NCT member Yuta has found himself under intense criticism recently after he declared on a broadcast that he was getting closer with YouTuber Rheekun. Said person is controversial in general for misogynistic content (also reports that he used Jonghyun/Sulli for clickbait), but is especially offensive to Koreans due to anti-Korean sentiments and views that could be considered Japanese nationalist.
(Note: I’m not sure what from him is trolling or not, but it does seem like he’s Korean himself and still holds these views, making it a different level of shitty.)
The broadcast has since been deleted after the backlash, but some receipts on it and the YouTuber can be found at Pann Choa.
The issue is obviously extremely sensitive with the Korean public because of the history of Japanese invasion and colonization of Korea, along with denials/revisionism that continues to this day. With Yuta being Japanese, he was already on thin ice with the public in terms of getting the benefit of the doubt, and if this goes mainstream it will likely be the first time most of the Korean general public hear about him, so it wouldn’t just go away and it probably would endanger his future in the Korean entertainment industry.
One thing I’m seeing is people asking why it’s such a big deal if Yuta himself never endorsed said beliefs. That’s true, and I think that’s probably the most one can defend him, at least in the sense that you’d still need to be demanding an explanation and hoping for the best. However, being a Japanese idol in a Korean group who revealed that he is close with an anti-Korean YouTuber is ample justification for Koreans to be angry and at least ask for feedback. Hard to blame those from thinking the worst, honestly. And reasonable people should really not have a hard time understanding the seriousness of this issue and why it has already upset so many.
I’m not certain how much coverage this issue is getting at this moment, but regardless, SM Entertainment should probably address things sooner than later.