BH Discuss: Ailee, our allkpop boycott and responsible blogging

Yesterday, allkpop posted an article online which featured several nude photos of popular K-pop singer Ailee. The article claimed the photos were originally leaked by an anonymous website but as it linked to no sources and after several revelations were made, it appeared to us, at that time, that the website itself was the originating source of the photos.

These revelations include news, released by Ailee’s agency YMC Entertainment, that her ex-boyfriend apparently works for allkpop as well as a release by Korean celebrity news media Dispatch of a phone transcript which reveals that they had been offered the photos and had turned them down. Regarding the boyfriend issue, allkpop has now strongly denied that Daniel Lee (the ex-boyfriend in question) was involved in the leaking of these photographs.

If you aren’t fully aware of the situation Asian Junkie has a good summary of it so far (if you can get on the website, looks like it’s a good traffic day over there!).

After a discussion between my co-founder Sasha and myself we decided, as a website, to boycott allkpop completely from now on with support from the rest of our team. Originally we were just going to silently protest by not linking to them in the future but after more and more news came out we decided to make our campaign public by posting this on tumblr:

Beyond Hallyu will no longer be linking to articles from allkpop either on our website or on our social networking profiles.

As it now appears that allkpop themselves were the originating source for the photos of Ailee they are circulating we cannot condone this behaviour. Even Korean media outlet, Dispatch which is hardly known for its ethical practices has released a transcript showing them turning the photos down.

In Korea the release of these kinds of photos is illegal and it is also highly immoral.

We cannot stand by and watch this website attempt to destroy this young woman’s career simply for pageviews. We will not stand by and watch her bodily autonomy and personal privacy be infringed on for the sake of advertising revenue.

For these reasons you will not see links to allkpop on Beyond Hallyu again.

We hope you understand. If you agree, we hope you also boycott this website. There are plenty of other K-pop news outlets out there, we don’t need to accept this.

Looking at the sheer number of notes, retweets and likes it is clear that we were not alone in our opinions.

Since then, allkpop has released a statement disputing the claim made by YMC Entertainment that they are the original source of the photographs. The website claims they initially refused to use the photos until they were posted on an anonymous photoboard (a post which does exist but which we will not link to as to protect Ailee’s privacy and because the site in question, anonib, will probably give your computer a virus).

However there are various inconsistencies between the YMC, Dispatch and 6Theory media accounts of the situation. Allkpop has done many morally questionable things in the past and even in their own statement their words imply that they had no moral objections with sharing these photos with the world as long as they already existed somewhere on the internet:

“For Ailee’s sake, we stated to YMC that we would not write anything about this unless the photos were to end up being posted on the internet. We very clearly stated that if the photos were to show up online we would have to write the story as that is our job and duty as a news site.”

Because of this, while we won’t say that allkpop were the ones who leaked the photos, we still see this as a blatant attempt to damage and potentially ruin a young and talented performer’s career simply for the traffic it creates which is completely unacceptable. Usually we like to stay fairly impartial and balanced on matters of K-pop but in this case we refuse.

Some may say that allkpop is just reporting the latest K-pop news as they are supposed to but we fail to see how publicising private and sensitive photos of an individual constitutes anything newsworthy. Even if allkpop felt compelled to run the story, the manner in which they ran it (in a post containing every photo, all branded with their watermarks right across them) was exploitative and distasteful.

And so as a result we have decided to take action using the only viable method: hitting them in their wallets.

If you agree with us you can also join us in the boycott by:

  1. Unfollowing allkpop on twitter, Facebook, tumblr and any other social networking profiles
  2.  Not visiting allkpop.com and not commenting, liking or sharing anything related to their articles (even if they are not posted by the website themselves)
  3. Sharing this boycott with your friends and encourage them to take part

As well as this, we have been made aware of a campaign to trend the hashtag #unfollowAKP (details below).

Other people are also choosing to support Ailee by watching her official YouTube videos, buying her songs and we believe some are trying to trend #WeSupportAilee on twitter.

We are not trying to force any of our readers to share our beliefs, we are simply standing up for our beliefs in the best way we know how. If you disagree with us, we know there are no hard facts as of yet and so we respect your opinion and feel free to tell us your reasoning.

