South Korea’s biggest boy band and pop culture icon BTS and their company Hybe (formerly called BigHit) have been under the scanner since they announced the tracklist for their new album. Proof. This is an anthology album consisting of previously released tracks from BTS’s debut. Among the multiple songs, Bobby Jeong worked on Filtered of CD2.
The song, released in 2020, is also BTS Jimin’s solo song and was produced by Swedish producer Tom Viklund, Bang Si-Hyuk (co-founder and manager of Hybe), Bobby Jeong and Fluorescence boy. However, fans are upset that BTS decided to include the song and it sparked huge outrage among the group’s fans asking why they are collaborating with an offender on trial.
Fans are wondering if the song from someone with a criminal record for sex offenses should be included in the new album even though it was produced before the incident came to light.
Park Juwon, Korean entertainment journalist, tweeted, “Why are BTS working with sex criminal musician Jung Bobby who was tried for physical assault and illegal shooting of molka on women?” Meanwhile, some users said including his tracks “is no different than condoning and condoning Bobby Jeong’s crimes.”
The criticism intensified amid news that all seven BTS members picked the songs themselves. A user from the Korean Community Blog posted a screenshot of other tracks by Bobby Jeong, and users criticized BTS Jimin and Hybe for the mistake.
Another user commented on the post, “It’s very disappointing to put a song written by someone with such a problem. [under criminal trial] in the best album… The song Filtered wasn’t entirely written and composed by Bobby Jeong, but some of it is credited anyway, so doesn’t that help in the end? If you didn’t know, you’d just pass by, but now that you know, I think it’s something you can’t walk through with peace of mind.
A report indicates that Hybe presented a very vague position on the matter. “There is no official position from our agency regarding the controversial composer. We will discuss the songs on the album internally,” Hybe said as quoted by Ten Asia.
Bobby Jeong controversy, criminal trial
Bobby Jeong, a South Korean musician and songwriter and member of the band Autumn Vacation, is currently on trial after being charged with sexual assault. Allegations that he filmed the women without their consent. One victim, whom he allegedly dated in 2019, died by suicide and his family went to court but was acquitted in 2021 due to insufficient evidence.
Soon he was charged with unlawfully assaulting and filming another woman; police recovered the videos from his devices which reopened the first case in which he was acquitted. A new investigation concluded that he was guilty in both cases.
Bobby stands by his position that he obtained consent for the filming, but pleaded guilty to sexual assault at the final trial. The third trial will be held at Seoul’s Western District Court at 2 p.m. on May 25.
Suggested reading: despite the #MeToo movement, victims of sexual assault are fighting for justice, why?