Behind all of the gloss and glam, the K-pop business is riddled with controversies. The K-pop business is among the world’s most extensive entertainment industries, with a turnover of over 6.8 trillion dollars. Moreover, unlike any other source of entertainment, the K-pop business employs a structure in which hundreds of aspiring musicians work as trainees for production companies each year to make their debut. Because fans are accustomed to seeing K-pop celebrities in the most pleasing light, they are sometimes deluded by the assumption that celebrities can do no harm. Nevertheless, the K-pop business has been exposed to many deepest secrets throughout the decades.
GOT7 Leaves JYP
This was shocking news for K-pop fans. During the first half of the last year, this news made all the craze. After seven years at JYP., GOT7 agreed to quit the agency jointly to pursue independent careers while still maintaining a group.
However, it is not unusual for one or two group members to depart after their deal ends. The rest of the group quitting at the same time sparked some questions about JYP.’s handling of its artists. The group’s decision not to dissolve came as a relief to all Aghas worldwide!
Jennie and G-Dragon
Fans are always gushing about which celebrity is dating who. Many fans ship Jinnie and G-Dragon. Even though the two have never acknowledged the relationship or have been seen together, some fans believe that BLACKPINK’s Jennie and BIGBANG’s G-Dragon are still together after Express ‘revealed’ the couple in January 2021.
Although the public opinion was in their favor when their ‘supposed romance’ was disclosed, the two never really spoke, and their agency, Y.G. Entertainment, never confirmed it. It is unclear if the two are currently dating or whether they were ever together in the first instance.
Designer Kim Rieul loaned Jimin this stunning contemporary hanbok for B.T.S.’ Late Show performance, which he subsequently donated. To the surprise of admirers, it was placed up for sale in April of 2021. “Jimin is the one who touches and wears this garment. I didn’t even clean it.”
And those are the garments that have retained Jimin’s perspiration and odor from that day, “as stated by the designer. It was then removed from the sale after it awakened the wrath of netizens who thought it was rather intrusive of Jimin to have his garments auctioned and sold in this manner.
When it came to the controversies of 2021, Soojin was arguably impacted a lot. This controversy has done some major damage to the careers of K-pop celebrities. While most of them got away, some of them suffered. SoonJin was one of those K-pop celebrities. Her issue was made much worse when an actor seemed to back up her accusations of coercion.
As a result, she was forced to leave the group (G)I-DLE, and no fresh information about her has surfaced to date. Her departure sparked outrage among fans, who felt she was wrongly accused.
The word on the street is that Bobby of iKON is the new father in town, following Chen of E.X.O. Fans have been wondering for a long time to get a sign. In a long post on Instagram, the musician declared that he was set to marry his fiancée and that they were expecting a child.
His agency announced in September how he had formally welcomed his first kid, thrilling people worldwide. The overwhelmingly favorable response to his news contrasts sharply with the uproar around Chen’s pregnancy announcement. Such a pure delight.
Rose and CL at Met Gala
The 2021 Met Gala was something of a wonder. Everyone was pretty skeptical about the final showdown. However, everything was very graceful. Celebrities from all over the globe attended the gala and helped the cause. The K-pop industry played a big part this year.
In 2021, BLACKPINK’s Rosé and K-pop veteran CL attended the Met Gala for the first time, becoming the first female K-pop artist to do so. While Rosé served as Y.S.L. ‘s Global Ambassador for the event alongside design director Anthony Vaccarello, CL wowed in a stunning Alexander Wang gown and her characteristic charm.
BTS at UN
Without question, BTS. had a fantastic year! They are going to places. They have managed to uphold K-pop culture to the whole world. The most remarkable success has to be their participation at the United Nations General Assembly, which they attended after sweeping the A.M.A.s, receiving their second Grammy nomination, and eventually performing their first in-person performances in nearly two years.
They were there as South Korea’s special Presidential envoy, and they even appeared at the ceremony before making their second address. It’s a proud day for the lads and the Army!
Lazy Member of BLACKPINK
It begins with Jennie’s ‘lazy’ controversy, which is relatively gentle in comparison to the preceding controversies. Jennie is also a part of BLACKPINK, a globe K-pop girl group that started in 2016. BLACKPINK, particularly Jennie, had a surge in fame with the release of their pop hit Ddu-du-ddu.
