Fans believe that the 97-line idols may have been careless, but not “immoral” as the ongoing criticism has been saying these days.
The topic “Let’s think and look straight at the truth about the Itaewon incident” is one of the hot topics on the Pann Nate forum. Netizens shared their opinions and clarified the misunderstanding regarding the controversy of the 97-line idol group including Jung Kook (BTS), Jae Hyun (NCT 127), Cha Eun Woo (ASTRO) and Min Gyu (SEVENTEEN) who went to the bar in Itaewon during social distancing.
1. The time 97-line idols gathered in Itaewon was from April 25 to April 26 morning. At this time, South Korea recorded fewer than 15 new cases daily, most of them returning from overseas and almost no infections within the community. From April 18 to May 2, the number of new daily infected cases in this country are: 8, 13, 9, 11, 8, 6, 10, 10, 10, 14, 9, 4, 9, 6, respectively.
Since the end of April, the pace of life has almost returned to normal in Korea (except for schools that were not yet opened). In this country, since the outbreak of Covid-19, despite the campaign of social distancing, the Korean government has never issued a mandatory order but only called for people’s awareness. From the second week of April, many restaurants and shopping centers have reopened. On April 19, the government extended the social distancing until May 5, but has eased some rules. Specifically, if previously Korea prohibited all activities for religious facilities, churches, entertainment venues, indoor sports centers, tutoring facilities … then activities at these places have been loosened to “be limited“. Reuters reported on April 20 that “public places like parks were flooded with tourists on weekends, while shopping malls and restaurants were gradually returning to normal in Korea.“
For this reason, fans believe the male idols hanging out with each other on April 25 – when the country has relaxed some rules- “is a common mentality after a long time of social distancing. ” This time was also 12 days before May 7, when the Seoul authorities announced the case infected with coronavirus (after going to 5 bars in Itaewon in the morning of May 2nd). By May 9, Seoul closed all nightlife facilities (bars, clubs) to prevent the disease. On May 11, South Korean officials asked those who came to Itaewon from April 24 to May 6 to self quarantine and go to test for COVID-19 anonymously (because of the homosexuality in Itaewon)
2. The 97-line group didn’t go to M Club as Dispatch reported (Dispatch said that the idol group went to a restaurant and two entertainment places) but they only went to Jack Bar. The Sekye Ilbo newspaper contacted M Club to confirm. The owner said “Dispatch has never called me to confirm it. Because of the news now, my club is suffering big losses. The part-time employees here have never heard of any celebrities being spotted on that day. I’ll make a recommendation to Dispatch “.
As for the Jack Bar where 97-line went to, fans explained that this was a combination of a restaurant and a gaming center. “If you search for Jack’s Bar on Naver, you will see a lot of blog reviews about this restaurant. Jack’s Bar is not an unhealthy place. It’s not a place where boys and girls meet like a club like most people think, “a Korean fan wrote.
3. Fans believe that the 97-line group should only be criticized for carelessness, lack of awareness for not strictly complying with social distancing. In the case of Cha Eun Woo and Jae Hyun, who have continued their public schedule despite the recommended 2-week self-isolation if they went to Itaewon (meaning they should have been at home until May 10 but went to TV stations on May 7&8, fans said that they also need to seriously reflect on their actions. However, the above mistakes still do not deserve to be attacked with many harsh words such as “bad personality“, “poor morality“, “unhealthy hobbies” … like these idols have to suffer these days.
“When these idols met up, other Koreans did the same, the streets were crowded with people going out to eat and drink. Just because Itaewon suddenly became the new outbreak, idols turned to be the focus of criticism with horrible words. While they were only being careless, they have been criticized as if they were caught in a scandal as severe as Burning Sun”, one fan commented.
4. Compared to the controversy of the female celebrity group partying after new cases broke out in Itaewon, fans thought that netizen’s reaction was “quite gentle compared to the 97-line male idols“. These female celebrities came to a party near Itaewon on May 9, the time after new cases broke out in this area, so the severity is higher than the gathering time of the 97-line. However, while the group of close friends have been cursed badly, these female stars only got bashed a little. “Cha Eun Woo was forced to leave the show, Jung Kook’s cultural merit medal was asked to be revoked, haters even turned them into criminals for breaking the law, aren’t haters going too far already?“, one fan commented.