatus. The lengthy hole was partly attributable to the boy band members’ necessary army service, however one other huge purpose was that Massive Bang’s popularity was severely broken after years of assorted authorized troubles.

G-Dragon and TOP have been concerned in a authorized drama for utilizing marijuana, with the latter receiving a 10-month suspended jail sentence for repeated use.

Daesung was accused of knowingly permitting a prostitution service to function in a constructing he owned. Though the costs have been dropped for lack of proof, the cost that he tacitly permitted of the service nonetheless follows him.

The largest blow to Massive Bang’s popularity was former member Seungri’s involvement within the 2019 Burning Solar scandal. The notorious intercourse crimes, prostitution, medicine and police safety scandal prompted Seungri to go away the band. He’s at present in jail serving an 18-month sentence.

The Korean public expressed anger over Massive Bang’s intensive file with the legislation and the notion that the members escaped correct punishment. Many expressed disdain when Massive Bang’s comeback was introduced final month, saying they’d refuse to stream the band’s tune or music video.

However boycott calls turned out to not be a significant concern. “Nonetheless Life” instantly reached primary on the Korean music charts, in addition to the iTunes music charts in 33 areas.

Hyunjin from boy band Stray Kids [JYP ENTERTAINMENT]

Hyunjin from boy band Stray Children [JYP ENTERTAINMENT]

Boy band Stray Children is one other instance of Ok-pop stars seemingly unaffected by an ethics scandal. Early final 12 months, when your entire Korean leisure business was rocked by a sequence of allegations of faculty bullying, Stray Children member Hyunjin was embroiled in accusations by former schoolmates. Hyunjin admitted to verbal abuse, promptly issued an apology, and stopped his actions. When he returned 4 months later, he confronted criticism that his suspension was too temporary.

Nonetheless, Stray Children and Hyunjin’s profession afterward went from energy to energy. The band’s subsequent album that summer season recorded their highest CD gross sales at the moment, which was damaged once more by “Oddinary” in March.

“Oddinary” additionally made Stray Children the third Ok-pop act to prime the Billboard 200 album chart, following BTS and SuperM. Hyunjin continues to be a preferred member and a key a part of the band’s vocals and dancing.

Stray Kids boy band [JYP ENTERTAINMENT]

Stray Children boy band [JYP ENTERTAINMENT]

Does this imply that the Korean public not cares about ethical errors? A lot of the aforementioned scandals, comparable to marijuana use or college bullying, can be thought of insignificant to non-Koreans. Specialists say there are a selection of background elements to think about.

“Koreans nonetheless are inclined to demand exemplary moral habits from celebrities and take unethical conduct very significantly,” stated Lee Gyu-tag, professor of pop music and media research at George Mason College Korea and creator of “The Ok-pop Age”. 2016). “We will see a number of bands having industrial success even after a drug scandal or bullying. However we most likely will not see them in issues, like advertisements, that demand favorable opinions from most people.”

Lee added that whereas most people would possibly look down on an artist after an ethical scandal, they don’t seem to be fairly as excessive on the subject of ‘canceling’ them out fully – however a lot is dependent upon the star’s response to the backlash.

“I might say the largest issue that made Hyunjin and Stray Children’ fast restoration doable was the truth that he ‘lay down on the ground’ as we are saying in Korean,” Lee stated. “He assumed a really submissive perspective. As an alternative of denying or joking with the viewers, Hyunjin instantly apologized. He was nonetheless criticized for some time, however this was seen as the correct perspective to be spared from being fully averted, so long as it isn’t a critical crime. Massive Bang’s show of remorse wasn’t as evident, however Seungri left and the band took a really lengthy hiatus regardless of being a giant identify in Ok-pop. Koreans could be strict, however they don’t seem to be ruthless.”

