1. E.L.Fs Against Sungmin (Super Junior)
When Super Junior decided to come out of their two year long hiatus since their last special album released 2015, fans looked forward to everything but member Sungmin‘s return. June of 2017, E.L.Fs stated they will no longer support Sungmin’s promotion with the group and requested that he be removed from the group, or at least from the upcoming activities.
According to the fans, Sungmin failed to communicate with his fans regarding his dating and wedding announcements since 2014. When the fans remained devastated by hearing of his relationship with a musical star Kim Sa Eun through the news, while other members tried to console the fans, Sungmin himself did not make any statements explaining his position. Then shortly after the dating scandal, his wedding plans were revealed, again driving the fans into complete confusion, especially because the scheduled wedding date fell in the middle of the group’s Japan promotions and concerts. Against the persuasion of the agency, members, and fans, Sungmin pushed for his wedding to happen on the planned date.
While E.L.Fs remained patient with the star to interact with his fans to help them understand his decisions, Sungmin continued to ignore the fans’ existence and acted independently. When he banned the keywords “Korean fan” on his blog, Korean E.L.Fs grew outrageous and decided to boycott the idol.
Once the petition to remove Sungmin from the group received a significant amount of support to bring the agency’s attention to it, the sub-label managing Super Junior, SJ Label, announced its decision to listen to the fans’ feedback regarding the group’s direction.
Sungmin himself also acknowledged his past actions and shared his decision to remain idle from the group while it promotes the new album.
I should have realized my position is unlike any average man’s, as I have been a fan-supported idol for the past decade. I have ignored this fact as I was preparing for my wedding. I understand I should have been a lot more considerate and honest, through the difficult times. This lack of communication must have hurt a lot of my fans and created an irreversible sense of betrayal based on misunderstandings and rumors. I wish the best for Super Junior’s upcoming new album, so I have decided not to participate in the promotions. As I want the group to remain highly beloved, it would not be right for me to promote as a part of the group when there is a lot of controversy surrounding me.
2. iKONICs Against YG Entertainment
Also in 2017, iKONICs decided to boycott not the boy group iKON itself, but the managing agency YG Entertainment. Fans decided to turn their backs against the agency because “YG Entertainment has been irresponsible in managing the group iKON, by overbooking the schedules without considering the members’ conditions, lacking domestic promotions, reversing promotion plans, being unresponsive to style change feedback, and more.”
Since the boy group’s debut in 2015, iKONICs have been trying to communicate with YG Entertainment for a better treatment of iKON members. When the agency remained negligent, fans sent a 18-page request via mail, email, fax, and social media, hoping for an in-depth communication with the agency about the future of the group. The fanclub decided to boycott the agency all together when the head, Yang Hyun Suk, responded with a simple “No need to worry about IKON! Hang in there for September and October. Until we will laugh with joy.”
To this, iKONICs claimed in an official statement of boycotting the agency:
“iKONICs couldn’t help but scoff at the agency’s response. Fans worked for a month on that request document. Yet Yang Hyun Suk called it “no need”. Fans are supposed to wait until come September and October, when the members have to perform twice a day for the Japan tour schedules. Where is the joy in that? The agency even made a mistake of writing iKON as IKON. This sad excuse of a response, which was deleted two hours later, has enraged the fans. No other response was received until August.
iKONICs tried to resolve the matter peacefully, in hopes of maintaining a good relationship with the agency for the members, but the agency refused to work together. Therefore, the fans will boycott all YG Entertainment goods, including the “iKON SUMMERTIME SEASON 2 in Bali” DVD to be released August 23rd.
— iKONIC Fanclub
Since then YG Entertainment responded through a press, “iKON released a single album in May and the team is always in production for the next. Fans must have some misunderstanding. iKON members are also individually appearing on TV programs, trying to create more opportunities to be seen in front of their fans.”
During an interview, Bobby also responded to the group’s fans boycotting the agency.
I believe it is a sign of our fans thirsting for us. It is our fault that we are not actively promoting, because we are not quite good enough yet. So we are working harder to do better.
