Okay, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. We find a person we love, we listen to all their music, watch their MVs, read their profiles, and pray we get their photocards when we order their group’s albums. Then, suddenly, you wake up to find everyone on Twitter discussing how terrible they are because of something they’ve done. What do you do? Do you unstan? Do you pretend it never happened? Or do you address it directly?
How Bad Did They Mess Up?
There is a serious difference between an idol getting caught making out with their loved one in public and an idol groping someone. Just as there is a difference between an idol being rude to someone and an idol doing straight up blackface. There are varying degrees of “I have f*cked up.”
If your idol does something truly terrible, chances are good you probably won’t want to forgive them. It’s not worth the energy to try to justify their actions to yourself, they don’t owe you anything, and you’ll probably find someone you can love just as well within a week.
But idols are human. They make mistakes. Sometimes they say things they shouldn’t have. Sometimes they wear things they shouldn’t. When idols make these mistakes, the first thing they should do is apologize and correct their mistake. This practice is rare, though not unheard of. If the idol is a genuinely good person, they’ll make the effort to do better and learn from their pitfalls.
Take, for instance, my favorite leader: Kim Namjoon. If you look at any picture of Namjoon from debut or listen to any of his lyrics around that time (i.e. Expensive Girl), you’ll know he was not the best. But he listened to what his fans had to say and he decided to make an effort to change. BTS and BigHit made a formal apology for sexist lyrics and Namjoon himself stated in an interview he speaks with feminist professors to make his lyrics better. When idols step away from the need to protect themselves from criticism and actually open up to hear what their fans have to say, it helps them grow.
There are idols that do not take this route. I want to point primarily to Mamamoo. I was a huge fan of Mamamoo back in the day but then they had a scandal in which all four members performed blatant blackface. They apologized. Then they did it again. This doesn’t even include Hwasa’s use of the N word in a cover of Irreplaceable–that she never apologized for.
In my opinion, none of those acts are forgivable. It is not okay for me to listen to their music without me knowing they are racists. I don’t intend to subject myself to the process of trying to pretend that it is okay or that it is worth it because it’s honestly not.
So How Do You React?
For me, addressing it head on is the best way to go. Pretending like the incident never happened makes it seem like you’re running away and acting like people are overreacting for being angry makes it seem like you blindly support your faves. Understanding people’s concerns and opening yourself up to dialogue not only allows you to see what the core of the issue is, but it might even let you get through to some people who are at the point of hysterics.
It’s a complicated issue and one that doesn’t have a clear solution. The best that we can do as fans is accept that there will come a day when we find out our fave isn’t perfect and we have to be willing to adapt to that knowledge and do what we can with it.
What did you do when your fave messed up? What would your advice be for those who are struggling to deal with something their faves have done? Let me know in the comments!