I’m sorry I have not blogged for a while. I have been injured while training, but I am recovering well. It hurts to sit at the computer, so I will probably wait to recover over the weekend. However, I’m torn over what to blog about next. There are two topics I have in mind and both seem worthy of discussion. However, both are potentially controversial and require careful wording. The first topic is the fan reaction to Sulli’s dating, which ranges from the picture burning to the “Fashion King” attendance situation. The other situation is the situation with Kim Hyunjoong and his injured [ex]girlfriend. That would cover general fan reactions, revealed information and touch a little on the topic of domestic abuse. Both topics will have my take on the situation, of course. Both are worthy topics and go into interesting areas, but I don’t know which one to choose. I would dedicate time while I recover to doing the best research I can in time. Please help me choose, readers. I apologize for being gone so long and thank you.
I apologize for not blogging for a while, but I have been sick and unable to do too much moving around. I guess it was from flying, which I had not done in a while. I’m feeling better now, but it seems I’m feeling better when a certain idol is starting to feel worse. f(x)’s Sulli has finally taken enough bashing from those annoying “keyboard warriors” a.k.a netizens and she is going on a company approved hiatus. I’m putting it that way because I need it to be clear that she is not deciding to run away and hide in her room, especially when some people feel she is abandoning her group. The power of words are truly intense and this time showed their power when used in a negative sense. However, this situation started from last year and some people were even starting to forget it. I guess the end of this year is the time for once forgotten scandals to come back. I hope it ends here, but let’s see how it began.
Holding hands is something most people believe only couples do, so a male celebrity walking hand-in-hand with a female celebrity definitely causes people to suspect a relationship. It’s not suspicious when two people of the same gender hold hands, but it’s a different story when it’s a male and a female. At least that’s what some Korean culture videos state.
The photo above shows Sulli (left) and Choiza walking in a vacant alley on what was described by TV Report as a “morning date”. The time they stated the date took place was 10AM, which is pretty early to meet up with someone. That alone does not make me think they are in a relationship, but it would fit the profile of two people secretly dating. That early in the morning and the location are good choices for people who feel they would not be discovered together. However, celebrities should know better and the “sibling-like relationship” story does not sell well either. Netizens, with all their free time, immediately started looking for any clues to prove their relationship is real. I don’t recall a time when netizens ever worked hard to disprove a relationship rumor. If they don’t want it to be true, then it seems they just bash the idol they dislike or post mean comments about the relationship in general. Perhaps the netizens who work so hard to prove it act this way because they get to bash after they have their “evidence” or they leave it out there for others to bash, which makes them just as bad.
Disapproval of a celebrity couple generally comes from either a pre-existing pairing of one celebrity in the couple with a different celebrity due to a drama/movie or just general fan preference with a different celebrity. Sometimes it is due to jealousy from fans wishing to be the one with their celebrity crush, but that goes into sasaeng territory. DO NOT ENTER. Some fans just reject the relationship of one of the pair’s looks alone, despite fans having no right to play matchmaker for celebrities. If they want to marry a waitress, taxi driver or a random foreigner, then that is there choice. I went off on a side note there, but it relates to a bigger issue that connects here. SM Entertainment, who are not known for the best excuses, were quoted on the Soompi article as saying “He is only her close oppa-like friend and sunbae. Because they are close they occasionally meet up.” That basically means SM Entertainment is claiming Sulli and Choiza are close friends in the industry, so they meet like friends do. That would be fine, if they weren’t holding hands at 10 in the morning. I thought it was just a case of two very close friends who just messed up thinking they could act this close and not get caught. I still have my doubts, but Sulli and Choiza should have known it is better to be safe than sorry.
The best thing to do with a dating rumor is to let it burn out naturally. If it is untrue, then just act normally and that will show. If it is true, then just be more careful to hide it or just admit it. People will eventually move on, but things can get chaotic when one of the couple is an idol in a popular girl group. That case calls for avoiding the topic, until you have a solid plan. Carelessly mentioning the scandal because you can handle it does not help, but MCs can be just as much to blame in that case.
Rumors are hard to deal with in general and there is no guaranteed way to handle them. SM Entertainment (SME) is known in the fan community to deny and let a rumor fade away on its own, which is why SME’s confirmation of Tiffany and Taeyeon’s relationships took some people by surprise. It is usually best to admit to dating rumors when they are true because netizens will activate their “Sherlock Holmes” mode and find any evidence they can find. If the couple have had any signs, no matter how subtle, then they should admit to dating because lying only makes fan angry and the situation worse. The problem is when there are strong indications the rumor is true, but both sides continue to deny it. Denying the rumor sees fans bashing the idols because they already decided it was true and fans who defend the idols. Admitting the dating rumor is true usually sees more bashing fans than fans who support them, which includes previous defending fans silencing themselves because they were wrong defending a lie. It might be a lie when both celebrities deny a true relationship, but it is not without a reason. Fans overreact and often negatively to celebrity relationships, especially when at least one idol is involved. Fans blatantly ignore this and go straight to the deception part, which is not fair. They are proving the point of those who decided it was better to deny it. If you are in the entertainment industry, then it is very likely that you have heard the rumors and maybe even know the truth. Most celebrities will not add any unnecessary stress to their lives and stay quiet, but MCs are a bit different. MCs will ask questions about the dating rumors depending on the format of the show. If it is a show like ‘Radio Star’ or ‘War of the Words’, then you should expect it to come up. I’m pretty sure most of us still remember the uncomfortable episode of ‘Radio Star’ when Goo Hara of KARA was pushed to the point of frustration when constantly asked about her break up. MCs know the situation could be uncomfortable for the celebrity in question, but they also know that is what people are interested in now. It’s all about ratings, so they ask what people will listen in to hear. This is where quick wit is helpful.
