Although BTS has had a few scandals, they were able to come back stronger than ever!
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1. Jin’s Condom Controversy
Back in 2014, Jin was caught up in a controversy after a condom had been spotted in his dorm room. For BTS‘s recipe blog, Jin took a snapshot of himself eating a meal he had cooked. In the corner of the room, netizens spotted what they thought to be a box of condoms, and speculations ran wild.
As different rumors started to spread, Big Hit Entertainment came forward and clarified that the box was indeed a box of condoms, and Jin had received it as a gift from fans. Although netizens took the controversy negatively at first, public opinion on the matter has slowly changed. Now, most netizens don’t think of it as a big deal anymore.
2. BTS “Sajaegi” Rumors
Although BTS debuted in 2013 with moderate fame, it wasn’t until the release of their 3rd mini-album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1” that they saw major mainstream success. The lead single, “I Need U,” topped many Korean charts and the album was the #1 selling album for some time.
When BTS outsold BIGBANG in album sales, netizens accused Big Hit Entertainment of “Sajaegi” (the act of manipulating music chart rankings, usually by artificially inflating album sales numbers by purchasing [or outsourcing the purchase of] large volumes of albums). Although representatives denied all accusations, stating that they did not have the means to do so, many netizens didn’t believe their statement.
The issue was finally put to rest after netizens did some digging. It turns out that as BTS had accumulated a large global fanbase, the sudden spike in sales was due to international sales being input into the system. Russian netizens also clarified that BTS had a huge fan club in Russian-speaking countries, which helped to explain a large number of international sales.
3. Jungkook’s “Let’s Love” Controversy
For a period in time, a small faction of EXO fans and BTS fans had a bit of tension between them. Some EXO-L believed that BTS was copying EXO’s concepts and styles, while ARMY argued that these were common concepts that many idols incorporate. The tension grew more severe in 2015 when Jungkook once used the term “Let’s Love” with BTS. The small faction of EXO-L felt that that was an insult, because the phrase had become a motto of sorts for EXO.
A photoshopped image of Jungkook’s portrait mounted on a funeral wreath started spreading amongst the EXO-L who had felt insulted. Many ARMY felt that the image was too severe, and tension between certain members of the two fan clubs grew. When fans realized that EXO and BTS were actually close, the feud seems to have died down.
4. RM’s Plagiarism Accusations
Back in 2015, a twitter user by the handle @wevebeenhere claimed that RM plagiarized lyrics from himself and another user by the handle @radiordinary. The lyrics in question were used in a verse on Primary‘s track, “U.”
Showing examples of the alleged plagiarism, @wevebeenhere revealed that the line “I will become your underline because you’re that important” was written by him months prior. He also proved that the line “When you lie in bed with loneliness the bed gets bigger” was written by @radiordinary months before the song was released.
In response, RM owned up to the accusations. He sincerely apologized for the mistake and explained that many of his lyrics came from books, movies, interviews, and letters. He made the mistake of not confirming the source of the original quote, which led to the alleged plagiarism. User @wevebeenhere has since forgiven RM and has also sent a formal apology to RM for causing unnecessary trouble.
5. Misogyny Controversy
Back in 2013, Suga sent out a tweet that many netizens deemed questionable. The tweet roughly translates to “I am watching all of you. If I see you looking somewhere else, I’ll [take a photo/hit you] with this camera ^^ with the corner ^^ On the crown of your head ^^”. The problem was in the wordplay, as the phrase “찍어버림” could be translated to “take a photo” or “hit.” Many netizens accused Suga of being overly aggressive, and borderline misogynistic.
When “War of Hormone” was released in 2014, many people accused the song of being misogynistic. With lyrics that state “women are the best gift” and “wear high heels more often,” many netizens believed that the song was objectifying women.
The controversy gained more traction after RM’s “Joke” was released on his mixtape in 2015. In the song, the line “You’re the best woman, being bossy. You do so f*cking well, being bossy. But when I think about it, you were never the boss, Instead of boss I’ll say gonorrhea.” Many netizens believed that the lyrics were not only misogynistic but also overly sexual in nature.
As more and more netizens started accusing BTS of misogyny, Big Hit Entertainment intervened, and released an official statement. Not only did they apologize on BTS’s behalf, but they also promised to do better in educating them, and being careful in the future.
6. Illegal Marketing Scandal
Back in 2017, the CEO of a contracting firm, “B,” was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment for blackmailing Big Hit Entertainment. Big Hit had contracted the company for a marketing project 2 years prior, and the company had fallen on difficult times. Due to his financial struggles, CEO “B” anonymously threatened Big Hit Entertainment, claiming that he would reveal illegal marketing tactics used to promote Big Hit Entertainment’s artists.
In fear of tarnishing their artist’s reputation, a Big Hit Entertainment employee personally sent payments totaling 5.7 million KRW ($50,335 USD). CEO “B” was eventually discovered and was charged for blackmail. Rumors started spreading, however, with netizens stating that if Big Hit Entertainment was not guilty of illegal marketing practices, they would never have paid CEO “B” in the first place.
Due to the rumors getting out of hand, and possibly tarnishing BTS’s reputation, representatives from Big Hit Entertainment released an official statement, clarifying all rumors. Apparently, an employee had tried to solve the issue personally and had not notified the agency of the blackmailing. Once the employee realized it was not a problem they could handle personally, the agency was notified, and the blackmailing was immediately reported to the police.
7. Multiple Death Threats
When BTS was in the US for “The Red Bullet” concert tour in 2015, threats were made against RM’s life. Many speculated that the threats were due to a controversial interview that the group had in Australia, where RM had stated “when I first saw V and J-Hope I couldn’t see them because they were too black.” Many people thought that comment was borderline racist, and RM received a lot of flak for his comments. Due to the threats, all fan events at the New York stop were canceled.
Just a few weeks later, RM has threatened with death again. This time it was a user claiming that RM would be killed when BTS made their stop in Mexico for their “Red Bullet” concert tour.
Then in 2017, member Jimin was specifically targeted with a death threat. A Twitter user claimed that they had 2 accomplices, and they would kill Jimin when BTS made their stop in Anaheim, CA for “The Wings” tour. Police were notified, and security was on high-alert that day.
Jimin was the target of a death threat yet again in 2018. An anonymous user posted claimed that they would attack Jimin during BTS’s concert in Fort Worth, Texas in September. This caused the Fort Worth Police Department to start an investigation, and both Big Hit Entertainment and Fort Worth PD were put on high alert. Jimin has spoken up on the matter and has revealed that he is more worried about his fans than himself. He won’t let the threats stop him from seeing his fans, and he trusts the staff to keep the venue safe.