Oh, NO! Please, say it isn't so! This and other protective phrases are usually the first reaction of hardcore fans when their celebrity idol finds themselves in a scandal.
In recent news out of the South Korean world of entertainment, popular singer Kim Hyun Joong has been accused of physical abuse of a long time girlfriend.
In the fandom world, our celebrities are elevated to status of hero, an almost demigod existence. Their every action carefully followed as fans devour any tidbit of information that can be unearthed. Often, especially in the entertainment industry, these idols take a tumble off of their pedestal. The person that they had invested their admiration in did something to cause deep disappointment in the heart of their fans. Like a puff of smoke in a magic act gone bad, the image of their idol dissolves into thin air right before their eyes. Lost, gone, poof –
The initial response from Trish, 32, California, USA was, “I feel very shocked to hear the news.
Although the details aren't clear I hope the allegations are not true and that it is a misunderstanding.”
Others hold out judgment until all the facts are on the table.
Jenny, 34, Minnesota, USA “I don't really trust articles about Kpop stars (many turn out to be
overblown or completely false) so I'd have to hear more of the story before making judgment on him.”
Sean, 28, California, USA (our only male responder) also had thoughts along the same line. “I don't
really know whether to believe it or not. Stories like this always have a second and 3rd side and the
truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.”
So far, allegations are mostly one-sided. The day after news hit, Kim Hyun Joong's agency, KeyEast Entertainment, responded by acknowledging there was a physical fight between the two, but that the truth is being exaggerated. They have since claimed it was an unfortunate one-time occurence. He admitted to hitting her and expressed remorse of his assault.
His agency further announced that he will continue with his current tour obligations and focus on the charges when he is finished. However, Chinese promoters for the drama, 'Generation of Youth', are unsure how to continue when faced with the assault scandal.
Either way, his image is going to suffer greatly. At this point, it is hard to tell how or if he will be able to recover in the eyes of his fans.
Anna, 25, Seoul, South Korea replied, “I feel really sad. If it turns out to be true, then I will have a hard
time watching anything with what was one of my favorite actors. If it turns out to be a hoax, that's a lot
of bad publicity and could end his career unfairly. Either way, it's no good, it's sad.”
Elise, 15, California, USA is both sad and conflicted. “I am sad. Of course I would want him to be punished
if he did that, but I wish people wouldn't talk about it. After idolizing him for so long, hearing about it makes
me feel conflicted. Is it bad if I still like him as a performer? He was one of the first actors to make me love Korean Dramas & Kpop. I don't know. I'm just really sad.”
Until the dust settles on this one, I think his fans are going
to remain conflicted as to where their fan status will land.
Angel, 48, Delaware, USA shares, “Now you know I love this man. I mean, past tense. I am horrified by
this news. I realize he is also human, and the pressures the Koreans put on themselves and everyone
around them is enough to drive anyone over the edge, but I don't think ANY excuse is acceptable. I
might understand the pressure cooker, it's an explanation not an excuse. I'm sad, a little crushed and heartbroken. I like my idols to be worthy of idolizing over. He is no longer worth that for me.”
She continues as she seems to try to hold on to hope.
“Actually, if there was any doubt about his accountability, I think I would be inclined to support him until
he was proven guilty. But it doesn't look that way. But girl, he was so beautiful *sniff* I'm so sad!”
As countless hopefuls have dreams of being in the spotlight, little thought is usually given to the changes that will happen in their lives. So, dreamers, take note... As you gain fame, bit by bit, you give your privacy away in exchange for becoming known in the hearts and lives of your fans. So your rise to fame comes with this price tag. Know that fans are going to be watching and scrutinizing your every move. Your fandom hangs by the string you create with your talent and actions both in and out of the spotlight.
“How could he do that?”, questioned Kerliza, 25, Florida, USA. “He being a celebrity knows eyes are
on him at all times and the majority of his fans are females and also what kind of things are going
through his mind when he thinks its okay to hit her?”
Kim, 58, Australia reflected on what might have caused this, “Well nothing really surprises me at my
age...but my first thoughts when I read this was that maybe roid rage might be a factor. He beefed up
very quickly for Inspiring Generation.”
Wherever your opinion and response lies to this and other scandals, the overall effect on us, as fans, is sadness. Our fantasy world of fandom takes a hit and it is almost a sense of mourning we enter into when our idols fall. Kim continues as she sums up perhaps a lot of our feelings.
“I remember when the Beatles took drugs I felt like they weren't the same
people I imagined them to be. It's part of the disillusionment of growing up
I think. One's idols are just ordinary people with flaws....not the gods we
thought they were.”
How do you feel when one of your celebrity’s actions fail their fans?
by Melodie Everson
Blossom Petal Productions and HUGE Hallyu fan
Founder of: To Hallyu, with Love
contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Written August 25, 2014. Updates added.