- 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)
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan Over Stock It Allegedly Owes Her
The social media star says she was promised stock in FaZe Clan as part of a previous settlement but has yet to receive her shares.
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan
Social media influencer Alissa Marie Violet Butler, known online as Alissa Violet, is suing digital entertainment and esports collective FaZe Clan over stock she is allegedly owed.
According to a Monday report from The Washington Post, Butler’s case stems from a previous lawsuit that involved both her and FaZe Clan. The report says that in 2018, Butler transferred her shares in a media company she co-founded called Clout Gang to a different company called Hubrick Limited as part of an agreement with FaZe Clan. At the time, Hubrick and FaZe Clan were partnering to develop both businesses.
Per The Post, several other FaZe Clan members were part of a similar exchange where they transferred their FaZe Clan shares for Hubrick shares as well. The partnership between the two companies crumbled, however, leading to a legal frenzy. Butler, FaZe Clan, Clout Gang, and more ended up accusing Hubrick of fraud in a lawsuit. Hubrick tossed the allegation right back at them in a countersuit.
To resolve the matters, The Post says Butler and FaZe Clan “entered into an oral agreement to settle the lawsuits with Hubrick,” which involved Butler giving up her Hubrick stock and dropping her claims against the company. In return, she would then receive FaZe Clan common stock.
Butler says that despite holding up her end of the bargain, she has still not received stock in FaZe Clan.
Responses to Lawsuit
Butler has over 10 million followers on Instagram and another 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube. She has had a career in modeling and picked up a handful of acting credits in television shows and music videos. She previously dated the co-owner of FaZe Clan, FaZe Banks.
According to The Post, FaZe Clan is valued at around $300 million.
“If Faze Clan simply abided by its promise to compensate her, Alissa would not have had to sue Faze Clan,” Butler’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said to The Post.
FaZe Clan defended itself in a statement to the outlet, saying it “denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in the Complaint.”
FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink also sent an email to The Post claiming that the matter will likely be resolved.
“Stories get created out of any disagreement or dispute, big or small,” he wrote. “On this particular matter we’re in close communication and confident it’ll be resolved amicably.”
It is unclear how much Butler is seeking in her suit.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post )(Dexerto) (Esports.com)
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Says “The Activist” Reality Series “Got It Wrong”
The controversial series is now being reworked into a documentary, which Chopra Jonas hopes will better “highlight the actions and impact” of global activists.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Apologizes For “The Activist”
Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas responded to controversies surrounding “The Activist,” a CBS reality competition series she was slated to co-host that is now being reworked following widespread backlash.
“The Activist” was going to show real activists competing against one another in various challenges in an effort to promote their philanthropic causes. After many expressed disgust at the premise, CBS said it would scrap the footage already shot and turn the idea into a one-time documentary special highlighting the work and impacts of different activists.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you,” Chopra Jonas wrote on Instagram. “The intention was always to bring attention to the people behind the ideas and highlight the actions and impact of the causes they support tirelessly. I’m happy that in this new format, their stories will be the highlight.”
“I’m proud to collaborate with partners who have their ear to the ground and know when it’s time to hit pause and re-evaluate,” she added.
Chopra Jonas closed her post by thanking the “global community of activists” for their hard work, which often goes unacknowledged.
Controversies Surrounding “The Activist”
Musician Usher and dancer Julianne Hough were cast to host alongside Chopra Jonas. After a release announcing the show and their casting went out last week, it was slammed online by activists and journalists alike.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil wrote that the network would have been better off donating the presumably large production costs to charity instead of “turning activism into a game.”
Women’s activist Gina Martin thought turning charity into a competition was counterintuitive, arguing “the whole *essense* of activism is solidarity and community.”
Writers from The Verge, The Washington Post, Essence, and countless other outlets likewise published pieces slamming the program. The Post’s Michele L. Norris accused CBS of “trying to capitalize on the current avalanche of doom in the daily news cycle.”
Norris added that the show’s “prize,” which was to attend the G20 summit in Italy, boiled down to activists fighting “merely for the right to crash an international conference and try to shake down world leaders for cash.”
Responses From Those Involved
Chopra Jonas is not the only host to address the criticism. Before the idea was canned, Hough wrote a lengthy Instagram post saying she was listening to the dialogue regarding the program.
“There is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and hurt that is being rightfully felt,” she wrote.
“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge,” she added, though she stopped short of actually stepping down from the gig.
CBS ended up releasing a joint statement with Global Citizen and Live Nation acknowledging the failings of the concept.
“It has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day,” the statement said. “The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.”
The statement said the new documentary will “showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in” without any competitive element.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Vanity Fair) (BBC News)
Health Officials in the U.S. and Trinidad Shut Down Nicki Minaj’s Vaccine Claims
After the rapper claimed her cousin’s friend had severe side effects from the vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci said she should be “thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis.”
Health Officials Condemn Nicki Minaj’s Vaccine Statement
Health officials in the United States and Trinidad and Tobago are refuting claims rapper Nicki Minaj made this week suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines can lead to testicular swelling.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent,” Minaj tweeted Monday. “His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”
The symptoms Minaj described in the tweet about her cousin’s friend fall more in line with those of various sexually transmitted diseases. The CDC has repeatedly noted that there is “currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.”
International health officials doubled down on this after Minaj’s remarks went viral. Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh, the Health Minister for Trinidad and Tobago, said his department takes every claim of this nature seriously and found no proof that Minaj’s anecdote was true after spending hours thoroughly researching it.
“Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad, or, I dare say anywhere else?” he continued. “None that we know of anywhere in the world.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s leading infectious disease expert, likewise debunked Minaj’s story while speaking to CNN.
“She should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis, except a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about,” Dr. Fauci told Jake Tapper this week.
Nicki Minaj Claims She Received Invite to Discuss Vaccines at the White House
As vaccine misinformation continues to spread and elongate the pandemic, the Biden administration has unveiled several efforts to instill trust in the science behind it. Minaj claimed Wednesday she was invited to the White House to discuss the vaccine and ask questions on behalf of those who need convincing.
A White House official, however, claimed that she was not offered a trip but rather a call with “one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.” Minaj slammed the White House on Instagram Wednesday night for undercutting her claim.
“Do you think I’d go on the internet and lie about being invited to the fucking White House?” she said in a 14-minute video. “Like, what?!”
“You know what the request was? ‘We’d like to offer Nicki an invitation to come to the White House to speak with two people,” she continued. “With, what is that man’s name? Dr. Fauci? And with the Surgeon General.”
Minaj said that when she expressed concerns about traveling, they offered the chance to also do a live chat on the social media platform of her choice. Throughout the remainder of her video, she repeatedly made startling claims suggesting the media was targeting an attack on her to make her look dumb so people would stop asking questions about the vaccine.
By Thursday, that video had been viewed over 1.6 million times. “I Stand With Nicki” trended on Twitter Thursday as some claimed the media has twisted her words, while others slammed her fanbase for supporting the rapper as she promoted misinformation.