Just some highlights of Zico’s history with the Korean K-Pop media


There’s been a lot of traffic to these two posts. And I realize that there are some people who are working very hard to convince themselves that Zico’s media relations are some kind of real problem (imposed on him, of course, by his evil, evil label–run away with me, Zico!!!!), and I don’t expect this post to have any impact at all on those folks. But if you are kind of new to this (because for some strange reason you haven’t been spending the last four years obsessively following this issue), you might wonder why I and apparently every Korean on Nate find the notion that Zico owes the Korean K-Pop media anything at all to be genuinely hilarious.

If you’re not familiar with how the K-Pop press operates in Korea, Zico might seem to be acting unfairly. I mean, yeah, he wasn’t too happy about having his relationship with Seolhyun exposed, but…it’s not like that wasn’t true, right? (Mostly, anyway.) Why is he so closed off?

But the Korean media has also reported many things about Zico and Block B that are not remotely true. This happens all the time and is actually a big part of why NetizenBuzz exists–the “professional” media in Korea will print just about anything, including utterly stupid netizen comments, whether or not it’s true or of any significance. The only thing that matters is getting clicks.

Example #1 of the shit work the Korean media has done for Zico and Block B is, of course, the Thailand scandal.

If you click through that link, you will see that that post was inspired by an extremely sensible question: Why was the scandal such a big deal in Korea if Koreans had the capability of understanding that Zico’s remark in Korean was mistranslated into Thai? And the answer is: The media in Korea sucks ass.

Example #2: The rice-pizza scandal was reported, as a scandal, in the Korean media.

Actually, that one’s unusual because it was true–the members of Block B did indeed say they didn’t care for rice pizza. Of course, the whole bit where that makes them terrible people….

Example #3: They cropped Paloalto out of a publicity photograph taken for “Dark Panda” to create the impression that Zico and Hyolyn were dating.

Example #4: They cropped Henry Lau out of a picture of Zico and Lee Sung Kyung to create the impression that those two were dating.

That particular cropped photo was run in the Korean media–no lie–for months. Lee went on television and said they weren’t dating, and then Zico went on television, said they weren’t dating, showed the original photo, and showed how it had been altered. Even after all that the Korean media reported that Zico and Lee were dating using the doctored photo as “evidence.”

Whatever gets the clicks, baby!

So, yeah. This is not some one-time problem–the Korean K-Pop media is consistently terrible. Zico quite sensibly is not going to trust the media in his country, and his label is not, by any means, going to encourage any such trust.

And, honestly, why should he? I used to be a reporter, and all I can say is, you get what you give–if you want people to trust and respect you as a journalist, you need to behave ethically and be worthy of that trust and respect.


4 responses »

  1. This post is like therapy from the endless “I hate SeSea they are OBJECTIVELY INCOMPETENT” narrative that’s been infecting parts of the fandom. Trying to engage with that is just fruitless and draining. Thank you!

    • Yeah–the reason it’s so pointless to try to engage with the people who really believe that Seven Seasons is the worst thing ever is that their belief stems from their own need to feel important. So as long as that need exists, they’ll be using really peculiar definitions of, you know, “objective.”

      It’s interesting because it used to be that the belief Block B was in massive crisis was something that was driven more by fear & anxiety, and you could really get people to settle down by trotting out facts and figures–letting people know that the group wasn’t going to die actually worked. But there’s this new generation of doomsayers out there who have managed to incorporate the belief that the group is very successful along with the belief that the group is being held back from some mystical further level of success by their horrible label. And that’s harder to counter with facts & figures, because “here is evidence that the group is happy and successful” isn’t good enough for them, and it’s absolutely impossible to disprove that things couldn’t somehow, someway be in some measure better if X or Y were handled differently.

      • I wonder if Block B are aware of this issue, I mean the ‘hate’ towards SevenSeason. I remember in some Vlive they complained abopout their managers and then quickly started defending them saying that it’s not like they’re misstreated or anything… like the guys can’t even have a simple human whine about their company because fans will tear it apart… I mean, even thinking about it after really, carefully listening what is for example Zico saying, like he had a lot of offers from other companies, probably richier and more powerful but he still decided to stay with 7Seasons I think it gives a hint that it’s not that bad maybe?

        • I’m sure they are because there have been boycotts, “Seven Seasons_hate you” hash-tag campaigns, etc. They never used to explicitly say, “Seven Seasons is a good company; please don’t be hard on them” but now they do.

          Again, it’s not really a rational thing, so yeah–of course I agree Zico has a lot of power given that he’s Seven Season’s main earner. At this point, if he wanted to he could probably afford to break his contract with the company (or get another label to pay for him to do so). But people don’t want to hear that, because that shatters any rescue fantasy they might have going on.

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