- On Thursday, South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said members of the K-pop band BTS will be required to serve in the military.
- Some lawmakers had argued that BTS should be granted an exemption because of its massive influence.
- The band’s oldest member, Jin, is expected to enter service sometime next year before he reaches the age deadline of 28-years-old.
- The announcement comes as the South Korean military struggles with a dwindling active military population because of falling birthrates.
BTS Will Serve in the Military
Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense announced that K-pop band BTS will be required to serve in the country’s military, ending more than a year of speculation over whether or not the band members would enlist.
The announcement comes as the defense ministry imposes stricter rules for exemption to South Korea’s mandatory military service. By law, all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 must enlist.
Notably, the new rules will allow fewer people from industry and research sectors to be able to qualify for exemptions. The tighter regulations mean that besides BTS, no pop stars will be allowed to gain exemption status.
“We came to review this system to reduce the number of exemptions in the first place, so we did not at all consider expanding exemptions.” Lee Nam-woo, chief of the Defense Ministry’s personnel welfare office, said Thursday.
“We also believe that military duty will not hurt the talents of popular performers so critically that they cannot perform anymore,” he added.
Previously, award-winning classical musicians and athletes that have won medals in either the Olympics or the Asian Games have been exempted. Notably, this reduction to exemptions will not affect their ability to gain exemption status if they’ve won such awards.
Notably, however, while South Korea will reduce the number of exemption-qualifying games for athletes, if an athlete is on a team that ends up winning such an award, that athlete will still be able to obtain an exemption even if he didn’t play in the winning game. Before this, it became common practice for all athletes in a team to play for at least a minute to be able to qualify for an exemption.
Falling Birthrates Lead to Shrinking Military
Thursday, the South Korean Military Manpower Administration directly mentioned BTS in a statement following the Defense Ministry’s announcement.
“On the request that the exemption needs to be expanded to pop artists like BTS, which has raised national image,” an official said, “we decided not to waiver military service, considering the government position to enhance fairness and downsize the number of exemption due to manpower shortage.”
On the note of “manpower shortage,” South Korea is currently facing its lowest birth rates in recorded history. While a country needs a birth rate of 2.0 to signify a growing country, South Korea’s has fallen to 0.98 because of shrinking fertility rates and an increasingly large elderly population.
That has led to some fear surrounding the South Korean military and its ability to continue imposing pressure against North Korea. Currently, South Korea has about 600,000 active soldiers but by 2022, it projects that number will fall to 500,000. Over the next two decades, the ministry expects that number to shrink again by half.
On top of that, June 2020, conscripts will only need to serve 18 months instead of 21. The shortened conscription time actually comes as part of a campaign promise made by President Moon Jae-in.
Amidst Controversy, BTS Promises to Serve
Despite over a year of debate among fans, lawmakers, and the military, for their part, BTS has said they will serve when the time comes.
“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.
Jin, however, has been the subject of the most scrutiny. As the band’s oldest member, he will turn 27 next month, meaning under normal law, he will be required to enlist by next year at the latest.
Because BTS has brought massive international attention to South Korea and has contributed to $4.65 billion of the country’s GDP, many have wondered if that would be enough to exempt the band for military service.
Though presented as a debate over whether BTS could be granted exempt, the band seemingly served as a litmus test for whether exemptions could be extended to pop stars.
In September, the Korean Ministry of National Defense said an exemption wasn’t possible.
In October, the band’s label, BigHit Entertainment, then said none of the band members would serve this year; however, that statement did not mean the members wouldn’t eventually serve.
“The company believes military service is a duty,” BigHit told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will try to show the fans the best of BTS until, and after, the members have fulfilled their service duties.”
Also last month, South Korea’s Minister of Government Policy Coordination said that the military should reflect the current times and asked for a “comprehensive review” to determine whether K-pop boy bands should also be able to get exemptions.
Regarding the enlistment, fans have been somewhat divided on this announcement.
On one hand, some fans have said that because of the band’s massive influence, they should be exempted. Others, though avoiding a stance of whether or not BTS should serve, noted what they believe to be a double standard compared to athletes and other artists.
On the other hand, a lot of fans agreed that they should enlist because all South Koreans are expected to serve, those fans, also once again pointing out that BTS has said they will serve.
“International fans who don’t understand mandatory military services have literally no right to interfere because their opinion is invalid,” one fan wrote. “Like it’s the government’s decision as the members are Korean citizens before idols. It’s basically their duty to serve their nation.”