Soojin, former member of girl group (G)I-DLE [ILGAN SPORTS]

Soojin, former member of lady group (G)I-DLE [ILGAN SPORTS]

This may occasionally clarify why the result was so completely different for different stars who all however misplaced their careers because of bullying scandals.

Lady group (G)I-DLE’s Soojin has denied the allegations of bullying, regardless of allegations from a number of former schoolmates. She ended up leaving the group and misplaced her contract along with her company. Lady group April’s Naeun, who has been accused of bullying her former groupmate Lee Hyun-joo, has additionally denied the allegations however has been pulled from all advertisements and TV sequence.

Popular culture critic Jeong Deok-hyun additionally attributes these combined outcomes to various fandoms. As fandoms have diversified, so have their expectations of morality. Expectations may also differ inside a fandom because it consists of an increasing number of followers from completely different cultural backgrounds.

“Nowadays, the success of Ok-pop singers is dependent upon the help of the fandoms relatively than the approval of most people,” stated Jeong. “What most people thinks issues rather a lot lower than earlier than. There are nonetheless followers who flip their backs if a star violates their ethical requirements. Besides, the fandom is so various that a big a part of the followers – for instance, non-Korean followers who are inclined to care much less about ethical scandals – stay unconcerned and proceed to be supportive.”

Up to now, Ok-pop singers largely had home followers and relied totally on mainstream media like tv to advertise themselves. Historically, Korean tv channels take public sentiment into consideration and indefinitely ban celebrities who’ve been concerned in ethical scandals or authorized troubles, making them unable to achieve the general public as earlier than. Early examples of Ok-pop stars ‘cancelled’ within the late 2000s, comparable to MC the MAX’s Isu, who employed an underage prostitute, and MC Mong, who averted necessary army service, noticed their careers disintegrate.

Right this moment, Ok-pop artists have developed varied strategies to speak with followers the world over, by way of social media and self-produced YouTube reveals, with out relying an excessive amount of on mainstream media. Whereas controversial Ok-pop stars may not be welcome in advertisements or TV reveals, it is not a vital blow to their careers.

Naeun from girl group April [ILGAN SPORTS]

Naeun from lady group April [ILGAN SPORTS]

Jeong emphasised that continued industrial success doesn’t essentially imply that most people has moved on from previous errors. Certainly, many lament the Massive Bang’s profitable return, claiming it sends the message that morals not matter. Hyunjin’s identify is commonly repeated in articles about college bullying, and stigma nonetheless follows him within the eyes of non-fans. It is simply that normal public opinion is much less of a precedence in at this time’s fandom-fueled Ok-pop scene.

One case that’s at present attracting curiosity as to how this can play out is the upcoming debut of lady group Le Sserafim. Even earlier than debuting, member Kim Ga-ram confronted a number of accusations of bullying. Pictures of her posing with sexually express scribbles and lewd hand gestures in highschool have been revealed, immediately turning public expectation into criticism. Because the bullying allegations stay unconfirmed, the controversy surrounding her is usually over the graphic images, which aren’t unethical in themselves, however detract from the morally appropriate picture she is predicted to have.

Kim Gar-ram of girl group Le Sserafim [SOURCE MUSIC]

Kim Gar-ram of lady group Le Sserafim [SOURCE MUSIC]

Critics recommend that Koreans nonetheless demand that stars keep a strict ethical customary, however his company’s determination to maintain Kim within the group and proceed with the debut reveals that public sentiment has much less of an affect than earlier than. Le Sserafim and Kim are receiving enthusiastic help from non-Korean followers, who contemplate the scandal insignificant.

“In comparison with the previous, it is arduous to say for certain what habits will result in cancellation and what will not,” stated Jeong. “Some say these controversial stars should not be coming again and that ethical expectations should not get any looser. However we can not demand that others keep away from sure artists. It’s as much as every listener to determine what’s ‘very immoral’ of their eyes, or whether or not they need to count on morality from artists”.

BY HALEY YANG [yang.hyunjoo@joongang.co.kr]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.