- BTS’ record label Big Hit Entertainment said no member of the K-pop boy band will enlist in the South Korean military this year.
- Enlisting by the age of 28 is a mandatory requirement for South Korean men. The band’s oldest member, Jin, will near that requirement when he turns 27 in December.
- South Korea’s Minister of Government Policy Coordination has urged the government to reconsider issuing BTS members special exemptions, a move which it previously said it would not do.
- The idea of issuing special exemptions for K-pop boy bands has resulted in a larger debate over whether stars can use their fame to get out of military service.
Will BTS Serve in the Military?
BTS’ record label clarified that no member of the K-pop boy band will serve in the South Korean army this year, despite a previous statement from a government official who said one member would serve.
In 1957, South Korea enacted a mandatory service requirement for men between the ages of 18 and 28. By law, men must serve in the military for 21 months. If they don’t complete that service, they could face a number of repercussions, including being barred from international travel.
The band’s oldest member, Jin, will turn 27 in December, which means he’s currently running out of time to enlist. The other members of the band will also need to serve in the next few years to satisfy the requirement.
For their part, the members of BTS have said they’ll serve when the time comes to do so.
“As a Korean, it’s natural, and someday, when duty calls, we’ll be ready to respond and do our best,” Jin told CBS Sunday Morning in April.
BTS has been at the forefront of the new debate over whether the South Korean government should extend special exemptions to boy bands and whether fame can be enough to get a person out of military service.
Currently, athletes can be exempted if they’ve won a medal in the Olympics or the Asian Games and musicians can earn exemption if they’ve won awards in classical or traditional music. Actors, however, rarely see exemptions. The few that are granted are typically because of health or money-related issues. In the last ten years, South Korea has only granted 220 such exemptions.
South Korea Denies BTS Exemption
In September, the Korean Ministry of National Defense said such an exemption for BTS was not possible.
“The Ministry of Defense is currently debating with related authorities on improving the current alternate service [program] in place of conscription,” ministry officials said, “but nothing has been decided as to when a change may take effect.”
However, on Oct. 18, South Korea’s Minister of Government Policy Coordination Noh Hyeong-ouk said a “comprehensive review” is needed to determine if boy bands like BTS can be exempted, adding that the military system should reflect the current times.
“We need to review the need for an open-door policy regarding special exceptions from military service in the K-pop industry, in order to provide motives for Korea’s expansion as a cultural content powerhouse,” Noh said.
That back and forth happened again when Ahn Min Seok—South Korea’s chairman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism—said he thought one of the members of BTS would be enlisting by the end of the year.
“It seems like it has been decided that they will not get any special treatment relating to military service for pop culture artists,” he said.
Big Hit Entertainment then denied the claim, with officials for the record label saying they didn’t know why such a story was reported.
This situation has generated a mixed reaction online.
While many BTS fans have argued that BTS’ impact outweighs military service, some are mad this discussion is taking place and said they feel like the band is being exploited.
“Its crazy cause bts have yet to say anything about wanting military exemption yet they’re the face of it for kpop idols im so tired,” one user wrote.
Other fans said they believe BTS should serve but all at the same time. That way, the band could simply go on a two-year hiatus instead of potentially rotating out members over the next decade.
Other people, however, are not at all pleased with the idea that BTS might be exempt from serving.
“To say that BTS deserve military exemption because they simply ‘paved the way’ sounds very disrespectful to Koreans,” one person tweeted. “I personally think the military would be good for the kpop idols.”
To say that BTS deserve military exemption because they simply ‘paved the way’ sounds very disrespectful to Koreans. It will only make everyone suddenly wanting to be a korean idol if they want to skip military. I personally think the military would be good for the kpop idols— Joanne | 🌱 (@jojotcl) October 22, 2019
See what others are saying: (Showbiz Cheatsheet) (Korea Herald) (Paper)
Upcoming “Karen” Movie Slammed as Rip-Off of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”
The horror film follows a Black couple that moves into a house next door to a white woman named Karen.
“Karen” Trailer Goes Viral
The viral “Karen” trope is getting the Hollywood treatment, and people on Twitter would like a word with the film industry’s manager.
“Karen” has become a term used to describe entitled, and often racist, white women who are quick to call the cops or complain about customer service when things don’t go exactly their way. The upcoming movie, called “Karen,” is a horror picture that follows a Black couple that moves into a new house next door to a pearl necklace-wearing and Pinot Grigio-drinking white woman. Any guesses on what her name is?
The film, a BET Original, was written and directed by Coke Daniels and stars Taryn Manning as the titular “Karen.” Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke play the couple that’s new in town. The trailer was released on Thursday but started gaining traction online this week.
Throughout the trailer, Manning’s character is seen threatening to call the manager at a restaurant, setting up security cameras that look at her new neighbors’ house, and calling the cops on a group of teenagers while they record her in that now-familiar viral format.
She also says that Burke’s character is “slaving away in the kitchen” upon entering her home and tells a group of Black people, “you people are very angry.” It also appears that she owns a soap dispenser with the Confederate flag on it.
In case people watching were unable to put the glaringly obvious puzzle pieces together, a small child eventually says, “She doesn’t like Black people,” in the trailer.
Because the hammer is perhaps hitting the nail a little too harshly on the head, many wondered if it was even a real movie or some kind of “Saturday Night Live” parody.
Twitter Compares Film to “Get Out”
Others thought it looked like the film was ripping off Jordan Peele’s hit horror movie “Get Out,” which is about a Black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family.
“Get Out” was praised for using the horror genre to provide nuanced commentary and observations on racism in America. Peele won an Academy Award for the film’s original screenplay, and it was also nominated for Best Picture. “Karen,” on the other hand, is not likely to wind up part of the awards conversation come 2021.
Daniels ended up sharing an article comparing his upcoming project to “Get Out” on his Instagram story, also apologizing for bringing Peele into the online discourse.
Daniels previously told Deadline that he wrote this film in 2020 as discussions about race relations in the United States were reaching a boiling point.
“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair and hopelessness,” he said. “The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration.”
“Karen” does not yet have a release date.
See what others are saying: (Esquire) (CNN) (Independent)
Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay
While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.
Nassib Comes Out
Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.
“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”
He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.
Praise From Sports Community
Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”
Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.
“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”
See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)
Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip
Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.
Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur
Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media.
The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.
“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”
Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term
The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time.
“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner.
“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”
“Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.
The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.
Read her full apology below.