JYP Entertainment must be held accountable
JYP Entertainment must be held accountable
Since the change in management at JYP Entertainment, the standards and values that the company has always claimed to uphold have been slipping. As fans of many of their groups, we are asking for this to stop.
2019 has been a stressful year for JYP artists. Mina’s mental health issues were worrying but the company did well to take care of her and give her time off, as well as keeping Onces informed about what was happening with her status in the group and upcoming activities and schedules.
However, there have been many more incidents where the company has not shown the same care to its other groups and this is highly concerning.
On March 31st if 2019, ITZY were swarmed and harassed at the airport as they appeared to not have any security guards present. There have been multiple occasions throughout the year in which Stray Kids and GOT7 have both been mobbed by fans due to a lack of proper security. This is concerning as it seems like JYPE underestimate the popularity of their boy groups, but also the newest addition to their company. Considering how much video evidence of this matter exists, it would be expected that the company knows by now. All the artists should not have to be fearful when travelling about the possibility of being attacked. This may very well result in an Idol being injured if this continues in the future.
Earlier this year, GOT7 were scheduled to perform in Hong Kong at the height of the protests. If this had gone through, the members were easily could have been severely injured or perhaps worse as they’d received threatening messages online previously from individuals taking part in the protest. JYPE seemed to not acknowledge this as an issue until hashtags were created and trending online begging the company to cancel the Hong Kong performance. Since lack of a security already seems to be an issue, it is frightening to think about what may have happened if GOT7 were made to travel there anyway.
In April 2019, Stray Kids leader Bangchan was given a hairstyle that not everyone agreed he should have had. While his intentions were clearly pure and good, as they always are, the fallout from that controversy has lead to his reputation being slandered for over six months now. He has been insulted, ridiculed and has even been threatened with violence or even sent death threats. Chan’s relationship with JYP himself has always been shown to be good and that he is very respected at the company, as he deserves after all his years of dedication and hard work. The company has been sent many emails on the matter of the safety of his mental health and physical wellbeing being threatened by relentless online abuse yet no action appeared to be taken on it. Similarly, Lee Chaeryeong has been bullied for her looks ever since she debuted and as a young girl, comments like this could damage her for the rest of her life. This too has been ongoing yet we have no reason to believe anything is being done to protect her. The recent announcement about legal action being taken, while promising, came much too late as the damage was already done and was made in light of comments being made about Twice, while Stray Kids and Chaeryeong have endured abuse for months and GOT7 for years and seem to not be acknowledged as much. If this is how a long term, well respected Idol is treated, it begs the question about other artists under the company. This leads into a much more recent issue:
A friendship type relationship between an Idol and a fan is intentionally cultivated and from the Idol, the love is genuine as is the case with all JYP Idols, but we are aware that the company sees this as more of a marketing tool. This is understandable as it’s a business and isn’t personal, however many fans of JYP artists’ music and Idols seek solace from their Idols to escape from issues already present in their lives and the sudden removal of one of those Idols can be devastating and can severely affect their mental health, something JYP has claimed to advocate for previously.
Kim Woojin’s sudden removal from Stray Kids was shocking and still remains unexplained and it has been nearly a week. If this was planned, a better, more lengthy statement should’ve been prepared as there is surely no possible way that JYPE are not aware of how deeply loved every member of Stray Kids are by their fanbase.
A group like Stray Kids have slightly different circumstances to a member leaving another group as they were formed by a member of the group rather than the company and have always prided themselves on how close they are and that they consider one another family. Their survival show is being made redundant, as is their journey so far, by the sudden and clearly unplanned removal of a member as the slogan “nine or none” was frequently used and became an important part of the identity of the group. This raises concerns about the mental wellbeing of the other members of the group and also questions the legitimacy of how genuine the company are in their care for their artists as Woojin’s importance in the structure of the group, both in terms of performance and in terms of his emotional support for the other members, has been reiterated time and time again by each member of the group.
A post was made by the leader of SKZ at around 1:30am KST, which is inappropriate as it may have disturbed his sleep which could affect his health and it gives the impression, as it was also posted on the SKZ Fanship, that it was meant to be seen by less people as less people would be awake at that time, unlike the usual midnight release of content we have come to expect. This does not reflect on him, as it was clear that when he had his aforementioned controversy in April, he was very obviously not allowed to talk about it and it seems unlikely that a statement would not be monitored and approved by staff managers.
Kim Woojin was and is not a product. He is a person and the way JYPE have handled his leaving the group has seemed highly incompetent and unprofessional. If leaving truly was his choice, he should’ve been treated the same way Park Jimin before she left recently too, ie. a chance to be candid with fans and an opportunity to write a farewell note to fans to reassure them of his well being and his potential next steps in his career. While there could and most likely is more going on behind the scenes than we know of, as the media silence and silence from the company implies, from the perspective of us, the fans who pay for albums, merchandise and tickets which allow the company to keep moving, it seems as if this is a great injustice. Kim Woojin was always heartfelt, hardworking and kind and it seems highly suspicious to Stays that he would just seemingly disappear overnight without a word from him himself. While there isn’t hard proof, this gives the impression that it may have not been his decision to leave and fans are being lied to, or that he simply isn’t being given the respect he deserves from the company. If he had no desire to write a note, fans should have been informed and his removal from the group should have occurred before promotions for their next album began (i.e. before the release of Double Knot). The album should not have to be delayed and the members of the group forced to re-record lines and refilm any content that was made in such a short span of time before their upcoming promotions and schedule.
It is not our wish to demand for his return, as many petitions on this matter have already been created on this matter and most likely subsequently ignored, and if it were really his decision to leave the company, which seems less and less likely with every passing day, that is a decision that should be respected. Additionally, the circumstances surrounding his sudden absence may negatively affect both his reputation as well as the remaining members, therefore a detailed explanation on the matter is not what is being asked for here. We are simply asking JYP Entertainment to uphold values it has always claimed to have and has appeared to neglect this year more than any other. We are also informing the company that we are more aware of what is going on than they might think and it is time they start showing they genuinely care for the health and safety of their artists. More candour from the company would be appreciated by all fanbases too, as this is a company that has a good reputation and is respected by many people, but that respect is lessening each day. Kim Woojin deserves more respect than what he got as he was and continues to be loved by many; his fans, his members and no doubt by staff members and managers who must be saddened by his abrupt absence. He brought incredible talent and colour to the company and the silence on the matter of his sudden contract termination from the higher ups at the company has been acknowledged and will not ever be forgotten or forgiven. We have lost faith in this company and we aren’t sure if it will ever return. JYP Entertainment have always seemed to separate themselves from their competitors due to their kindness and genuine care they appeared to have for their Idols and how much they prided themselves on it. It seems more and more that they are becoming like companies from which they used to stand out.
There is a clear opportunity for the company here. Break the norms and become a more honest, open company which has better relations with its fans than any other. Live up to the name you give yourselves as a “family”. Be better than everyone else like so many people used to believe you were.
Or alternatively, ignore this entirely. Whether you do something about this or not, we will not forget what you have done this year.