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Lady Gaga’s Seoul concert banned for teenagers

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Published : 2012-03-30 20:32
Updated : 2012-04-02 11:06

American pop singer Lady Gaga's upcoming Seoul concert has been restricted to over-18s by the Korea Media Rating Board, as the Gender Ministry considers one of her songs to be performed at the show as “inappropriate” for minors.

The rating board's decision came after a series of complaints filed by conservative NGOs and Christian groups, who demanded Hyundai Card to cancel the show on grounds that Lady Gaga promotes “inappropriate behavior” for youngsters, including homosexuality and mocking of religious figures.

The concert, which is slated to be held at Seoul's Olympic Stadium on April 27, is the fourth foreign artist show to be banned for teenagers, according to KMRB. The first was Marilyn Manson's 2005 Seoul show, while the second and the third were American rappers 50 Cent and Jay-Z concerts both held in 2006.

A KMRB official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the decision was largely due to Lady Gaga's song titled “Just Dance,” which received a rating of R from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in November of last year. The Gender Ministry rated the piece as “inappropriate for teenagers” for its lyrics about clubbing and drinking. The show initially had a PG (age 12 and up) rating.

Lady Gaga. The Korea Herald

“We believe the song 'Just Dance' will be performed during the upcoming concert,” said the official. “It will be against the law to allow teenagers to watch a performance of the song, which has been rated R.”

The upcoming concert is the opener of Lady Gaga's world tour. The artist is scheduled to perform in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand after the Seoul show. According to Hyundai Card, Korea is the only country that has prohibited teens from attending the concert.

“It's a disappointment,” an official from Hyundai Card said about the KMRB decision. “I don't think Korea is any less open about foreign arts and culture than other Asian countries. So this decision is rather a surprise. And we are sorry to announce the news to the teens who have already purchased their tickets.”

Hyundai Card said the company was not planning to apply for a new rating, and all tickets would be fully refunded to those who cannot attend the concert upon the KMRB decision.

Meanwhile, Korean Association of Church Communication, one of the local Christian groups who have been calling for the cancellation of Gaga's show, said they were “relieved” to hear the news.

“We are relieved that at least the show won't be able to influence young people,” said Sim Man-sup of the Christian organization. “Gaga's performance and lyrics are very eccentric in many ways. We are not against her show just for religious reasons. We don't think her musical performance, which involves so much sexual connotations and unusual costumes, is appropriate for youngsters' emotional development.”

Popular music critic Noh Joon-young, on the other hand, publicly criticized the KMRB decision through his Twitter account.

“There are countless things out there in our pop culture that's 'inappropriate' for teenagers,” he said. “I don't know why Lady Gaga's concert is the only one that's recognized as a problem by KMRB. Why oppress freedom of artistic expression this way?”

Kim Jin-ah, a 27-year-old office worker planning to attend Gaga's concert, said the KMRB decision was “absurd.”

“We are living in 2012,” she said. “It's up to the public to decide what to watch and what not to watch. Our teens don't need the government's advice on that.”

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)

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