We also think this is a great opportunity to discuss what responsible K-pop blogging and reporting looks like and it would be great to hear your opinions on this.

Where is the line when it comes to public and private life? How much responsibility do readers have to hold the websites they visit to account? Which websites do the best jobs of reporting K-pop news responsibly and how can they improve?

If you are boycotting, why not help your follow boycotters out by listing some of your favourite Korean entertainment news sources in the comments.

 

Let us know what you think and whether you plan to join the boycott in the comments.

  • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

    Their “job and duty” as a news site is to disrespect the privacy of a human being and post things that violate her rights? This is the excuse vultures use to justify their “journalism”. “We must reveal the truth”. Not every truth. Just the ones that sell.

    It’s also a truth we go to the toilet every few hours. Would they like to bring a crew down and film it? No? But it’s the truth! If they’re not interested in me taking a shower, they can’t use that reason to justify anything, not that this can be justified under any reason.

    Disgusting opportunists, vile harpies, the lot of them. Freedom of speech should not be placed above the basic rights of people who have done nothing wrong. I think this world is a bit too liberal and two-faced with what it considers ok doing and revealing. Stalking and sexual harassment is bad, but naked idol pictures are “news”. Child molestation is bad, but toddler pageants are “entertainment”.

    Let’s stop coating this crap with a pink sugary glaze and trying to pass it off as cake.

    • mimo

      One of the best comments I’ve read on this situation. I’d upvote 100 times and I rarely upvote comments.

    • Lizzie

      Please never leave us, Orion.

      • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

        Awww. I’m not planning to. 😉

    • http://athlieskores.blogspot.gr/ Erisa Desu

      Γειά σου πόρνη γκέμπα σωτήρα της kpop και της ηθικής των tabloid

  • Shai_love

    I join you in this boycott. What they did was unacceptable and I believe it was done to ruin her image and career. I always use Soompi, they only post news from legitimate sources. As someone who is close with the writers from there, I am happy they have only posted about YMC’s statement and have not linked or shown the photos.

  • sam

    I agree! Ailee’s “I will show you” is so relevant lol damn you allkpop/danny whoever the hell u are u scumbag

  • k.ftw

    BH could you please make a post about celebrities reactions until now on? Please^^

  • Aria Haneul

    I’m disgusted by this whole situation. I hate that we live in a world where women are shamed for things like this, and men are given fist bumps and called studs.
    Those photos should have been private…but sadly this isn’t the world we live in. Instead of telling men not to do these things, we teach girls “don’t do this, don’t do that”.

    Beyond Hallyu, thank you, for taking a stand on this matter.
    The way AKP has handled this is shameful. And the most upsetting part for me is that this site caters to young girls and women who love Korean entertainment and culture. Is this the brand 6Theory is building? Idol-shaming? Naked photos? Aiding and abetting petty actions and criminal acts?
    Their tweets after were like gloating…so disgusting.
    Then…her management company with that sorry ass excuse…that upset me even more.

    This story with her alleged ex, shopping around these photos to AKP and Dispatch, something is missing from this story, and I’m sure there’s more to it…but I sincerely hope someone is punished.
    I hope Ailee doesn’t go down as a victim, and she fights this. She is talented and shouldn’t suffer because of this.

    I’m joining you in this boycott, I’ve removed them from my Twitter list for Korean entertainment articles – I’d love if someone could recommend other sites for me to visit for Korean entertainment news in English.

    • Shai_love

      Try Soompi, they are credible and far more respectable than akp. I use this site more than others including their forums. You will see that they didn’t post or link the photos at all in the article about this. They waited for YMC to give an official statement.

      • Aria Haneul

        Thank you, I’m pretty new to reading about Korean entertainment, but when you Google kpop and other variables you get lots of fan fiction and sites hating on certain artistes or companies. I’ll check Soompi out :)

        • Shai_love

          When I first got into kpop, akp was the first site I ran into. I learned quickly how they operate. I’m glad I discovered other sites like Soompi and Mwave.

  • Blue

    If you are boycotting, why not help your follow boycotters out by listing some of your favourite Korean entertainment news sources in the comments.

