Yesterday (10th Jan), a special fanmeeting was held for B1A4 fans as the K-Pop idol boy group was in town. B1A4 (비원에이포) is a South Korean group under the management of WM Entertainment. The group debuted in 2011 with the single “O.K” after their first introduction to the public through a webtoon. They have since released 2 studio albums, 5 EPs, and various singles in South Korea.

The B1A4 “Let’s Fly” fanmeeting was presented by Acer Malaysia and TGM Events.

B1A4

According to TGM Events’ Facebook page:

TGM Events is a global concert production house headquartered in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Los Angeles, CA. The team behind this production house is as diverse as their locations with an international team that hails from Dallas, Texas to Manila, Philippines.

Tickets for the were going from between RM199 – RM799. The RM799 ticket, which was an “Acer VVIP Package”, included a hi-touch and free Acer liquid jade smartphone and an opportunity to win a goodnight call from B1A4 – which was innocent enough. However, the innocence soon “unravelled” during the event itself, held at KL Live in Kuala Lumpur.

Media outlet Sukan Star TV’s Facebook page uploaded a 3 minute odd video titled, “Perempuan melayu dicabul atas pentas oleh mat kpop semalam”, suggesting that Malay girls were “molested” on stage by the idols. With a title like that, it quickly gained traction and by now, it has gone viral. In 9 hours, the video was viewed more than a million times and counting.

In case you missed it, here:

 

As seen in the video above, some of the B1A4 members were seen hugging and kissing a few tudung-clad Malay girls on stage. There’s even a shot of one B1A4 member hugging a girl from behind but here’s the thing though, she hugged him again after that voluntarily.

How did the fans end up on stage with the idols, you ask? According to one of our team members who was present at the fan meeting, the event people organised a game which required fans to leave questions on a memo board. After which, the B1A4 members themselves picked a question at random each and the fans who wrote the questions will get to go up on stage. Which meant that at that point, even the organisers had no idea which fan, tudung-clad or not, will get to go on stage.

B1A4 BARO KL Live Malaysia

Having said that, despite the obvious willingness of the tudung-clad B1A4 fans (as documented), both the group and the K-Pop genre has come under fire since the controversial video emerged. Netizens are far from pleased. In fact, they’re raging mad, throwing in comments reflecting anger and shame.

One user said, “I can’t even bear to watch this video till the end. Such a pity to watch the piece of clothing in which is meant to protect one’s decency molested. In my opinion, maybe the piece of clothing is worth more than the wearer. As a Muslim, I feel so insulted watching this video.” Another commented, “I blame the girls themselves. Where do you put your pride as a Muslim girl.”

Our very own Minister of Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin also took to Twitter to say:

Translation:

A lot is being said about K-Pop. I hope Malaysian girls will return to men who are tall, dark, & handsome. Not pale, skinny, & pretty. Those aren’t real men.

So really, who’s to blame here?

B1A4 members Jinyoung, CNU, Sandeul, Baro, and Gongchan, who have only been to Malaysia a handful of times to date (one of which was for the 27th Golden Disk Awards, held in Sepang) for their fan service? Was it the fault of B1A4’s Korean manager for not properly briefing the idols prior to the event on the different sets of religious beliefs in Malaysia? Or the organisers for planning games that would somewhat encourage that kind of contact between the idols and their fans on stage?

You decide.

UPDATE (9:04pm, 11th Jan):

Organiser TGM Events has released an official statement via their Facebook page which spoke volumes for their sense of responsibility and we applaud them for addressing the issue.

Read it here:

[OFFICIAL ORGANIZER STATEMENT]

RE: B1A4 SPECIAL FANMEETING IN KUALA LUMPUR

We have been made aware of the attention that certain parts of the programme of the aforementioned event have been getting from certain media.

As an events organizer, we feel that it is our responsibility to clarify in explanation on the events that occurred out of respect to B1A4, their management and most of all, the BANAs who are the fans of B1A4.

1. Fans were selected at random, based on questions that they posted on a message board with only their first name. The artist, artist management and organizer did not know who the selected fans were until they were brought on stage.

2. It is not part of standard protocol that KPOP artists would get up close and personal with fans. However, as this was a specialized fan meeting event, the programme was tailored towards fan engagement and interactivity. Before the event in question took place, the MC instructed the fans to not touch or get too close to the members of the group. Upon revealing of the parody clip to be acted out,the group members asked and clarified with the selected fans if they were uncomfortable with the activity. However, the fans gave consent on stage, in front of a live audience.

3. As a company run primarily by women, we do not and never will condone molestation or sexual harassment as alleged by the media outlet. The terminology used was taken out of context and it is extremely disappointing to us to witness an act of such irresponsible journalism.

4. We do not discriminate against any fan based on their race and religion. Therefore, our programmes are tailored to the preferences of our general target audience. It is not within our authority or jurisdiction to restrict fans from activties that they willingly partake in.

5. We do not condone online harassment. Therefore, we absolutely will not release any information on the fans involved. We believe in the protection of their privacy and their physical and psychological wellbeing.

We apologize in all sincerity for the problems caused to the artist and their fans caused by these reports. In future events, we will take into consideration the cultural and religious implications of the interaction between fans and artists.

More pictures from B1A4’s fanmeeting event here.