Is YGE mishandling BLACKPINK? Fans slam agency's treatment amid band's success in offsetting Burning Sun Scandal
Fans presented a hard case with proof of how many MV shots of Jisoo had been used by the company and the social media profile of the band
Popular online discussion sites like Reddit or Quora have multiple questions about BLACKPINK from fans who are new to the genre of K-pop, or new to listening to the band. The most common questions on Quora about the band happen to be about some kind of mistreatment or mishandling of the band by their agency. BLACKPINK debuted in 2016 and since then, fans have had various complaints, but the biggest one was about how despite their success globally, their agent did not handle them very well.
In March 2021 alone, fans of the band have sent YG Entertainment three convoys of trucks — which has been dubbed the 'protest truck' to demand that the agency change the way in which they have handled the band. The most common complaint was to treat Jisoo fairly. A total of six trucks, decked up in LED lights with demands of "Treat Jisoo fairly" etched on them was sent to the agency. This is not the first time that the agency has been blamed for mistreating Jisoo.
Back when 'How You Like That' released in 2020, many fans of the band noticed that Jisoo's teaser images never made it to the Instagram grid like that of the other artists. The observations made included how Jisoo was styled and photographed for the teaser images. There were also reports of Jisoo not being included in many activities that the agency had arranged for and that led to fans' accusations that she had been mistreated. In 2021, following the sending of the trucks, Blinks trended #YGBeFair on Twitter.
Fans claimed that Jisoo's promotion by the band was not adequate. Fans had pointed out that the star had not been given a thumbnail in official music video material and also stated that she had constantly not been featured on promotions posted on social media.
The fans presented a hard case with proof of how many MV shots of Jisoo had been used by the company and the social media profile of the band. Similarly, in 2019, fans of star Lisa had protested against the mistreatment meted out to her. Lisa, hailing from Thailand, happens to be the only non-Korean band member. Recently, she also faced racism.
One of the major setbacks that Lisa faced according to heartbroken fans was in 2019 when she was not allowed to collect the 'Person of the Year' Award that she had been bestowed in her home country. Kang Daniel, who had also received an award had reportedly been allowed to go receive the same in person.
Worse was when Lisa had reportedly received death threats in May 2020 and the fans caught wind of the same earlier than the agency. Thai embassy in Korea on May, 2020 took to its official Twitter account to post "We received a lot of emails and Twitter messages regarding a personal threat posed to Lisa" in response to the messages that they had received from worried fans. It was after this that the agency responded with a statement that said, "We will collect and review evidence through regular monitoring data, as well as tip-offs from fans, and take a hard-line response without leniency.”
This was not all, According to a report in SCMP, Lisa was scammed out of a billion won (US$833,000) by her manager and the agency was reportedly not aware of the same. The manager was accused of gambling her money away when he was supposed to be helping her with a real estate investment. It was speculated that Lisa was targeted mainly because she is the only member who doesn't have family nearby to help her in case of trouble after having left Thailand at the age of 14 to pursue a career in music. The statement from the agency regarding the same said that they would “[take] preventive measures so that this does not happen again”
Now, in contrast to this, let's take the biggest group that YGE represented — BIGBANG. The band brought with it a lot of controversies — TOP's choice of sporting the Rising Sun — a symbol of Japan's imperial Army. There was also the plagiarism charge against G-Dragon when his song 'Heartbreaker' came out as it seemed to be plagiarized from Flo Rida's 'Right Round'. YGE was sent a warning from Sony Entertainment and they had to approach Flo Rida to collaborate with G-Dragon to come out with a new remixed version of the song.
There is a long list of scandals that the agency had to sidestep, handle and work through for the band including the Burning Sun Scandal which when it broke, had YGE's stock drop by 16% and through it all, BLACKPINK has been providing the agency with name and fame globally. They have in a way been offsetting the rather negative media that the company had accumulated over the years with their talent.
From being named the first Korean act to perform at the Coachella to charting on Billboard, and most viewed video on YouTube, the band has pretty much helped the company do damage control. Yet, what really ticks fans off is when the agency is careless about the band members' safety and their future. The fact that Lisa has still not had her solo debut is something that fans are wrestling with.