MBC “Fantasy Boys” criticized for exploiting minors for inappropriate content
MBC “Fantasy Boys” came into for criticism for letting a 14-year-old contestant play an age-inappropriate game.
“Fantasy Boys” is a survival reality show by MBC to form a global K-pop boy group with members from around the world. Since its airing, the program has not had a good reputation with the public due to one controversy after another.
Recently, the program is under a new wave of criticism for allegedly baiting viewers with sensitive photos and inappropriate activities.
On May 23rd, iMBC News released a clip with a thumbnail giving snippets into the latest activities of “Fantasy Boys”. In the thumbnail, the contestants of the show were engaging in a mouth-to-mouth activity of sorts.
In the video, the contestants were playing a game of pepero. The rule is as follows: each person will use their mouth to hold one end of a pepero stick and bite until the stick is as shortest as possible. The stick can be replaced with a piece of paper.
Among the participants in the game, Hyeontae caught attention for being a minor (14 years old). He was paired with an older participant. Viewers could see their lips almost touched.
Hyeontae also joined the paper-passing game with a 19-year-old participant Hikaru. To prevent the paper from falling, the pair had to move their heads in ways that resembled two people kissing. Onlookers felt awkward while seeing the whole process.
Netizens are enraged to see the photos. They accused the program of baiting viewers with sensitive images and exploiting minor contestants for views.
They proceed to accuse the show of queerbaiting, stating that the activity damages the reputation of the LGBTQ+ community. They also point out that the contestants were also taken advantage of and sexually exploited.