Day6’s Jae Park has discussed the physical and verbal abuse faced by idols in the K-pop industry.
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The singer recently appeared on Twitch with streamer CodeMiko, where shared some tips on becoming and surviving as a K-pop idol. The two practiced vocal exercises and touched on some of the rules of being an idol, before moving on to discuss the extreme expectations placed on K-pop idols to maintain a certain image.
Park presented her with a series of hypothetical situations, urging her to remain as neutral as possible in her responses. “It’s been a hard day. A crowd of people are saying, ‘Oh, Miko! I love you!’ And you’re like, ‘Oh, thank you so much!’ You’re taking their letters. All of a sudden, someone comes up and they slap you across the face. What do you do?” he asked.
“What?! I mean, I’d punch them back!,” she replied, to which Jae shared would be a misstep for a K-pop idol. He went on to explain that her response would earn news headlines accusing her of abusing her fans and being “belligerently violent”.
CodeMiko quickly changed her answer, saying that she would catch the person mid-slap and play it off as a hi-five. However, the Day6 singer revealed that even that could be spun negatively to destroy an idol’s image. “CodeMiko is unappreciative of fans,” he commented, giving an example of the kind of posts the action would generate.
Finally, Park revealed that the only correct response was to smile and walk away as if nothing had happened. “Has someone ever slapped you?” the streamer asked, to which he casually responded: “Of course.”
“People want reactions out of you, and those clips go viral,” he explained. “People will spit on you, they will throw things at you, they will hit you if they can. They will do all kinds of things to you. But what do you do? You’re a public figure, you chose this route.”
“The thing you’re gonna hear if you retaliate – because there have been people who retaliated – is, ‘you chose this route, no one else chose it for you’,” he added. “‘Behave the way you’re supposed to behave. You’re an idol, you’re supposed to be looked up upon. You don’t make mistakes, you don’t have an opinion. You’re a product.’”
Earlier this month, Park spoke about plans to interact with fans more in the coming year when he’s “more out of the K-pop realm”, as well as having more solo releases. “But I’m telling you guys, 22 is about to be our year, for sure,” he added.