In October 2018, Kim Jennie released her first solo single, named “Solo.” Jennie received a lot of accolades during the ‘Solo’ era, but she also became the focus of the most significant BLACKPINK controversy ever. During BLACKPINK’s global tour in 2018, internet users began criticizing Jennie for being a slacker.
Dahee VS Lee Byung
Dahee from the girl group Glam tried to blackmail a famous Korean actor named Byung-hun for more than $4 million. She had an accomplice named Lee Ji-Yeon, who was a model.
They wanted to leak a video of the three drinking together where Byung-hun allegedly made lewd comments. Lee also confessed that she and Byung-hun had an affair, but he broke it off in the end. Both of them confessed their scheme and went to jail for one year. Dahee was kicked out of Glam promptly. Even the fans lost faith.
BTS and China
BTS received a lot of reaction from Chinese fans a few months earlier in October when they made a joke about the Korean War at the Van Fleet Awards 2020. After earning the prize for ‘contributions’ in merging Korean-American ties, BTS leader RM delivered a speech. On the golden jubilee of the Korean War, the group received the honor after achieving tremendous success on the Hot 100 list.
Chinese fans quickly trended #BTShumiliatedChina on Weibo, according to Variety. If they didn’t comprehend the efforts made by Chinese soldiers throughout the war, BTS was attacked with hateful comments and told: “not to earn from China.”
The December 12 story of BTS fans slamming the stylists who clothed the group for the TIME magazine cover’s photography is on the list of recent K-pop controversies. The designers faced a lot of backlash on social media when the BTS ARMY said that the members’ clothes were unfit for the level of success they had attained.
Some people grumbled about Jin’s reportedly ill-fitting suit, others about Jimin and V’s unusually huge shoes, and others about SUGA’s slacks that were not hemmed at the bottom, according to Pinkvilla. This backlash was trended for quite a long time.
Jimin of AOA
In their heyday, AOA was one of Korea’s biggest, most influential idol groups. Third and fourth-generation K-pop fans might not know, but they were one of the best-selling artists of the second generation. Their glory, however, was entirely overshadowed when former member Mina came out explaining that she was bullied during her time in AOA, and the perpetrator was none other than the rapper-leader, Jimin.
Mina also called out her former agency, FNC entertainment, and ex-bandmates for not intervening when she was being subjected to torture. Interestingly enough, Mina was later outed for providing misleading information to the public.
Taeyang and Min Hyo Rin
Min Hyo Rin and BIGBANG’s Taeyang first crossed paths on the sets of the music video for his song “1AM”. The two announced their relationship to the public in 2015 and naturally, there was a backlash. Haters doubted the couple would last.
Well, joke’s on them because the pair gave the world of K-pop a dose of “couple goals”. After dating for three years, Hyo Rin and Taeyang got married in February, 2018. Hyo Rin also shared that she visited Taeyang every week when he got enlisted in the military.
Jennie’s Nurse Outfit
It seems like Jennie of BLACKPINK can’t catch a break! The Korean IT girl received massive backlash for yet another styling option that was completely out of her control. Fans were excited when the quartet released their album “The Album” after a long wait. The music video of the title track, “Lovesick Girls,” sparked a lot of criticism for the nurse outfit Jennie was seen wearing in one scene.
The Korean Health and Medical Workers Union was displeased with how the scene seemed to “objectify ” nurses and painted the profession in a negative light. YGE later deleted the scene. However, the girls’ fans, BLINKS, argued that the matter was blown out of proportion.
Who Is V Dating?
The BTS members have been associated with many women throughout the years as the fans are eager to know who the artists are dating. Pictures of V and actress Kim Yoo-Jung were fodder for social media stans at the start of last year. It all started after BTS’ V shared photos of him taking the subway, and a few hours later, Yoo-Jung also posted pictures of her on the subway.
What fueled the rumors was how the celebrities posted the photos on the same day in the span of a few hours. The pictures made rounds around social media, but the individual agencies of the two artists chose not to speak on it.