OMG International fans who don’t understand mandatory military services have literally no right to interfere because their opinion is invalid. Like it’s the government’s decision as the members are Korean citizens before idols. It’s basically their duty to serve their nation.— 은 #찬바람불땐_아스트로_블루플레임 (@rohamoarmy) November 21, 2019
Ethan Klein Accused of Racism and Homophobia after Calling K-pop a “Little Twink, Gay Fetish”
- Ethan Klein of h3h3 Productions referred to BTS and other K-pop stars as part of a “little twink, gay fetish” in a recent podcast.
- Klein also made sexually obscene comments involving K-pop’s young female fans.
- Soon after, #h3h3IsOverParty trended on Twitter, with many calling his comments both homophobic and racist.
- Klein then doubled down on Twitter, telling K-pop fans to “lighten up” while also accusing them of being responsible for a recent wave of K-pop star suicides.
Klein Calls K-pop a “Twink, Gay Fetish”
After insulting K-pop by calling it a “little twink, gay fetish,” Ethan Klein is being accused of making both racist and homophobic comments.
In a podcast posted to their channel on Saturday, Klein and his wife Hila were breaking down YouTube’s 2019 Rewind. Klein’s comments came when the video showed mega-successful band BTS as having the second most-liked music video on the platform for 2019.
“I don’t get the BTS thing,” Klein said just before the podcast’s 26:00 minute mark. “I’m just going to say it right now, I don’t like K-pop. I hate K-pop. I don’t get BTS. How did this become a thing in Western culture, where all these grown men and little girls are jerking off to K-pop boys? It’s like a little fetish. It’s like a little twink, gay fetish about these K-pop boys.”
The next day, #h3h3IsOverParty started trending on Twitter, where many people criticized Klein’s comments. The backlash did not come as a surprise to Klein, who joked about being “assassinated” by K-pop fans in the podcast.
Twitter users also began uncovering and sharing other, older podcasts, where Klein used both racist and homophobic slurs back to back.
“I love that I can just say [n-word] [f-word], though,” Klein said in one podcast. “Like how could— I couldn’t really say that, [n-word] [f-word]. So wonderful.”
Klein Called Out for “Homophobic” and “Racist” Comments
With Klein’s most recent comments regarding K-pop, however, many denounced his speech as racist and homophobic. Other critics also condemned Klein’s mention of sexually obscene comments regarding K-pop’s young female fans.
“it doesn’t matter if you don’t like kpop, you’re entitled to ur opinions,” one user wrote. “it DOES matter when grown ass adults with a platform are sexualising an entire industry and calling it porn for underage girls and perverts? how do people not understand how gross that is ?? #h3h3isoverparty”
However, some people defended Klein, arguing that some K-pop fans promote the idea of fetishizing Asian men and that Klein was simply making an over-the-top joke.
Klein Doubles Down on Comments
Klein responded to the backlash on Sunday evening in a series of posts, where he joked about making the trending list and told K-pop fans to “lighten up” before making a further sexually obscene comment.
Klein, however, faced another controversy when he said K-pop fans “are responsible for dozens of suicides of K-pop idols because of their online abuse.”
Klein’s comment seemingly refers to a recent wave of suicides among popular Korean icons, such as Sulli, a K-pop star and actress who died in October, whose death was reportedly linked to cyberbullying. In November, another K-pop star, Goo Hara, also committed suicide after people online harassed her following the news that her boyfriend threatened to post an illegal sex tape of her.
Experts, however, have said that no single answer can explain the larger phenomenon of these deaths, with those experts also citing South Korea’s conservative society and the immense pressure K-pop stars face from fans and industry executives.
On Twitter, many then pushed back against Klein’s claim.
As the situation unfolded, Klein’s wife Hila responded by asking if she was also canceled, with Klein saying he was taking her down with him.
Later, Pewdiepie, possibly poking fun at the situation, tweeted his reaction.
“Fucking POS YOURE TRASH!” he said. “Speak bad of kpop and bts again and army will WALK ALL OVER YOU! @h3h3productions #h3h3isoverparty”
Bill Nye’s $28M Lawsuit Against Disney Headed to Trial
- Bill Nye will take Disney to trial under allegations that the company shortchanged him and his partners $28 million for his 1990s television series.
- The “Science Guy” claims that he is personally owed at least $9.4 million.
