ZB1 member Kim Jiwoong is under immense fire right now, as videos have spread that allegedly show him sighing as a fancall starts, then muttering “fuck” to himself when he thinks he’s disconnected with a fan. It’s going viral to say the least, with almost 100k retweets on these tweets at the time, and being on all the major portals.
시작하자마자 한숨쉬고 빠혐하고;; 왜 빠수니가 오억주고 눈치 살살봐가면서 대화해야되나요..? 이상한 멘트 챌린지 시킨거 아니고 내 잘못아니고 김지웅잘못100프로고 원인같은거 없어요 그냥 제가 잘못걸린거겠죠 .. 속상하네요 pic.twitter.com/68zp0b6Wpl— .. (@81930287a) February 2, 2024
This is real as hell, I’m not gonna lie. Completely fucking stupid to do because it is literally his job to pretend he enjoys it, like every other idol does, but also very relatable (allegedly).
Like I cannot imagine remotely enjoying being lined up like a factory animal and being made to talk into a camera as fans get passed through like an assembly line*.
*To each their own, but that’s why as somebody who buys way too much K-pop shit and gets a lot of fancall chances, I simply … decline it. I don’t want to bother them, I just pay the money for the shit I want to support and move along (the music! collecting!).
Look, I’m not necessarily defending what he did (allegedly), as it’s obviously just part of the gig he signed up for, but I do … empathize, I guess. He definitely should’ve been smarter, but that shit just looks like my literal anxiety-filled nightmare.
While we’re on this topic, it’s been interesting to see the recent discourse on fan culture. We’ve recently had a rash of fans overstepping boundaries during interactions with idols, as well as criticism for idols like MIRAE‘s Jang Yubin for getting caught selling a fan’s gift or even aespa‘s Ningning not remembering a fan after 12 video calls.
When it comes to this stuff in general, I’m basically of two minds. On one hand, it’s absolutely smart of the idol and good business practice to act a certain way or do the little things since fans are ultimately consumers and it’s their job to basically develop creepy parasocial relationships with them. Not to bring her into this, but IVE‘s Wonyoung is who I think about nowadays when it comes to managing one’s image and being a pro’s pro, so to speak, as JYP himself has said. On the other hand … I mean, stepping back from the culture these norms exist in, I think fans need to be normal about this shit as well. They need to get away from this entitlement that because you indirectly or directly give somebody money, you own these idols or are their personal friends or that they owe you special treatment.
Like they gave them the clothes and they’re poor, so it’s theirs and let them do what they want. They bought a bunch of stuff so they expect to be greeted like a friend? Come on, man. Yeah, idols sell the parasocial shit as well, but it doesn’t mean fans need to become consumed by it. Basically, while it’s smart to pander to fans in those situations, I don’t think it’s owed or should be expected. At some point, the kind of attitude on display where fans think they own a part of idols because they spent money becomes not much different than other arrangements in that vein that people loathe. It’s conceptually rather bizarre to begin with, so while fans can vote with their wallets however they like, I guess I just don’t see the reason to ruin somebody’s reputation or career over it.
WAKEONE is now claiming he didn’t do anything and are investigating by hiring a digital forensics team.
The following day, WAKEONE Entertainment responded by stating, “After checking with [Kim Ji Woong] himself, [the claim] is not true. We also checked with the employee and translator that were present at the scene.”
The agency went on to declare, “For the sake of objective accuracy, WAKEONE will very clearly and definitively ascertain the truth by using various methods including digital media forensics, and we will protect our artist.”
If he didn’t do it then he didn’t do it, but if he did, seems like an apology would be best or this could actually blow up into something even bigger.