Amid all the entertainment and celebration at the most recent PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE concert held by BTS in Los Angeles…
…the agency, venue, fans, and fansites ended up conflicting over the issues of safety and legality. On November 27, during the opening night of the concert, an ARMY by the name of Ashlee revealed a horrifying experience with a fansite photographer. In a series of tweets and Instagram Stories, Ashlee shared how a fansite “rudely ambushed” and “physically assaulted” her.
Today at the BTS Permission to Dance (PTD), a girl next to me and I were rudely ambushed by a fansite. She kept sticking her huge camera next to us and hitting our heads with it. They say in our seats and didn’t care when we kept telling them to get our. She then pushed me hard + pic.twitter.com/hptp6nr0He
— ash ⁷ is seeing BTS!! (@crispykooky) November 28, 2021
Ashlee warned fellow ARMYs to watch out for this particular fansite, though other K-Pop fans chimed in and commented that fansites in general have a history of violating portrait rights and causing safety risks to other fans.
Yourself. I felt like I was physically assaulted by her when she pushed me down. I also exposed her face because she most likely will come to tomorrow’s concert and if you see her REPORT HER. She will most likely do this to someone tomorrow and it was very disrespectful.
— ash ⁷ is seeing BTS!! (@crispykooky) November 28, 2021
On November 28, another ARMY by the Twitter handle @joonstriivia7 also shared an unpleasant encounter with a fansite. After getting hit in the head twice, this ARMY took action to protect herself by “[smacking] the camera with [the light stick].”
yesterday I encountered a fansite that kept hitting me in the ear with their big ass camera. A camera that WAS NOT allowed and was in fact ILLEGAL. the person next to me was her partner and she came out of no where and stood behind her to take photos.she hit me in the head twice-
— venina⁷ 💜 saw bts d1&2 (@joonstriivia7) November 28, 2021
The ARMY @joonstriivia7 criticized that fansites “don’t care about [fellow ARMYs] or the boys,” and that “they only care about their stupid cameras and photos.”
If any of you guys see a fansite PLEASE tell security. I made the mistake of not saying anything since I really wanted to enjoy the concert but I had told everyone around me about this person and they were all ready to tell security if she came back. DO NOT hesitate to yell at them to leave and to back off. They don’t care about us or the boys. they only care about their stupid cameras and photos.
— ARMY @joonstriivia7
By December 1, BigHit Music‘s official notice regarding BTS’s portrait rights went up on the Weverse app. While the ban of all recording devices, including cellphones, initially sparked a divided response from the ARMYs, most concert attendees welcomed the enforcement—especially after the two ARMYs’ encounters.
Hello. This is BigHit Music. During the concert for BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE – LA, there have been actions which violated the artists’ portraiture rights and copyrights. All actions that violate BigHit Music and the artists’ portraiture rights and other copyrights are prohibited, such as taking photographs and videos, voice recordings and live streaming, etc.
Other than [cellphones], other filming or recording devices are strictly not allowed to be brought in on site. In the case of violations of these rules, including filming on your phones, you may be asked to delete the footage and be forced to leave. Hence, we ask for everyone’s cooperation.
In the future, we will do our best to take care of our artists’ portraiture and copyrights.
— BigHit Music
Following the agency announcement, Korean BTS fansites began voicing their own concerns about their exposure to “unfiltered hate and racism” at these concerts. On December 2, fansite @SeptemberJK97 tweeted a lengthy statement about how some concert attendees have been “hunting down” and “bullying” the fansites.
인간 사냥 재미있으십니까? pic.twitter.com/XtmJIqOgzG
— 셉템버 (@SeptemberJK97) December 2, 2021
Caption: Having Fun Hunting Down Fellow Humans?
