4 Times The Media Royally F*cked Up K-Pop News By Using The Wrong Photos

These mixups cause major backlash.

Everyone makes mistakes, but not every mistake becomes a headline. Covering K-Pop news can be tricky for news outlets, TV shows, and magazines that aren’t too familiar with the Korean entertainment industry. Unfortunately, sometimes a tiny mistake like using the wrong photo can cause a major controversy. Here are 4 times it happened.

1. BTS’s V and the Burning Sun Scandal

In 2019, a Peruvian news outlet, La República, released a story about the celebrities who were, at the time, rumored to be involved in K-Pop’s most notorious sex scandal: the Burning Sun scandal.  V’s photo was mistakenly included in the thumbnail, causing immediate backlash.

V was not in any way involved in the scandal. The outlet later replaced the original thumbnail with this one.

2. NCT 127 and BTS

In 2018, BTS and NCT 127 were both invited to the American Music Awards. NCT attended the award show in person, while BTS (who were on tour at the time) could not be there to collect their award for “Favorite Social Artist.”

NCT 127 | @amas/Twitter

NCT 127 was mistaken for BTS not only by attendees but also by several news outlets.

Fans were especially unhappy about the Times of India, a highly regarded magazine, labeling NCT 127 “BTS” in this photo.

3. Not that SEVENTEEN

A French news site faced immense backlash after confusing K-Pop’s SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN | Seventeen Magazine

…with the Indonesian pop group Seventeen while covering a natural disaster.

Seventeen | NME News

In December of 2018, hundreds of people lost their lives when a tsunami devastated the islands of Sumatra and Java. A wave crashed through the stage where Seventeen, the Indonesian pop group, was performing at Tanjung Lesun Beach Resort. Ifan was the only member to survive the tsunami.

Understandably, fans of both groups were outraged when Seventeen was mixed up with K-Pop’s SEVENTEEN. The article in question was later corrected.


While interviewing Coldplay‘s Chris Martin about the band’s collaboration with BTS, The Kelly Clarkson Show showed a photo that did not go unnoticed by fans.

BTS | @bts_bighit/Twitter

A photo of the 7-member boy group BLITZERS was mistakenly used for BTS. At the time, BLITZERS was still a relatively new K-Pop group.

BLITZERS | WUZO Entertainment

As fans pointed out, this is not the first time BLITZERS’ photos had been used for news about BTS.

| @DarkFiction/Twitter

| @DarkFiction/Twitter

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