    My personal top 3:
    https://twitter.com/OfficialMwave
    https://twitter.com/netizenbuzz
    https://twitter.com/soompi

    Others:
    https://twitter.com/omonatheydidnt

    OfficialMwave in particular has been my go-to ever since allkpop revamped their site earlier this year. If anyone else has other recommendations, please do share.

  • Kanonno

    Ailee doesn’t deserve any of this shit.

  • Theresa

    It’s great that you are now boycotting AKP! I agree that the only way to hurt them is to boycott. I only hope that this incident won’t fade from the minds of K-pop fans who might later go back to the site.

    BTW, I don’t know if anyone has read the comments on netizenbuzz’s articles, but for the most part, K-netizens put the blame on the ex-boyfriend. There were a few saying that Ailee was stupid for taking the nudes in the first place, but there were a lot less than what I initially expected. It also turns out the the ex-boyfriend tried to sell the photos to Dispatch http://netizenbuzz.blogspot.ie/2013/11/dispatch-releases-transcription-of.html

    I also was delighted to learn that Jay Park, Amber and G.Na unfollowed AKP on twitter. It’s great that they’re supporting their friend.

    • Kanonno

      GD, Kevin from UKiss,Min and I heard Siwon have unfollowed as well.

      • Theresa

        I was told GD unfollowed a long time ago

  • kpopalypse

    “Do Not Visit Site For 72 Hours”? I applaud the sentiment but try 72 months at least if you want to really have an impact. 72 years is another good option.

    I’ve had my own personal semi-boycott of Allkpop going ever since they changed their website format. I won’t link articles from there except as a last resort, I’ll look for them everywhere else first (and since they’re mostly just a translating service for Korean media, they’re usually easy to find somewhere else), I’ve stopped using their forums, I don’t follow them on any SNS and I don’t click the site unless something like this happens and I’m kinda forced to read it for pseudo-journalistic reasons. So I’d say “I’d join you in this boycott” but in a way I feel like you’re the one joining me.

    Either way, fuck ’em, I already knew they were dirtbags so I’m glad other people are realising it.

  • Alexus Alinda Tillman Carthan

    IT’S CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CONSIDERING SHE WAS 15 AT THE TIME!!! Somebody should report!!!! ALLKPOP IS BASED IN AMERICA!!!! THEY COULD BE SUED FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!!!! THE CEO CAN BE ARRESTED FOR ALLOWING IT TO BE POSTED!!!

    • Victoria Nguyen

      Actually… that’s incorrect. The photo was taken in 2009 – Ailee was 20; therefore, it’s not child pornography, so no… they can’t be sued or arrested under this consensus; however, legal action could still be taken account for in different matters.

  • Paige Kosa

    I’ve really have a thing against Allkpop for a long time, so I will get behind this whole heartily. I can’t believe that they would try to talk their way out of this, but I guess I shouldn’t be.

    I actually have a story to share about Allkpop. I write for a website that centers around Asian media in general. I won’t link to the site, because I don’t want you to think that I’m writing this to get attention. Anyway, on our site, we allow users to watch videos, read articles, and interact with other members. There weren’t a lot of rules, because people generally behaved.

    That first started to change when new accounts spammed our articles with pornographic comments. They spread demeaning pictures of women around the site, and the harassed our users. But it doesn’t stop there! They began replacing the videos on our site with videos of porn, strippers, the same video about ordering pizza in Japan, and people tweerking. When we would replace the video to what it was supposed to be, it quickly would go back to some other video. In the past, we allowed our users to change the videos because sometimes a video will sometimes be deleted, or something like that. But these users took advantage of that. We put a ban in place that we still enforce, which many of our responsible users are upset about.

    Amazingly enough, it gets worse. Along with the spamming, harassment, and changing of the videos, they also changed lyrics so that they were now poorly written smut (by poorly written, I mean it was degrading to women and disgusting), and changing album covers to pictures of a woman’s breasts. Our homepage was literally filled with that same photo, because we link videos there. After placing numerous new rules regarding content, and banning more users than I can count, everything finally started to settle down.

