- 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
Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return
- Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
- The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
- After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”
Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU
According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.
However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.”
Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects.
Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”
Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019
Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America.
Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” being his last outing as the character.
“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”
In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”
In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months.
So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.
For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)
Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher
- Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
- Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
- He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.
Issues on the Set of The Justice League
Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”
Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family.
Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.
Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio.
The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated.
“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December.
Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation
Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada.
On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised.
“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote.
Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims.
“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”
“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership.
He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”
Warner Media Stands By Hamada
On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada.
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”
Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)
Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos
- Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
- Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
- Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.
CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.
Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage
Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.
“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.
Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.
That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors.
Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.
The issue isn’t having this kink, it’s the fact that a lot of males here will see this and think this is normal. They don’t know about the safe words, long discussions, and therapy that take place before engaging in a scene like this. They just see rape.— amelia (@ameIia_says) January 13, 2021
Delphine Defends Herself
Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”
“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.
“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”
She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.
“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.
“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”
Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl.
“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote.
When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here.
“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”