The 97 Liners Get-Together
BTS’ Jungkook, Astro’s Cha Eunwoo, SEVENTEEN’s Mingyu, and NCT’S Jaehyun are a part of the K-pop legendary 97 lines. All these men born in 1997 are known for their stunning visuals and talents. During the peak of Covid-19 at the start of 2021, Korean media outlet Dispatch reported the four had gone out for drinks in Itaewon, a popular Seoul district known for its great restaurants and colorful nightlife.
Given how South Korea had strict guidelines about gatherings of people in public, the news did not sit well with the general public. The individual management of the artists soon released apologies on the matter.
SM Entertainment’s top-selling boy group EXO had quite big news to share with their fans at the start of 2021. The main vocalist of the group, Jongdae (stage name: Chen), announced that he was getting married to his non-celebrity girlfriend, and the couple was also expecting a child together. After the official announcement from his agency, Chen appealed to his fans with a handwritten letter.
While most of their fans, otherwise known as EXO-Ls, were elated to hear this, many others reacted negatively. Now turned anti-fans, these people protested outside SM Entertainment with banners and chants to throw the would-be father out of the group.
TST Member Passes Away
K-pop has lost a lot of stars and young talents to traumatic events over the years. Fans often have to deal with the passing of their favorite celebrities, and one such saddening event was the death of Yohan. The TST member passed away at the young age of 28 in June 2021. Soompi reported that a wake was being organized at the Sinchon Severance Hospital before Yohan would be laid to rest in a cemetery.
People from all fandoms, not just TST, rushed to social media to extend their heartfelt condolences to the devastated family and mourn the artist’s loss.
Tablo’s Educational Qualifications
Better known by Tablo, Dan Lee of Epik High was targeted by a community of Internet users who came together and formed TaJinYo, an online forum. Their goal was to question the authenticity of the producer’s educational background at Stanford University. The reason behind the attack was Tablo’s impressive yet questionable time to acquire both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the prestigious institution.
Things got worse when the online forum started to dig up dirt on his family to fit their narrative. With no help from his management, Tablo was forced to allow a camera crew to follow him back to Stanford, where they cross-checked his credentials with the registrar.
Amongst the many lesser-known groups of K-pop, one is Nature. The group under n.CH entertainment consists of nine members and debuted on August 3, 2018. If you know Nature already, it’s either due to their hit song “Girls” or this situation. The group’s lead dancer, Uchae, came under fire for her inappropriate shirt during one of their performances.
As if the girls in K-pop aren’t objectified enough already, the shirt was a glaring example of how stylists often land artists in hot soup. It’s important to know that the artists don’t get a say in what they wear on stages unless they are rather influential.
Tzuyu and Her Shirt
K-pop sensation Twice’s youngest Tzuyu has often been under fire for the smallest things. This time, another bad styling choice got the beautiful singer criticized. For a cover performance of Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” with fellow K-pop idol group GFRIEND, Tzuyu was seen sporting a t-shirt with an inappropriate caption.
It’s easy to see why the fans would be offended. ONCEs, Twice’s dedicated fandom, quickly swarmed social media to defend the starlet. They pointed out that Tzuyu most likely had no hand in this decision.
Minzy’s Care Bears Pants
K-pop idols treat their fans with reality TV shows of themselves. 2NE1 TV was a gift to fans of the famed girl group. While otherwise fun and entertaining, the show’s one episode sparked criticism all around. Minzy, the youngest of the group and a stunning dancer, wore leggings that seemed to have Care Bears printed on them. However, upon close inspection, people noticed the inappropriate elements on them.
YGE later blurred out the questionable parts and apologized for their careless styling. The 2NE1 members had gotten backlash before wearing items from the “Naughty Care Bears” line.
In 2014, the Seoul Music Awards witnessed a terrifying event when the stage elevators collapsed during a performance. On stage were the three members of Girls’ Generation, Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun, performing their hit song “Holler.” A video was uploaded soon after where the girls can be seen exiting the stage after the performance. The stage collapsed, and vocalist Taeyeon fell in with a shriek.
She was rushed to the hospital and fortunately recovered without major injuries. Seohyun reported getting a sprained leg. The 24th SMA made an official apology to TaeTiSeo.
