If you're a Kpop fan, you know the story. Public Enemy #1 this week has been Kemy from the rookie group, A.Kor, who had the gall to criticize Park Bom from 2ne1, with a highly controversial diss track. You can find the lyrics here. But here's a small excerpt (translated in English):
"Your bloated, swollen face. You’re not satisfied no matter what you put in it. You’re going to become an old person next to an ugly child."
"How do you have time to go to Japan? Hurry and come back, come back home. No one else can be a smuggling-dol without you, can’t nobody."
Yikes. Pretty ugly stuff here.
But what may be just as ugly, and somehow maybe uglier, has been the fan backlash against Kemy, an 18-year-old rookie idol. Fans have threatened to beat her up, burn her, kill her. Here are some tweets:
"This Kemy girl who is dissing Park Bom is seriously seeking her own funeral.. Bye b*tch!!"
"Kemy i hope you die. We blackjacks will seriously burn you. I swear to God there will be time you'll die."
"Kemy, I just you to know that I will fucking cut you into pieces and burn you as well. Fame whore."
"Dear Kemy, don't act like you don't know everything! me and other fandom wants to kill you! so go and hide! ./."
Make no mistake, this is a sad story.
It's sad because Park Bom has been getting intense media scrutiny over charges that were dropped years ago, and this diss only perpetuates that story. It's sad because Kpop groups train years before their debuts, and A.Kor's future is now uncertain. It's sad because fans who have gathered to protect their favorite idol have, as the week has progressed, turned their defense into unhinged hatred.
There is no victory here in careers possibly ending; there is no justice, or as some fans have said, karma, for bulldozing a young girl with tens of thousands of hateful messages and threats. These tweets and gleeful message board comments resemble school yard taunts and bullying, justified by a righteous blur of fan hysteria. How anyone can call the backlash proportional to the crime is questionable. There is no victory here because this incident truly shows the ugliest sides of Kpop. And that's why it's sad, so sad.
So what can we learn from this controversy? To not mess with Blackjacks? That some idols are untouchable? That, to quote a tweet, "If you're old enough to talk shit, you're old enough to get your ass kicked?"
It must be true that many large fandoms would react in much the same way as the Blackjacks. It's also true that Kemy, and her agency, should have seen this reaction coming. It can also be at least guessed that out of all the negative comments made against her, a diss by a rookie rapper she's never heard of would only hurt Park Bom so much.
This sad story is about proportions and crossing invisible lines of civility and dignity. Maybe the lesson here is to realize those lines exist, with others, with ourselves. Or maybe the lesson could be that instead of spreading more venom, no matter the justification, people can take a moment, count to ten, and then just breathe.
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.