    How does this link back to Allkpop? Well, one of our mods found a photo that had been anonymously posted onto a photo site telling us that we had “five days to fall to Allkpop”. That site literally tried to destroy our site, and short of hacking it, they just about did.

    So when I heard that that sleezy site was in trouble, I almost felt happy. I do feel for Ailee, and I genuinely hope that her career will continue, but I am so glad that Allkpop will be getting backlash for this. It’s about time that we ended their biased, racists, and troublesome site.

    • kpopwillneverstop

      Grrr….know that you said that you weren’t going to post your website, I kinda wanna know what it is now, so I can post it to other kpop websites and show the mindless allkpoop supporting drones that their “precious” site is something not even Gollum wants.

  • dustdevilliz

    “We also think this is a great opportunity to discuss what responsible K-pop blogging and reporting looks like and it would be great to hear your opinions on this.”

    This is an interesting question, and I’d argue that this whole situation illustrates how different online media outlets present themselves and what happens when they try to shift into a different niche. (I’m going to focus here on the international K-pop sources.)

    To me, “blogging” is about commentary from a pretty specific, identified voice. If I click on asianjunkie or antikpopfangirl, that I’m going to get expletive-laden (sometimes filthy) snark. If I click on seoulbeats or beyondhallyu, I’m going to get intelligent (sometimes pretentious) analysis. If I click on someone’s youtube reaction video or follow them on tumblr, I know that I’m going to get silliness and gushing. I also know that these are mostly labors of love or second gigs for these folks. I also expect that these are mostly labors of love, that site advertising is probably paying for hosting (and minimal writing time if they are lucky), and that the people writing them aren’t beholden to K-pop labels

    With the bigger “news” sites that are businesses (like Soompi, Mwave and AKP, and drama for-profit sites like Viki and DF) I expect that there will be a lot of regurgitated press releases, a “neutral” tone, lots of advertising and more original interviews/content about k-pop stars I also expect that they will behave professionally, and that they sometimes may be less “honest” because they are building and maintaining relationships with the Korean entertainment companies.

    I think AKP wants to keep acting like snarky, independent bloggers while getting the income stream of the media company side. When asianjunkie posts close-ups Hyuna’s (alleged) nipslip, or one of the writers on Seoulbeats calls Taeyang out for cultural appropriate, I might not completely agree, but I know that they aren’t doing it for big financial gain. AKP could go the business route, and just respond with pure legalize and pr BS (which has been 70% of what they’ve said.) There’s a long tradition of how big media deals with these situations where people challenge your reporting. But there’s the 30% of a-hole trash talk from AKP, like the line in their response about “how stupid could you be to think it’s a lingerie company”, all of the CEO’s tweets, and the other guy on twitter saying “oh, Ailee’s career is probably over”, that is just gross. And since part of their business model is being close with Korean entertainment companies, I think that this could hurt the business side of things for them. They could go to being more of a niche gossipy, snarky site, but I think they’d have to lose a lot of staff. They’re also based in the US, so it seems like they’d run out of sources and dirt on American-born stars pretty quickly.

    • dustdevilliz

      Also, if AKP wants to argue: “we would have to write the story as that is our job and duty as a news site,” then it was also their “job and duty” to disclose in the initial story that one of their publishers had a personal connection to the person in the story.

  • mikedo2007

    Allkpop had some nasty past after somebody from NB showed me this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/57458840@N06/sets/72157625668825500/

    Turns out AKP ain’t angelic like everybody thought.

    • Lizzie

      Yeah, we knew about this before. One of the many reasons it didn’t take much for us to make the decision to boycott.

  • BishieAddict

    I just found this blog after discussing this on a different one. I unfollowed akp and followed you guys. I feel so bad for Ailee

  • http://sami00.deviantart.com Kate

    People, unlike allkpop on Facebook too, they have over 2mln ‘like’ clicks there! On Twitter they lost over 9,000 followers within last 24h!

  • Karen Mc Bride

    When allkpop released the article, as a women I refused to read it. The link headline was enough for me to know it was smut journalism and an attempt to not only exploit Ailee but also women in general. Within 24 hrs I had already unfollowed them everywhere and won’t ever return.