June 13, 2016


Why Are Some K-Pop Stars Deleting Their Posts About Orlando?

YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment
YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment

Following the harrowing hate crime this past weekend in Orlando, Fla. where 50 people were shot to death in a gay nightclub—making it the deadliest attack in American history since September 11, 2001—a handful of K-pop stars showed their support on social media. It isn't the first time the K-pop scene has shown support on social media, as many stars did when Paris was attacked by terrorists in November 2015. The only difference here is that some stars have begun deleting their well wishes and they all seem to have one correlation: gay iconography.

It's important to note that gay rights more or less do not exist in the still culturally conservative South Korea, with its LGBTQ citizens facing many legal challenges and discrimination in the country. With that, there are very, very few out celebrities, none officially out in the K-pop scene, with LGBTQ awareness coming to the mainstream only very recently thanks to events like the public coming out of Hong Seokcheon, who was forced out of the entertainment industry in 2000 and has only recently been embraced back. For a recent example, this weekend saw 50,000 people, a record number, march in Seoul's pride parade, though it was met with hundreds of protestors on the sidelines.

On Sunday, June 12, G-Dragon of K-pop phenoms BIGBANG initially shared a video post featuring a rainbow heart and the caption "#prayfororlando" that was viewed at least 40,000 times until it was deleted. See a screen shot below:

Yet the post was later deleted and new photos were posted including one of a journal showcasing the words "HATE LESS" written inside and G-Dragon captioning the post with "MORE LOVE." It could have been a nod to the LGBTQ community who were the victims of the aforementioned hate crime, but it also could have been a general statement for love.

Meanwhile Jokwon, who is a member of vocal quartet 2AM, shared a photo of a rainbow flag that was also captioned with the hashtag "#prayfororlando." See a screen shot:

Jokwon's post was also taken down and later replaced with a black-and-white photo that read "MORE LOVE."

The Korea Herald also notes that Yubin of Wonder Girls shared a rainbow heart on Instagram and captioned it with "#prayfororlando" only to also take it down. 

Other celebrities have shared their sentiments with rapper Jay Park, Peniel of boy band BToB, Amber of girl group f(x), and Brian of rock-pop outfit Fly to the Sky all sharing their grief on different platforms:

The noticeable difference between these posts and the deleted ones is that there is no iconography featuring rainbows, which are symbolic of the gay community. The closest mention we get to a LGBTQ-positive statement came from Brian's hashtag, "#godlovesusall." 

Fuse has reached out to representatives of G-Dragon, Jo Kwon and Yubin for comment on the deleted posts.