Additionally, I have seen a few people saying that it’s not fair to blame Bighit when we don’t know the whole situation, that it may just be the members themselves who are pushing themselves too hard.
I disagree very strongly with this. I know that a lot of people view Bighit as a superior company due to the amount of creative freedom BTS seems to have compared to other groups. However, it is still a company, and in order to support itself it has to make money off of BTS and there is no reason for us to believe that BTS’s conditions are better than that of idols in any other company.
We know that entertainment companies often treat their idols badly, work them until they are sick or hurt and sometimes make them keep working, withhold payment, fail to provide adequate compensation, and generally do some really shitty things. The fact that SM has been sued multiple times proves this. The fact that Block B sued Stardom and lost, but still felt the need to move to a different company proves this. B.A.P, a very popular group, suing TS Entertainment proves this. Lee Hoo had to resort to social media to publicize the flaws in Star Empire proves this. It is much more likely that Bighit does similar things (if not to the same extent) than that Bighit is somehow an exception.
It bothers me to see people defending Bighit with absolutely no grounds to do so. It makes me feel like people want to turn a blind eye to bad labor conditions for idols in order to still enjoy their music uncritically. It also makes me feel as if they are shifting the blame for Taehyung’s collapse onto the BTS members themselves. While it is true that BTS obviously works very hard and is very motivated, claiming that they worked themselves into a state where they are in danger of collapsing onstage seems very unlikely and also just seems insensitive and wrong to me.
Besides that, I do not understand why anyone is taking offense to fans saying things like “Bighit, let them rest!” or “I hate how hard Bighit is working them!” It is probably true that Bighit is working them too hard, but even beyond that, what negative result are those comments going to have? None. In fact, if enough people express concern for Taehyung and call for Bighit to let them rest, then there are two possible options: Bighit ignores us, and nothing is lost, or Bighit listens and lets them rest, a hugely positive outcome. We know Bighit pays attention to social media, or at least to reporting about social media, because of the condom incident and the fact that they issued a response. We can use social media to express not only support, but concern for how BTS is being treated by their company.
As fans, we have power over these things through our financial support and our power over social media. Having fans is the reason that Yifan still has a career after suing SM. It’s the reason that Lee Hoo went to Twitter to resolve his grievances rather than address them privately, because privately idols are at a massive disadvantage against companies. I hope that it never comes to this, but if BTS ever needs to take action against Bighit, I hope all fans, including those who are currently defending Bighit will stand with BTS and support them through any means that are available to us, however small.
I am tired of the idea that being a fan means never being critical of the things you love. Everything has flaws, and pointing out those flaws is an important part of being a critical fan. If enough people call out an idol for using a slur, then perhaps they will learn that they need to stop using it. If enough people tweet their concern that a company is working idols too hard, then perhaps they will give their idols a break. There is always a chance that they won’t change, but there is a chance they will, a chance that would not be present if fans stayed silent. Silence and apologism are implicit approval of bad behavior and neither creates change or helps the performers that you love.
I do want Taehyung and BTS to recover, and that is the most important wish I have for them right now. However, just as important is my wish for Bighit to treat BTS better so that this never happens again.