There are ways to divert attention to a new topic or play down the topic in general. If an MC asks Choiza about Sulli, then Choiza can say he feels bad she is suffering from netizen attacks online and that he hopes everyone supports Sulli in these tough times. That is all and Choiza can finish by saying he does not want to talk about it anymore out of respect for Sulli. That helps fans see he is trying to help lessen the negative attention Sulli is getting and it shows that Choiza respects Sulli. Some MCs will still push for more information on their relationship, but it won’t be as blunt because that finishing statement makes it seem like pushing for more information is disrespectful to Sulli. Diverting attention, especially if an MC pushes for more information, can be done by Choiza standing by the statements both companies made and claiming that is all there is to the situation. A quote like “There is nothing more to this situation and that is all” would do. Any more insisting by the MCs will be met with repetition and producers will eventually signal them to move on. No producer wants to waste precious time on “It’s just as I said the last time”, so this method can work. I mention Choiza talking to MCs because it is mostly him on variety shows now and keeping Sulli away from those shows is best. It is best to keep all f(x) members away from those shows because they will get pressured for information too. “Red Light” will get completely ignored for Sulli’s situation and we don’t want another situation like Goo Hara had before. However, recent accounts of this situation being mentioned by Choiza show he did not take the path I talked about above and this is causing even more problems.
The situation with Choiza and Sulli came back into the light because Choiza lost his wallet, which contained photos of Sulli in them. These were not just photos a fan would have, but also photobooth photos that show closeness. Someone found the wallet and returned it, but they also saw fit to publish the photos online. That is the story as it appears and surely the person had to know this would cause problems for both sides. Returning the wallet was a good deed, but publishing the photos was definitely underhanded.
Shows like “Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook” and tvN’s “SNL Korea” are not necessarily shows where such a topic would come up and they a guest is not likely to be constantly pressed for information. However, it appears Choiza decided to bring up the situation with Sulli in a light-hearted manner. His thinking was probably along like lines of “If I make the situation seem like it’s no big deal, then people will let it go”. That could not have been more untrue and “humorously” bringing it up only made things worse. His label, Amoeba Culture, had previously stated they had nothing to say about the wallet issue and the overall situation with Sulli. This would have worked well for both sides because Choiza could easily avoid any discussion on the topic by stating he will stand by his label’s decision and Sulli could promote f(x)’s comeback song “Red Light”. This is where some MCs did not help the situation at all.
Both Yoo Heeyeol and Yoo Saeyoon brought up the scandal through various segments of SNL Korea, which eventually saw Choiza giving concerned reactions and even stating on Yoo Saeyoon’s segment “I thought we weren’t going to do this” when the segment was still talking about Choiza’s love line. These reactions seem to have come after the initial fan backlash at Choiza laughing with the issue and receiving gifts like a wallet chain, which show attention is still being given to the scandal. f(x) was promoting “Red Light” and that caused the scandal to lose attention in favor of the long awaited f(x) comeback. However, Choiza appeared on variety shows and this gave MCs only one target to get information from during the time. The wallet chain gift was not Choiza’s idea, so that is more a fault on Yoo Heeyeol who gave the gifts and Choiza eventually said that the entire nation was giving him a hard time with the scandal. This is a reference to the negative netizen attention, but some fans are blaming Choiza for being careless with his wallet and not realizing how much damage the scandal was doing to Sulli from the start. Some people believe the MCs are just doing their jobs and being funny, but I have always believed there is a time and place for everything. The jokes have caused a problem with f(x)’s comeback promotions and Sulli’s involvement with the entertainment industry, so I believe it was better to have not even referenced to the scandal at all.
When it rains, it pours. The situation has gone from a “rainstorm scandal” to a full fledged “hurricane scandal”. The rumors have gone from as small as dating to as large as pregnancy, which reminds me of the pregnancy rumors IU went through a while back. Sulli’s absence from a “Red Light” performance was explained as an absence due to illness and some netizen decided to make it out to be due to pregnancy. Now we face a situation so bad that it has forced Sulli into a break from the entertainment industry and f(x) into an end to “Red Light” promotions.
