G-Dragon’s fans on Tuesday mounted an online attack on a local media outlet for its report on the K-pop star’s alleged special treatment at a military hospital.
G-Dragon, the leader of the K-pop boy band Big Bang, was at the center of a deepening dispute following an online petition filed against the local media outlet over its article about the singer receiving allegedly preferential treatment while serving in the military.
Over 34,000 tweets with the hashtag “#Dispatch_Apologize” was posted along with over 19,600 tweets mentioning Dispatch.
Twitter posts with the hashtag “#Apologize_Dispatch” (Twitter)
“Respect G-Dragon’s privacy and stop your false rumors,” posted a Twitter user. Several fans called on YG Entertainment, the singer’s agency, to take legal action against the media’s invasion of privacy on G-Dragon and the report accusing the singer of special treatment.
Yang Hyun-suk, CEO of YG Entertainment, said in an Instagram post on Monday that he would take legal action after several fans had requested him to sue the media. An hour later, however, Yang deleted the post.
A fan filed an online petition on Tuesday requesting for the closure of the media on the Cheong Wa Dae website. If the petition at the presidential Blue House gains more than 200,000 signatures, the administration and top presidential aides should respond.
By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the petition attracted more than 9,414 signatures.
The controversy intensified further after Dispatch released a new report early Tuesday reasserting that G-Dragon was hospitalized in a room for colonels along with a photo of the room number.
On Monday, Dispatch touched off a storm of controversy as it reported on G-Dragon who was hospitalized in a private room at the Armed Forces Hospital in Yanju, Gyeonggi Province. Low-ranking soldiers like G-Dragon mostly use a room for four to eight patients, said the report.
YG Entertainment brushed off the Dispatch report as “groundless and malicious” and that Kwon Ji-yong, G-Dragon’s real name, “was hospitalized according to due procedures.” The agency also pointed out that there is no VIP room at the hospital.
Special treatment in the military is a sensitive topic in South Korea since there have long been cases where celebrities or people from privileged backgrounds used their status for getting favors in the barracks.
G-Dragon started his 21-month mandatory military service on Feb. 27 and is scheduled to complete his service by November 2019. All Big Bang members are serving in the military except the youngest member Seungri, who had revealed his plan to enlist after finishing his scheduled activities.
By Chyung Eun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org