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:
- Unfollowing allkpop on twitter, Facebook, tumblr and any other social networking profiles
- 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)
- 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.