Malicious rumors are terrible to deal with and they can often force a celebrity to lay low from the public eye for a while. Some celebrities fight back, but that is usually saved for veteran idols, solo artists and actors/actresses. Idols in groups often keep quiet because their actions affect their group and younger idols might receive backlash for speaking so boldly when they just came into the entertainment industry not long ago. This time the rumors have gone far enough to drive Sulli from the public eye of the entertainment industry and f(x)’s comeback promotion are going with her. SME’s official statement says “Sulli is tired and has been showing pain because of the rumors and hateful comments towards her and said she would like to take a break from her activities.” It was also stated that f(x) would stop “Red Light” promotions, but various members will be going into solo activities. The other members of f(x) were mentioned to be attending the SMTOWN concert in Seoul on August 15th, but it is unclear if Sulli is included in the group. It seems awfully close to have her back for the concert, but we will see what happens between now and then. No action in a scandal is without a netizen reaction and this decision has received some interesting responses. Naturally there are some stupid responses mixed in, but that’s to be expected from the internet. The golden rule of treat others as you would have them treat you is something a lot of netizens don’t seem to understand and negativity continues to spread.
Netizens can be so cruel, but that’s what happens when mean comments are supported by like minded people and the internet provides anonymity for bullies. Posting malicious rumors usually goes to the Cyber Crime Division, but mean comments alone are not illegal. This means the targeted idol needs to be strong and receive support from those closest to them. This means Sulli needs f(x) and her loyal fans more than ever to get through this scandal.
There is always a mix of supportive and condemning comments on SNS when an idol gets into a scandal. This time is no different, but the supportive comments also have their share of negativity. Some fans are showing their support of Sulli by placing the blame on Choiza by referring to his mentioning of the scandal on shows, which was called reckless. The photo above shows an article on ONSEN, which had that sentiment as it’s top comment. The reported third comment was “What becomes of the other members who prepared so hard”, which refers to the sudden halt to f(x) promotions for “Red Light”. It is true the situation is unfortunate for not only hurting Sulli, but hurting the efforts of f(x) during their long awaited comeback. The following comment was a bit less supportive by saying “I waited one year…”, which only shows a lack of understanding for the situation. I completely understand feeling let down after waiting for your favorite idol group to make a comeback after a year and then being told they have to stop promotions early. That is easy to sympathize with for any Kpop fan, but it also shows said fan is only concerned with being entertained by the group and lacks concern for their well-being. It should not matter if Sulli is such a fan’s bias or even if said fan doesn’t like her. SME has come to the conclusion that f(x) stopping their promotions is best to help Sulli recover from this scandal and f(x) is going along with it. The comeback was not cancelled and there are stages of them performing live, so the situation there is not as bad as it could have been. It is definitely unfair that f(x) is being affected in a such a way by this scandal, but this is the situation we are dealing with now. Unsupportive comments only give way to more negativity and such a comment could be viewed by Sulli or any f(x) member, which would not help them feel better at all. They do see these comments, so be careful what you post. (-_-)
Other comments mention how weird SM is lately with scandals and other issues, which is joined by comments stating SM Entertainment should pursue hate comment posters and those who spread malicious rumors. I would like to say they are already doing that, but SME has made no such announcement on that topic to my knowledge. Some people feel they were right about Sulli hiding when SME claimed she was sick and others even begin to question if she wanted to become a celebrity of her own free will. That kind of comment stems from a belief that Sulli is hiding because she can’t handle the negative attention, which such a netizen believes she should be able to handle as a celebrity. This is taking from the double standard for public figures and private citizens, which is not fair. It is true that public figures knowingly open themselves up to more criticism than a private citizen, but that does not mean they should take it in without issue. Idols/celebrities are people who feel and get their feelings hurt like anyone else. Malicious rumors can drive them into depression just like a private citizen, but the difference is they take more on than the average citizen and the double standard gives them few options to respond. I’m fairly certain Sulli would love to tell everyone to stop and leave her alone, but that would not work well for an idol like her. It might be hard, but try to be more understanding when others are going through hard times. It shouldn’t be hard in the first place and netizens have yet to learn this lesson.
The most random and, as I believe, stupid comment was one that stated “T-ara is really great..”. This was met with confused reactions on social media sites and other comments that said such a comment would start a fan war, which was followed by agreements that such a comment was unnecessary. It was definitely unnecessary and it would start a fan war between “Queens” (T-ara fans) and Aff(x)tions (f(x) fans). That comment is likely a reference to the bullying scandal T-ara had a while back with former member Hwayoung. The comment is likely saying that their scandal is nothing compared to the current scandal that has negatively affected f(x). That is the height of stupidity when it comes to comments concerning this scandal. It is unhelpful and rude, which definitely leads to fan wars online. That is not what is needed now or ever, so such comments should never be posted.
In the end, f(x) has worked hard and I have seen a good amount of support among the members of the group when they need it. I’m sure Sulli is being supported by the rest of f(x), her entertainment industry friends and her family. The fans are a powerful force and they should be supporting her too. No finger pointing at Choiza, MCs or anyone else. No conspiricy theories or anything that spread negativity because it comes back to the scandal with a negative spin on it. Only supportive comments help and leave it at that. Overwhelm SNS with supportive comments for Sulli and f(x) or don’t say anything at all. Be there for her and leave it at that. I’ve said this before and use this as your motto for this scandal. ‘Just support Sulli or stay quiet’. It’s that simple. Spread the love and keep it that way.
Here is the video where the pictures came from.
Here is “Red Light”, which f(x) worked hard to make for fans.