- Nye filed a complaint in 2017 and a Los Angeles judge just ruled that the case will go to trial.
- The trial will take place in May 2020 over a span of 10 days, according to the ruling.
Judge Gives Green Light
Bill Nye, popularly known as the “Science Guy,” has been granted permission to take his case against the Walt Disney Company to trial.
Nye alleges that Disney failed to pay him and his partners $28.1 million in revenue from his hit 1990s television show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” He claims he alone is owed at least $9.4 million.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday that a 10-day trial will occur in May 2020 to address the allegations.
The television personality filed suit in 2017, questioning Disney’s Buena Vista Television, who handled the accounting.
According to the complaint, Buena Vista Television came to a written agreement with Nye and the other owners of the show in which they agreed to “promote, market, and distribute the show.” Nye and his partners said that under this deal they were entitled to 50% of the net profit, but were shortchanged.
Nye said he became suspicious of the accuracy of his paychecks after Disney claimed they made an “accounting error” in 2008. At that time, the company insisted that he repay them thousands of dollars that they had sent him a few months earlier.
“Bill Nye the Science Guy” ran on PBS for five seasons between 1993-1998 and was screened in classrooms nationwide for educational purposes.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Fox News) (Hollywood Reporter)
Cardi B Defends Offset From Cheating Accusations Citing Alleged Instagram Hack
- Sarah “Jade” Wattley, the girlfriend of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, recently showed a flirty DM sent to her from Migos Rapper Offset’s Instagram account.
- Soon after, Offset and his wife, rap superstar Cardi B, brushed off the rumors and explained that his account had been hacked.
- It is unclear at this time if authorities have been contacted over the issue, but as of now, no person has been named responsible for the hack.
Flirty DM Surfaces
Rapper Cardi B defended her husband Offset from cheating allegations Tuesday saying that a message he allegedly sent to another woman was actually the work of a hacker.
The Migos rapper was recently accused of flirting with Sarah “Jade” Wattley, the girlfriend of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine.
In a video recently posted on Jade’s Instagram account, she recorded herself opening a direct message from Offet’s verified account. The message, sent at 1:36 a.m. read: “Miss u fr.”
In the caption of her now-deleted post, Jade slammed Offset for the DM, saying: “Your wife @iamcardib has a OPEN CRIMINAL CASE , why are you writing me you don’t respect her ??????? Theirs a lot of s— I haven’t exposed yet , but there’s a time for that 😭😭😭🌈 I’m the QUEEN 👑 of talking s— now I’m backing it up 🎼😂🤡.”
The message sparked a wave of backlash from fans who noted that Cardi and Offset had already reconciled their marriage after previous reports of Offset cheating. On top of that, Cardi and Jade and known to have a tense history with one another.
Earlier this year, Cardi was indicted on 14 charges, including two counts of felony assault with the intent to cause injury after she was accused of ordering an attack on Jade and another bartender at a New York Strip club last year.
Some reports indicate that the attack stemmed from rumors that Jade had slept with Offset, though Jade has denied having any relationship with him several times. Another rumor suggests that the fight was prompted by a “drink being spilled on Cardi, whose actions have been described as ‘spontaneous and completely unpremeditated,’” the Daily Mail reports.
Cardi Defends Offset
Cardi quickly defended her husband against cheating rumors, saying that his account was hacked.
In a video posted on her social media, Cardi explains that they were woken up with news of the hack. In the background, another person is shown trying to regain access to Offert’s account.
“Babe, I know you done some dumb s—, everybody know he’s done some dumb s—, but c’mon, n—s ain’t dumb, n—s ain’t crazy,” she said. “We’ve been so good, we had a sweet weekend, life has been good,” Cardi added. “That’s why I ain’t getting no rowdy. Simple as that. Okay, love you guys.”
In additional videos, Offset explained that his email had been compromised, giving his hacker access to his account. He said he’s been dealing with this issue for months and has also had unreleased songs leaked because of it.
Interset users also posted screenshots of tweets sent from his official account that seem to signal a potential hack.
Still Jade hit back at the hacker claims saying, ‘the hack started after you got exposed.” “Why it didn’t start at 1 am,” she added.
If Offset and Cardi’s claims are true, it is unclear at this time if authorities have been contacted over the issue. As of now, no person has been named responsible for the hack. However, celebrity social media hacks are by no means uncommon and have been known to even impact major executives, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.