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2024 K-pop group controversy: Le Sserafim in their latest comeback

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South Korea, as the leading K-pop-producing country, has boasted many outstanding achievements in the field of entertainment, with groups such as BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, and TWICE becoming global icons. This success is not only supported by the artistic talents of the groups but also by the strong infrastructure of the entertainment industry in South Korea.

Le Sserafim, a five-member girl group, namely Sakura, Chae-won, Yun-jin, Kazuha, and Eun-chae, debuted in 2022 with their first mini album titled ‘Fearless’. However, the controversial case involving girl group Le Sserafim in their latest comeback has been in the hot spotlight in the K-pop industry. Controversy arose when they released their third EP, ‘Easy’, on February 19, 2024. The album’s title track is also titled ‘Easy’, whose lyrics talk about overcoming challenges with ease.

Controversy arose over the ‘Easy’ music video which used the church as a backdrop and depicted religious symbols controversially. Some netizens were offended by the use of the place of worship for commercial purposes, especially with the appearance of group members who were considered inappropriate. The replacing the church logo with the Le Sserafim logo and Illuminati symbols also caused criticism. Despite the defense of the church’s use as a filming location, many still feel that it is inappropriate. Immanuel Presbyterian Church is often used as a filming location for various projects, but its use in this context still causes controversy.

In addition to religious issues, criticism was also directed at Eun-chae as the youngest member of the group for choreography and clothing that was considered too mature for her 17-year-old age. In fact, South Korea’s national television station KBS, decided not to show Le Sserafim’s music video because the scenes were considered potentially harmful to children.

Criticism of Eun-chae, the youngest member of Le Sserafim, also highlighted the important issue of child protection in the entertainment industry. Although many praise the talent and dedication of young members in the industry, it is important to remember that they are still in the process of learning, and the protection of their rights as children must come first.

The controversy then invites questions about the limits of creativity in the entertainment industry and the responsibilities of artists and their management. Many hope that the entertainment industry pays more attention to the impact that their works may have, both for fans and the wider community.

First of all, it is necessary to understand that the entertainment industry, including the K-pop industry, has a huge influence on popular culture and society in general. The works produced by artists in this industry not only create entertainment but also shape perceptions and values among the audience, especially the younger generation. In this context, the controversy surrounding Le Sserafim’s music video is a reflection of the broader debate about artists’ freedom of expression and their responsibility to the influence generated by their works. Many argue that artists have the right to express themselves in their works, but it is also necessary to consider the impact of such expression on society.

The use of the church as a backdrop in the ‘Easy’ music video creates a tension between the artist’s freedom of expression and sensitivity to religious values. Although some netizens defended the use of the church, saying that the Immanuel Presbyterian church is often used as a filming location for commercial projects, it did not alleviate some people’s concerns about the use of the place of worship for commercial purposes. Furthermore, the replacement of religious symbols with other symbols considered controversial, such as Illuminati symbols, adds complexity to this controversy. The symbols have different meanings and connotations for different people, and their use in this context can be considered an insult to the values held by most societies.

However, it is important to remember that the responsibility for the content produced lies not only with the artists but also with the management and entertainment companies that produce the works. They have an important role in ensuring that the works produced not only meet standards of artistic quality but also consider the social and cultural impact of such expression.

KBS’s decision not to show Le Sserafim’s music video also reflects broader concerns about the impact of content shown in mass media, especially on children and adolescents. As a national broadcaster, KBS has a responsibility to ensure that the programs aired are not only entertaining but also educational and do not harm the audience.

The controversy surrounding Le Sserafim’s music video became the starting point for a wider debate about the role and responsibility of the entertainment industry in shaping popular culture and influencing society. Although artists’ freedom of expression should be respected, there needs to be an awareness of the social and cultural impact of the works produced.

The Heirs (Indo)

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