Post: Please stop the unreasonable physical attacks happening at BTS’s concert venue! Translation/information accounts, BigHit supporters, and Korean American fans are spreading groundless rumors that put us fansites in an extremely negative light…
Some local fans at the Los Angeles PERMISSION TO DANCE concert have been gossiping among themselves whenever someone who looks Korean/Chinese/Japanese passes by in the audience. Some have even engaged in physical attacks. Some of us are being bullied in groups and getting threatened to be photographed or videographed to have our identities be shared on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
By no means am I saying that I’ve been a perfect, faultless fansite. But I do want to ask if what’s happening to us seems reasonable. What have the fansites done so wrong to deserve this kind of treatment?
— Excerpt from @SeptemberJK97’s Tweet
By December 5, following the wrap of all BTS concerts in the United States, multiple BTS fansites have announced their shutdowns. Another fansite @blacknwhite_km claimed that it is “devastating [for fansites] to be seen in such a negative way,” when they, too, are “at the concert to support” the artist.
— BLACK N WHITE (@blacknwhite_km) December 5, 2021
Hello, I decided to post this because I really wanted to get this off my chest. Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to attend any in-person events in the past two years. So when I landed in the United States, I had high hopes about the BTS concert. But the past few days have been nothing but devastating for me both physically and mentally.
Like everyone else at the concert, I attended to have fun. It felt good to see the members and the stage again after years, so I was having a good time. But I cannot get over how some fans have become so hostile and malicious toward the fansites. I cannot overlook the fact that the online community is framing us as the villains…
As a fansite, all I ever want to do at concerts is capture the moments and share them with fellow ARMYs. But the internet now considers us to be extremely negative. Some of us have even been physically attacked. I’m exhausted. And I need time to pull myself together. Until then, I will not be uploading anything anymore.
— Fansite @blacknwhite_km
Following @blacknwhite_km’s hiatus announcement, some of the other big name fansites—like @jiminiful (with 370K+ followers) and @V_Pintor__ (with 123K+ followers)—have also decided that they need time away “to cope” after everything that happened overseas. One fansite, @encounter1995_, made sure to emphasize that fansites are not “sasaengs,” pleading with ARMYs to “stop attacking and cyber bullying” them.
I’ve been struggling with what went down over the past few days. After uploading the HD pictures from the LA concerts, I’m going to step away and take some time to cope. And I appreciate all the supportive and encouraging words that came through since what happened. I will be available via DM to answer any questions about the birthday event.
— Fansite @V_Pintor__
Meanwhile, ARMYs are defending themselves against the allegations made by the fansites. Referring to the four nights of BTS’s concert as a “diversity fest,” ARMYs claimed that fansites are “feeling targeted” by being “fought off so actively.”
Fansites are feeling targetted in a way they have never been before in the history of fansite culture. This is a first for ARMY too. We have never fought them off so actively before. Do not believe their sob stories. They are lying. The LA concerts are a diversity fest.
— Jin Cult Day (@n0tGodot) December 2, 2021
Additionally, fans are discussing the “cultural differences” between the US and South Korea to explain why fansites have become so controversial, especially at concerts outside Korea. One ARMY pointed out that while overlooking fansites may pass as a typical idol-supporting culture in Korea, it is not “in the US, where any random person could bring in a gun instead of a camera and cause a tragedy.”
Fansites need to understand that they aren’t respecting us armys by disregarding the rules of not sneaking in sht into big events like concerts. This country has a big and bloody history of deadly mass public shootings, we have a right to be hyper vigilant in situations like this
— ꪀꪮꪶꪗ⁷진-D (@nonoly_i) December 5, 2021
Most international fans remain firmly convinced that fansites are “security risks,” not only to the fellow fans in the audience but also to the artists on stage—and continue to reiterate that rules must be respected, ARMY or not.
If you can sneak in a camera, you can sneak in a weapon.. IDC IDC it's so dangerous that they are even able to achieve this. This creates a safety risk for all involved- other army, staff and ESPECIALLY BTS. Fansites are a security risk.. y'all need to start treating them as such
— Joy⁷🇿🇼💜 (@BTSareHumans) December 5, 2021
Read more about fansites here.