Award-Winning Palestinian Journalist Calls For Blockout Against BTS and BLACKPINK

Fans responded differently.

BTS and BLACKPINK are facing a social media boycott as a part of a larger “block out” movement in support of Palestine.

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BTS | Weverse
BLACKPINK | @blackpinkofficial/Instagram

What is #blockout2024?

In the past seven months, the world has mobilized to protest against the indiscriminate killing of civilian lives in the Gaza Strip of Palestine by Israel. At the beginning of this onslaught, Israel reassured that the Egyptian border city of Rafah would be the designated “safe zone” for civilians. As a result, over 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority of whom are children, were sheltering in Rafah in horrible living conditions until Israel started attacking the area as well, raising alarms across the international community. While civilian tents were being bombed in Rafah, at the same time, in the US, the high-fashion event, Met Gala, took place. The contrasting images coming out of Rafah and the Met Gala seemed to have hit too close home for many netizens. At first, they called out the celebrities in attendance for not using their huge platform and wealth to help out in such a major humanitarian crisis. This sentiment then turned into a social media movement, which is being dubbed “BlockOut2024.” The idea is to block any celebrity or corporation who has refused to speak up about Gaza despite having a huge social media presence. The goal here is to send a message against complicity, as well as to hurt the social media earnings of these celebrities at the maximum level.

BTS and BLACKPINK’s Involvement

Though the movement was started by some TikTok creators, it gained pace quickly across all social media platforms. On May 11, Bisan Owda, the Palestinian journalist who recently won the prestigious Peabody Award for her ground reporting from the Gaza Strip, posted an Instagram story showing her support for the “BlockOut2024” movement.

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Screenshot 2024-05-12 025344  In a series of stories afterward, Owda re-posted multiple lists created by another prominent account, @landpalestine, naming celebrities to be blocked. Among those names were the official Instagram handles of BTS and BLACKPINK. The latter group’s member, Lisa‘s personal Instagram handle, was also included

Fan Response

After Owda made the posts, it stirred up the K-Pop fandoms, especially BTS fans, who have been divided over HYBE’s association with Zionism for a while now. On the one hand, some fans felt that the list unfairly targeted BTS, who are currently enlisted in the military and, hence, are probably bound by stricter state laws that restrict them from making statements about the issue.

On the other, many felt that this was unavoidable, especially due to HYBE’s refusal to represent BTS in their absence and respond to divestment calls with even closer ties with popular Zionist figures in the industry.

While some fans who disagreed kept their arguments related to BTS’s enlistment, some went so far as to question the authenticity of Bisan Owda’s stance on the matter. They were, however, swiftly shot down with reminders that Owda is currently in Gaza amidst bombs and tanks that are taking civilian lives every minute, and as someone living the ground reality of this catastrophe, she has every right to call for necessary action.

Some K-Pop fans have also responded with an extended list of K-Pop artists to add to this blocklist, arguing that though BTS and BLACKPINK are the most popular ones overseas, other idols and artists are also guilty of the same silence as them.

You can read more about BTS fandom’s dissatisfaction with HYBE and their response here.

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