Here’s a hot topic among BTS Army: fan sites.
There has been a high level of vitriol spewed on social media against fan sites during the recent tour stops and it has caused an equally high level of debate.
I am here in support of fan sites (most of them, anyway.)
First, let me state, that I am opposed to saesangs – overly zealous fans who intrude upon our idols’ private schedules and unofficial appearances. These fans are known to be obsessive by boarding the same airline flights, attempting entry to hotel rooms and most likely are already on the radar of Big Hit Entertainment (if not black-listed). These are not the type of fan sites I am referring to. I do not support the intrusive tactics and invasions on Bangtan’s privacy by these individuals.
The fan sites I do support have been a part of the k-pop culture from the beginning of the genre and are largely credited for filling the gap where officially provided photos and videos don’t meet the voracious appetites of fans. In the history of k-pop, fan sites are credited with building enthusiasm and promoting groups at a grass roots level. It is very much part of the industry culture across Asia. If you are a BTS Army and do not have at least one fan site photo on your phone, it would be surprising. Some of the most memorable and beautifully candid photos are by talented fan site photographers. The BTS members are aware of their most devoted fan sites and many have been supporting them since debut.
During the latest stops of the LY: Speak Yourself Tour, there has been encouragement to actively destroy “all fan site cameras” on site and without apology. These instructions are relayed with the theme that (the fan sites) deserve to have their property destroyed and humiliation heaped upon them – regardless of whether they have committed any transgression. This has happened at every U.S. stop, as well as the Good Morning America performance, and (from what I read) in Sao Paolo, Brazil. There has also been posts that “BTS doesn’t want” or “BTS doesn’t like” certain fan sites. We don’t know any of that to be the case. They have never stated anything to verify these comments, so how does one social media post “know” the truth of the matter?
I do not – and I am positive that BTS does not – condone violence in any form. Destruction of personal property falls into that category. We are not the MPs of BTS Army who decide when, where and what to enforce. If specific fan sites are harmful to our idols, then I trust Big Hit to ably handle the matter, and let us know that they have done so. They have not stated that fan sites – as a whole body – are not allowed. And, they have not asked Army to enforce any rules on their behalf.
Personally, I treasure the photos taken from my favorite fan sites. I know what they do to make their world-wide travel happen, and the work behind the scenes. I have met and spoken to many of them – and guess what? They are not insane, crazy people who have no lives. They are fans like you and me who are devoted to their craft, and to the idols that they love to photograph. The threats against them are frightening and unfounded. Are professional cameras allowed in the concert venues? No – it is so stated on our admission tickets. Do these fan sites find ways to bring in their cameras? Yes, they do. Is it against the law? Is it my business to enforce? No. Would I ask someone to lower their camera if it was in any way impeding my enjoyment of the concert? Of course. Politely. Personally, I have more issues with fans hitting me on the head with their Army Bombs, or resting their camera phone on my head – which are rare situations, but for me, worse than someone with a camera standing next to me.
I’m puzzled why some believe that fan sites can only be “bad.” Of course, there are some that should be tempered or black-listed at Big Hit’s direction. There are also amazing fan sites with devoted, hard-working photographers and artists. They support themselves with their fan activities, but they also raise funds for birthday projects, billboards and charity donations.
After seeing all the discussion, I have formed my own personal list of fan sites that I have come to trust and that I patronize with my views, retweets and occasional slogan or photo book purchase. Why? Because it all comes down to loving BTS and sharing in the joy of their performances. So, yes, I do support some fan sites. It is my point-of-view that as BTS Army, we should all form our own opinions on fan sites to support, not become judge and jury on our fellow fans, and never condone violence against another person.