BTS and BLACKPINK face Blockout Call from award-winning Palestinian Journalist; fans respond - Hindustan Times
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BTS and BLACKPINK face Blockout Call from award-winning Palestinian Journalist; fans respond

ByAditi Srivastava
May 12, 2024 07:47 AM IST

K-pop fans defend BTS and BLACKPINK amid controversy over Israel-Palestine conflict, social media boycott initiated as part of 'block out' movement.

BTS and BLACKPINK, two of the most famous K-pop bands dominating Western arenas over their homegrown artists, have been embroiled in the Israel-Palestine conflict for months now. From calls to divest from Zionism to supporting Palestine, the fandom has remained divided. However, neither band has made any public statements on the matter. The K-pop bands are now facing a social media boycott as part of a larger 'block out' movement in support of Palestine.

BTS and BLACKPINK won awards at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).
BTS and BLACKPINK won awards at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).

What is Blockout call amid Gaza war?

The 2023 Israel-Hamas war began on October 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This attack prompted retaliation by the Israeli Defense Forces. For over 7 months, the tension between these two old rivals has caused global concern over the crisis, not only in terms of fatalities and property loss but also on humanitarian grounds. The BlockOut campaign aims to boycott major artists who have refrained from speaking up for the cause and using high-profile platforms like the Met Gala to raise awareness.

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The Met Gala was in full swing in the United States, while in the Gaza Strip, homes were being destroyed in Rafah. Celebrities were roundly criticized for their silence in the face of the crisis, leading to the launch of a social media campaign called “BlockOut2024.” The campaign encourages users to hold celebs and companies “accountable” for their failure to respond to the humanitarian crisis, despite their massive social media presence.

Why are BTS and BLACKPINK facing Blockout calls?

Bisan Owda, the Peabody Award-winning Palestinian journalist best known for her coverage of the Gaza crisis, took the campaign to Instagram. The #BlockOut2020 campaign, which began with TikTok users calling out celebrities is aimed at holding them accountable for their silence during the Gaza crisis. On Instagram, Owda posted lists from another account that identified celebrities to block, including the K-Pop group BTS and K-Pop group BLACKPINK. Apart from the prominent groups, many other Western artists such as Selena Gomez, Justin and Hailey Bieber, Taylor Swift, Shakira, Harry Styles, Sydney Sweeney, Lisa's separate handle, Oprah Winfrey, among various others were also mentioned.

Bisan Owda, the Peabody Award-winning Palestinian journalist took BLOCKOUT call on Instagram
Bisan Owda, the Peabody Award-winning Palestinian journalist took BLOCKOUT call on Instagram

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Fans respond

The post by the Palestinian journalist on social media sparked a great deal of controversy, especially among K-pop fans. The post mentioned the popular K-pop group, BTS, which has already faced calls for boycotts due to HYBE's connection with Scooter Braun, the CEO of HYBE America, and his statements on Palestine. However, the fans rallied quickly to defend the Dynamite singers, feeling that the group was unfairly targeted as they are not actively involved in business matters and are currently serving their military obligations. Throughout the day, various hashtags such as "We Support BTS," "We Will Never Leave BTS," and "We Are with BTS" trended on social media platforms, demonstrating the fandom's unwavering support for the group.

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