JKT48 management deny claims of sexual harassment after video of alleged groping incident goes viral

The viral footage appeared to show a male fan reaching out and groping the chest of a JKT48 member at a mall concert in Sukoharjo

JKT48’s management team has said that no sexual harassment occurred at a recent mall performance by Indonesian-Japanese idol group after a video of a man appearing to grope a JKT48 member went viral on TikTok.

The video was first uploaded on the now-locked account of TikTok user @ntarasyaz on June 28. It appears to show a male fan reaching out and allegedly groping the chest of a JKT48 member during the group’s performance at The Park Mall, Sukoharjo in Central Java on that day, according to reporting by CNN Indonesia.

Per CNN Indonesia, Sukoharjo Police Chief Wahyu Nugroho said that no further investigation on the incident will be conducted as the parties involved have not lodged a complaint, as is required by Indonesia’s Crimes of Sexual Violence bill passed in April this year.

“Regarding the information that there was a case of harassment at the event, Mr. TAM (initials) as the person in charge of the group explained that there was no such case of harassment towards the JKT48 artist personnel or other problems,” Nugroho said, adding that the police had not received any complaint from JKT48 themselves.

On July 3, a statement was released on the JKT48 Tour official Twitter account addressing the incident.

“It’s true that there was tremendous enthusiasm from fans who were about to greet the members when they were walking backstage, but the incident was responded to swiftly by the security team,” the first of two tweets, both written in Indonesian, read.

“Once again we reiterate that there were NO incidents of sexual harassment at the JKT48 10th Anniversary Tour in Solo, thank you for your attention.”

The Park Mall Business and Marketing Director Danny Johannes told Kompas that mall management had requested an explanation from JKT48 management over the viral video, but were told that no such harassment had occurred.

“We [The Park Mall] have not responded so far because we are a place that is trusted as a venue for the organisers. As of last night [July 3], the organisers had no complaints nor provided information on related matters,” he said.

On July 3, JKT48 cancelled their Bandung concert that was supposed to be held later that day, announcing on Instagram that the show “cannot be carried out”. The band’s statement also noted that the group “will always be committed to providing positive energy and inspiration for all. We will definitely come back to Bandung again.”

On Twitter, the JKT48TOUR account announced that the Bandung show was postponed “due to a very sudden obstacle”. The concert in Bandung was to be the final date on the group’s 10th Anniversary tour.

The group also cited “technical, non-technical, and safety concerns” in an Instagram post announcing the cancellation, promising to return to Bandung at a later date.

In 2020, JKT48 member Aurel filed a police report alleging online sexual harassment against an anonymous Instagram user who allegedly sent her an unsolicited indecent photo and a lewd message, Coconuts Jakarta reporeted.

According to the publication, Aurel later wrote in a now-deleted tweet: “Please! I really appreciate direct messages from you guys, but if the context of the DMs I receive have crossed towards sexual harassment, I am furious. Please respect each other. I know me being a public figure definitely has things I have to accept the consequences for, but please respect me as a woman.”

In 2021, per a Coconuts Jakarta report, JKT48 member Shani filed a police report after she was falsely accused by a Twitter user of exchanging sexual favours for a more prominent spotlight in the group. Shani and JKT48’s management reportedly reached out to the user to request that a public apology issued and to delete the offensive tweet, but their requests were ignored.