In the midst of the T-ara bullying scandal/Hwayoung‘s expulsion, a run of insanely stupid reaction from fans, which was not only anticipated but expected, emerged as one of the most amusing parts that came out of all this.
I wanted to write something where I got to mock netizens, but I saw this article over at The Prophet Blog and I figured I would just add onto what he already wrote.
The fallout from Hwayoung‘s split with T-ara has been nothing short of cataclysmic, and resulted in an all-out witch hunt against the current T-ara members. The group has lost endorsement deals, been forced to cancel concerts, fan cafes have shut down, petitions and groups to have T-ara disbanded and to uncover the truth behind the scandal have attracted hundreds of thousands of people, netizens have called for the members to be removed from their current television shows, a music program director has said he will no longer contact T-ara, and much more.
In less than a week, T-ara has gone from being one of the most loved groups in K-Pop to the most reviled and hated. But whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty, and why are the members of T-ara receiving all the vitriol instead of their controversial CEO, Kim Kwang Soo?
Yeah, that’s basically been my question as well over the past week or so.
I guess it’s inevitable since T-ara is the front or face of this scandal, but idols are generally always a victim of circumstance to an extent. As such, I’m not sure why this is any different for netizens, when it’s quite clear that’s how everything is working.
The bulk of the anti-T-ara bandwagoning has stemmed from various reports of bullying — virtually all of which have turned out to be either misconstrued or completely false. The situation has gotten so bad that anonymous posts on web forums have been picked up by the media and reported as fact, and everybody has been so desperate for answers that they’re not stopping to separate the fiction from the fact.
It should take more than some out-of-context photos, anonymous forum posts, and unsubstantiated stories to convince the world that T-ara is a pack of evil bullies who tormented and assaulted their bandmate. This is 2012, but right now people are acting like it’s the 1600s and we’re all at the Salem witch trials.
That’s what I’ve been trying to drive into everybody’s head with the confirmation bias thing.
People are losing their minds over this — being purposely ignorant to context and how humans interact with each other — for the purpose of supporting their conclusions.
While everybody is busy blaming T-ara for Hwayoung’s departure, few seem to be looking at Kim Kwang Soo, who may very well be more responsible for this entire ordeal than anybody else involved.
In my April article about T-ara’s then-announced member changes, I expressed my concern over the way Kim Kwang Soo was managing the group. I said that he was creating an unhealthy environment for the group by encouraging them to compete against one another and by threatening to fire or replace any members who didn’t comply. Now that he’s made good on his threats, it’s T-ara who are being blamed.
Now picture the kind of stress that would bring on the members of T-ara, and then remember that Hwayoung was not part of the original T-ara lineup. She was added to the group in 2010. So Hwayoung was added to a group that was already successful, a group that had been together for years (if you include their training days), a group that was being severely overworked in a high-stress environment, and a group that was encouraged by their CEO to compete against one another.
Kim Kwang Soo‘s management style and strategy created a company environment and group dynamic that was the exact opposite of one that would be receptive to membership change.
The bullying may or may not have happened*, but either way, Kim Kwang Soo’s technique of threatening them, berating them for laziness, and working them to exhaustion only does wonders to make him the singular bad guy and get the group to rely on each other. However, take that close knit group he bonded, split them up and/or add new blood, and how does he expect them to react, exactly? It’s idiotic.
*Hwayoung is the maknae, so by default, there’s going to be an initiation process. It’s almost like hazing to an extent, where the youngest has to prove themselves to the group before being accepted. Maknaes in every group are treated a bit lesser, talked down to, and expected to do things for their sunbaes. You can have a problem with it, but just know that you’re not attacking a T-ara issue, you’re attacking a Korean/Asian/Confucian societal issue (worldwide, really, “respect your elders”).
Maybe this was a power play on Kim Kwang Soo’s part, to break their unity or to show them who’s boss, but adding in new members to that environment was a toxic idea to begin with.
He made it a dog-eat-dog type of world and he reaped what he sowed.
As of now, the only real bullies in this whole situation are the netizens. Take one look at the comments section in a T-ara post on AllKPop right now, and you’ll either see a hypocritical flood of cruel and mean-spirited attacks directed at the group and its individual members, or just people laughing at the group’s current predicament. T-ara is being torn down for something that nobody even knows if they actually did or not. And if they did do it, then why did they do it? Not everything in life is black and white.
This was my main problem with the whole thing.
People. Are. Fucking. Nuts.
While I certainly appreciate the contrarian effort on The Prophet‘s part, nobody else wants to hear it (read the comments on allkpop), which sort of goes to the point.
Besides what we already know about the netizens trying to ruin T-ara, Hyomin has recently been catching shit for having a boyfriend (now ex), Core Contents Media‘s building has been egged by fans, and netizens are wondering if the friends of T-ara members are bitches/whores too (no, seriously).
I mean, if your mindset has gone past the point of convincing yourself that the members themselves are bitches, and has now migrated to this logic where Jiyeon is a bitch and is friends with IU, so therefore IU is a bitch because “I’ve always gotten this bitchy vibe from her“, that sort of just sums up why an article needed to be written about the witch hunt that’s going on, right?
Initially, I was going to go through all the T-ara articles on allkpop and Soompi and maybe like translate the Naver/Daum comments just to make fun of people, but you can visit literally any article on this topic and be met with this deluge of insanity that rendered my plan pointless.
If people want to try and get Kim Kwang Soo’s attention through hurting him financially or whatever else, then I’m fine with that. Anger towards Kim Kwang Soo is understandable since he’s a dick. However, the bullying of T-ara members as a result of their alleged bullying, and then calling them sluts/whores/bitches on top of that, is absurdly hypocritical and counterproductive. Of course, that’s certainly not stopping netizens from going on their witch hunt, and amusingly enough, that’s precisely why they’re the worst thing revealed by this whole controversy.