Onew’s Unlucky Fall
On an unfortunate day for SMTOWN artists, Onew of SHINee and Sungmin of SUPER JUNIOR were victims of two-stage mishaps. During KBS’ Music Bank, the lighting support structure collapsed briefly after the end of SHINee’s performance. It didn’t hit Onew, but it was a close call, rendering the vocalist unconscious from shock. Their fellow company-mates from SUPER JUNIOR and their managers ran to the stage to recover Onew.
Sungmin sustained injuries during their pre-concert rehearsal. He tripped on a stage prop and fell, cutting his knee open. He had to get stitches to close that wound up.
Taeyeon and Baekhyun
June of 2014 was a wonderful time for SM Entertainment’s fans. News broke that Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and EXO’S Baekhyun were dating. A Korean news outlet reported that the two had been secretly dating for a couple of months. These two are two of the biggest celebrities in the Korean entertainment industry, so the post quickly gained attention.
The two admitted to their relationship and became SM Entertainment’s first public couple. People who were against the pair petitioned to have Baekhyun removed from EXO. Perhaps their wishes came true because the couple split after dating for a year and four months.
Krystal and Kai
News spread like wildfire when EXO’s Kai and f(x)’s Krystal were reported to be dating. A dispatch published news where they stated that the duo had been seen together multiple times before. This wasn’t a shock to anyone, given how close the two had been since trainee days. SM Entertainment confirmed the news of their togetherness shortly after.
Luckily, both fandoms were super supportive of the call, lovingly giving them the couple name “Kaistal.” On May 31, 2017, the couple announced that they had parted ways due to their busy schedules.
Yong Junhyung and Goo Hara
The late Goo Hara was a member of the girl group KARA, and in 2011, she was supposedly dating Yong Junhyung of HIGHLIGHT. Back then, Junhyung was a member of BEAST, one of the most celebrated artists of their time. The news came as a big surprise for the industry and fans alike because back then, agencies would strongly deny dating allegations, even if there was adequate proof to back it up.
As the couple’s photos of happily spending time together began to circulate on the Internet, both of their individual agencies confirmed the news. They broke up in 2013.
Jang Kiha and IU
Titled the “Nation’s Little Sister,” IU, or Lee Ji Eun, has always been secretive about her personal life. This is why when news of her relationship with Jang Kiha broke the news in 2015, the fans and industry were caught off guard. Prior to that, IU had never been in any dating scandals. Add to that the massive 11 years age gap and fans were rightfully puzzled.
Fans were supportive of the couple when IU confessed to her strong feelings for Kiha. The couple officially broke up in 2017 after growing apart due to their busy schedules.
Junsu and Hani
Dispatch has a trend of starting the new year with a boom, which generally happens with outing secret couples in the industry. Fans often debate over the moral compass of the news outlet, but that never fazes them. On January 1, 2016, Dispatch claimed to have found proof of EXID’s Hani and JYJ’S Junsu being in a relationship.
In December 2015, the couple had spent Christmas Eve together. An insider claimed that Junsu fell for Hani first, but the EXID singer was close behind as she had been an admirer of Junsu from his days with TVXQ. Despite a little backlash from the public, the couple stayed together for a few months before drifting apart.
Suzy and Lee Dong Wook
When the news was published about the “Nation’s First Crush” being in a relationship with Lee Dong Wook, fans had their fair share of speculations. Not only did Lee Dong Wook and Suzy have a 13-year age gap, but Suzy was allegedly dating the South Korean heartthrob, Lee Minho.
The “visual killer” couple was first seen enjoying a date in Cheongdamdong in 2018. A bit after the TV Report, the two confirmed that they were a couple. Fans couldn’t get enough of the adorable couple, but they sadly broke up a few months later.
Seolhyun and Zico
Zico of Block B and Seolhyun of AOA had their own things going on when their dating news went live. While Seolhyun was busy with her successful singing, acting, and modeling career, Zico was out writing and composing music, performing with his bandmates, and perhaps preparing to establish his own company (which he did in 2018).
The couple had gotten closed in March of 2016 through overseas promotions before their relationship was outed in August 2016. Despite the massive support of fans from both ends, the duo split and stated public pressure as the reason.