3. Club H.O.T Against Moon Hee Jun (H.O.T)
When Club H.O.T, which has been supportive of all H.O.T activities for the past 20 years, declared a boycott against the group member Moon Hee Jun, it shocked the rest of the K-Pop world. Because the group and its fanclub come with such a long and loyal history, this boycott immediately became the center of attention.
May of 2017, Club H.O.T started a petition to withdraw all support for Moon Hee Jun, not because he got married, but because he has belittled the fans, lied to the public, held subpar concerts, spoke of other members and the group to his advantage, and sold products while trying to evade sales taxes.
The fanclub stated that, “While Moon Hee Jun and the club stuck together to get through some of his darkest times he faced post debut, once he completed his military duty and became slightly more favorable to the public eye, he grew impolite and inappropriate.”
Moon Hee Joon planned and held an impulsive concert when he was not ready and busy preparing for the wedding. He also sold goods by accepting cash purchases only, which is illegal and possibly his scheme to evade sales taxes. Moon Hee Jun continued to mention Kangta and Jang Woo Hyuk in in appropriate ways. He also used the idea of the group’s reunion to promote his own TV program, which is unacceptable for Club H.O.T.
— Club H.O.T Fanclub
To this, Moon Hee Jun quickly responded by admitting he is at fault and apologizing for his actions.
Regardless of what actually happened, if my fans felt that I have changed, then it is absolutely my fault and flaw. When I was rock bottom, I had my fans hold me up and support me. Without my fans, I would not be here. While for the past 20 years, I tried my best to think in the fans’ shoes and worked hard to please them, it is also true that I am only human who is also maturing and learning through mistakes… I apologize for my shortcomings. I’m also sorry that I cannot deliver this apology in person. With time, I will work my way back to the fans, like the fans stayed by my side in the past. No matter how long it takes, I shall repay my fans for all the love and support they have given me. I’m sorry and thank you.
— Moon Hee Jun
It seemed by February of 2018, with the reunion of all five members of H.O.T made possible on Infinite Challenge, Moon Hee Jun was better received by the fans who had turned their backs.
4. Yellowkies Against Ko Ji Yong (Former Sechs Kies)
Sechs Kies disbanded in 2000 and broke thousands of fan hearts. So when the group reunited on Infinite Challenge in 2016, Yellowkies (originally D.S.Fs) were thrilled. Member Ko Ji Yong, however, chose not to be a part of the reunited group because he wished to focus on his business and the fans, loyal for decades, understood and supported the former member’s decision.
The boycott became fierce almost two years later, in 2018, when the fans officially filed a request with YG Entertainment to remove Ko Ji Yong from the list of member names that come up under Sechs Kies on Korean search engines. When the agency accepted the request and immediately removed the member, other fans and netizens became further interested in what caused the boycott.
In July of 2016, shortly after the reunion took place, fans grew suspicious of Adetive Company, where Ko Ji Yong works, using the group’s reputation and the size of its fanclub for the company’s viral marketing aspects.
At first, the fanclub open-mindedly helped Adetive Company and Ko Ji Yong gather people for the company’s event. Fans promoted the event on social media and blogs, encouraging fellow fans to participate if possible. Unfortunately, at the event site, fans were told “to pretend like they are average citizens and not Sechs Kies fans.” The fanclub claimed that all of the photos taken at this event were used to credit the company, as if the company had independently gathered such a large audience for the event.
Ko Ji Yong even asked the fans to come prepared for pictures, stating he “woud like to take pictures with the fans.” Yet, in the pictures where the fans posed with the former member while holding a placard, the fans’ faces and the signage were all blurred out.
By 2017, the fanclub made a formal request to the company to stop using Sechs Kies and fans for the company’s marketing and business purposes. The company deleted all posts related to Sechs Kies and Ko Ji Yong removed the group’s name from his profile. The fanclub of 16-years history shut down as the admins stepped down for helping the company in the first place.
Yet controversy continued as the fanclub argued that Ko Ji Yong’s businesses have not stopped using “Sechs Kies” for viral marketing. Yellowkies claimed that Ko Ji Yong’s own company has been widely promoted and profited tremendously in China by hashtagging Sechs Kies on social media platforms.
After removing him from the members’ list, it seems the fans have completely turned against the former member.