Global boy group BTS is facing a big crisis ahead of their comeback next month. It is because of the song “Filter”, which is scheduled to be released in their new album.
BTS faced a huge backlash immediately after the tracklist of their new album “Proof”, which includes the song “Filter”, was revealed on May 10th. It is because Jung Bobby, one of the composers of this song, is on trial for sexual assault and illegal filming. Therefore, “Filter”, which was considered a “hidden masterpiece” among fans, quickly became a nuisance.
The majority of fans are saying that the song composed by a person suspected of sex crimes should not be included in announcements of the new album. On SNS, the hashtag #정바비_곡_불매 (Boycott Jung Bobby’s song) is trending. This is a hashtag created by ARMYs (BTS’s fandom) who announced that they would not listen to or purchase songs produced by Jung Bobby. In addition to “Filter”, Jung Bobby also worked on some other songs of BTS, such as “Answer: Love Yourself”, “Home”, “Love Maze”, etc. Many fans are expressing their displeasure, “We don’t want to listen to these songs at concerts”, “Fans of junior groups are watching us”, etc.
BTS is also being criticized. It is revealed by HYBE that BTS members selected the songs in CD 2, which contains the track “Filter”, by themselves. BTS has been delivering positive messages, such as opposition against discrimination, violence and crimes, through their music and content. However, even after Jung Bobby’s allegations were disclosed, BTS members still decided to include his song in the new album, putting the group’s reputation along with the meaning of their previous moves on the verge of being re-examined.
In fact, there were many times when K-pop couldn’t keep up with social issues and received criticism. In November last year, Shinhwa Kim Dong-wan had to apologize after publicly showing support to the former member of MC The Max – Lee Soo, who was accused of purchasing sexual services during his enlistment. Korea’s major music site Melon was once under fire for recommending a song by Jung Joon-young, the main character of the Burning Sun Case. FNC Entertainment did not expel Lee Jong-hyun from the group when he was found to have shared illegal videos but only terminated his contract after another controversy arose.
A pop culture critic pointed out, “It is understandable that fans are against the decision to include a song that Jung Bobby participated in composing on the album. The problem is that the music industry, including the agency, does not show any respect to such oppositions”. Even after the controversy broke out, HYBE still focus on promoting BTS’s new album without making any particular statement on the issue. The critic added, “If the company do not properly express their position on acts related to human rights violations, people might believe that they are supporting those acts”, adding, “As a result, the image of BTS will also be badly damaged.”