The issue with some K-pop fans is……

Hello, my name is Sasha and I’m a fan of K-pop. It feels good to be able to hold up my hands and admit that. I’ll also happily admit to being a Shinhwa Changjo, A+, BBC, V.I.P and sometimes ELF. But what I will not admit to is showing hate or ill meaning towards my fellow fandoms, and fans from other countries. You see, no matter what fandom a K-pop fan belongs to or country they are from, many of us can happily say that we show love to our fellow K-pop lovers. Many but not all….

As someone who has been a fan of Korean pop music for quite a while I can honestly say that sometimes I wonder what goes on in the heads of fans. Often I find myself browsing new videos of groups on sites such as YouTube only to come across such negative and hateful remarks I have to turn away from my computer screen. But many of these remarks do not come from the people who just happen upon these videos. No, they come from the fans that make it their ‘mission’ to spread hateful messages across the Internet to other such fans.

One such message was posted on a music video of a popular Korean Boy Group which stated that all their fans ‘should drop dead and stop following such an ugly and useless band’. This message was posted by a fan of a label mate Girl Group. How did some of the Boy Group’s fans respond to this message? They decided to attack the other group’s fan sites to spread hateful messages about the group such as ‘plastic members who lacked talent’. But this is not a message of hate put across by just these two fandoms but many. It is not uncommon.

What is the need for such hate?

I have been witness, as have others, to other cases of hate amongst fans. When it was announced that MBC and KCC (Korean Cultural Centre) would be holding a cultural festival in London I, like everyone else was excited and anticipated purchasing a ticket. I waited impatiently for tickets to go on sale and wished my fellow K-pop fans online luck in gaining tickets and sure enough on the day I was able to (at a push) get myself some tickets. Having brought to many tickets also I decided to sell the ones I have spare (at the purchase price) to fans that had been unable to secure their own tickets.

A lovely person made a group that would allow people to trade, sell and purchase tickets and all seemed to be going well…..but it wasn’t. You see, less than an hour after the tickets had sold out certain ‘fans’ began to sell them on eBay. For double the price. But not just double, you see an hour after one ticket had been put up the bidding (because the person decided not to sell it at a simple price) had reached £96! For a ticket that had originally cost £12.

*A little tip: reselling tickets for profits is illegal. If you chose to resell a ticket please sell it for the purchased price.

It didn’t stop there. Online people were attempting to sell tickets for double and often triple the price they had paid for them, just to gain from a ticket they had not wanted to begin with.  Some even went as far as faking tickets in an attempt to con money out of unsuspecting fans that had simply wanted a chance to see their favourite performers. But it was not just the people who were selling on tickets for ridiculous prices at fault here. Some people turned to blaming fans from other countries for their lack of success in gaining a ticket. One went as far as to post on a K-pop fan group ‘bloody French and Chinese ruined my chances of seeing EXO’.

This was not the case however when it came to the CN Blue concert in September. I witnessed a fan selling her ticket to a young girl for £10 cheaper than the ticket price saying “I’m just happy it’s going to a fan”.  Yes some fans continued to act up while waiting for the doors to open and some even made me think about returning home but that one act of kindness made me think ‘maybe there is still hope for fans’.

With the London Big Bang concerts shortly around the corner I have had a few concerns which have only been defended by some of the prices I have send coming up online for tickets being resold (One standing ticket on EBay has been priced at £257 for general admission. These were originally £99). Yes, I do realise that this is not all down to fans alone. Some companies seem to have picked up on the high demand for tickets and bulk bought tickets in order to gain from sales to fans desperate to see them. But I have also noticed that the companies alone are not doing this. The ticket I mentioned above was advertised for sale on a kpop fan group on Facebook by a so called ‘massive V.I.P’.

Hate can be caused and showed in many ways by fans. Just the other day a picture was posted of one idol group member with a fellow singer topless whilst she was in pyjamas. Now I myself even had a reaction of ‘Wow are they dating?’ but that was where it ended. Other fans decided to go further. Both Twitter and Tumblr was full of threats towards the female singer if she didn’t stop seeing the male. Some even went as far to tweet towards the singer things such as ‘One can hire hit man on the internet to kill stupid c*** like you. Be careful. Be VERY careful!’. Words cannot describe the shock and horror I felt when I read that.

‘Fans’ like these are the reason I find it hard to keep my cool when discussing K-pop with people. You are the ‘fans’ that are causing companies to re-think holding events in certain countries. You are the reason that comments on some K-pop related videos are deactivated. You are the reason that actual fans are now beginning to turn away from something that they actually enjoy.

But actions such as these taken by fans are becoming a normal thing within the K-pop fandom. Instead of people being surprised by the way fans are acting, we now often sit and wait for something to go wrong. If an idol is announced to be coming to London, we wait to see what issue will arise for them at the airport due to fans. If they are announced to be playing here, we wait to see how many fans are going to complain about the price or location of the event.

So I offer my fellow fans some advice (and please understand this is not aimed at you all); stop and think about what you are doing. You are just making all K-pop fans seem bad to not only fellow fans, but also the companies, the artists and people that dislike the genre. Instead of all this hostility we should all band together as one! After all when it all comes down to it we are simply just one huge K-pop loving family. So show your fellow fandoms support, love and acceptance.

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Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.