ARMY Is Not Happy About a Recent Xenophobic Article About BTS
When it comes to how BTS is represented in the media the group faces an uphill battle. While no one can know as much about BTS as the members themselves or their fans, ARMY often finds themselves disappointed at how BTS is represented in the media. As BTS begins their Grammy campaign, a recent article by The Hollywood Reporter angered a lot of BTS fans for the way the reporter depicted the group and K-pop.
The reporter for the article did not know much about BTS before the interview
When it comes to BTS, what fans know about the group often clashes with what the media reports. The group first debuted in 2013 and has countless albums, movies, TV shows, and VLIVE livestreams. Because fans know the group so well, it can be disheartening when reporters do not thoroughly research the amount of content available.
“Forty-eight hours earlier, I’m on an Asiana Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Seoul, the only 47-year-old man on the plane with a pile of BTS books on his lap,” the article reads.
The reporter continues, “I’d seen them on Saturday Night Live last April (along with 4 million other viewers) and sampled their music videos on YouTube (where they have 22.2 million subscribers) — I admit to being a little fuzzy on some of the finer points of BTS history, like where they came from, why they are so appealing to so many millions…”
In the article, the reporter admits they do not know much about BTS or understand why the group is so popular. The reporter also comments that as a 47-year-old man, it is odd he has so many BTS books. This seems like a subtle remark that all of BTS’s fans are teenage girls. The comment also starkly contrasts with what actor Randall Park said about BTS’s diverse fan base.
The article used xenophobic language
Outside of South Korea, BTS often faces xenophobia. When the group started out, it was more difficult for them to receive radio play despite the demand for it. They were recently segregated into the Best K-pop category at the 2019 MTV VMAs even though their achievements warranted nominations in the major categories.
When describing BTS’s accomplishments, the article reads, “BTS is the first group since The Beatles — to whom they also are compared for the hysterical fan mania they generate — to score three No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart in less than a year, a feat that’s all the more astounding considering their songs are mostly in Korean.”
The way the article is phrased is an assumption that is unfortunately commonly made about BTS. The fact the group is Korean is treated like a handicap, and the media often seems marveled at BTS’s success. To them, the group achieved everything despite being Korean, not because they are Korean.
To make matters worse, the article in The Hollywood Reporter made several references to BTS’s English-speaking skills.
“For now, though, BTS is content to just keep doing what the group has been doing. They have no delusions about TV or movie careers — at least not ones that require them to speak English,” reads the article.
Whenever possible, the reporter mentioned which members used a translator for the interview or when the reporter needed to use an online translator while in South Korea. By doing so, the article makes the assumption English should be used everywhere instead of having to learn Korean.
“The restaurant is called Dotgogi, which means either Sesame Meat or Aged Pork, depending on which online translator I consult,” they write.
ARMY felt the reporter misconstrued the BTS members and K-pop
Fans know that even though the members of BTS are wealthy, they will fight each other for a coupon on Run BTS! However, the article depicts BTS as ungrateful.
“At Dotgogi, I clumsily attempt to break the ice by gifting the band members with seven small pins I bought at LAX — a Hollywood sign, a Beverly Hills sign and some other souvenirs. The boys seem to appreciate the gesture, or at least are good at faking it,” reads the article.
The article used the suicide of SHINee’s member, Jonghyun, to make assumptions about the K-pop industry. However, the reporter did not even mention Jonghyun by name. The reporter also commented about Bang Si-Hyuk’s weight and that he keeps BTS on a “longer leash than most K-pop managers.”
Big Hit Entertainment does not have a dating ban, but the reporter assumed that Big Hit Entertainment shutting down the recent dating rumors about BTS’s Jungkook was part of a no-dating rule. In reality, a majority of BTS fans were upset at Jungkook’s privacy being invaded, not the idea of him having a girlfriend.
“Big Hit threatened legal action against any news outlet that suggested they were romantically linked. Girlfriends, apparently, aren’t supposed to be part of the synth-pop-star fantasy,” says the reporter.