Underaged K-Pop Idol Gets Non-Consensually Hugged And Touched By A Fan, Sparking A Discussion About Fan-Idol Boundaries

“How can you just disrespect him like that?”

K-Pop fans are blessed to be in a fandom where idols being active with fans is the norm. Idols sometimes spend hours interacting with fans via social media and in person during fan meets and concerts. Still, the lines can sometimes become blurred for fans, causing personal boundaries to be broken physically and emotionally. This recently happened with P1Harmony‘s Jongseob.

P!Harmony’s Jongseob | FNC Entertainment

P1Harmony are currently on their 2nd U.S. tour, 2023 P1Harmony LIVE TOUR [P1ustage H : P1ONEER]. Fans have been able to enjoy seeing the idols up close and personal as they perform in each city.

| FNC Entertainment

During the shows, group members will hop off the stage and go into the crowds to get closer to fans — often performing fan service live, completing hearts, and posing for cameras.

While members were walking around off-stage during their Washington DC stop, a fan seemed to leave their seat and approach Jongseob, who was in the middle of an aisle.

The fan had their arms outstretched as though asking for a hug, and Jongseob stands for a few moments before stepping forward as the fan pulled him into a hug.

After backing out of the hug, Jongseob turned around, and the fan touched him again, sticking their hand into his hair and ruffling it. It seems like they tried to approach Intak but were stopped by security before getting close enough.

Fans who attended the show shared clips of the moment online, where it quickly went viral. Many understood the desire of feeling close enough to your idol to want to hug them but thought that this should not have happened as it is an invasion of their personal boundaries.

Respecting K-Pop idols’ boundaries, both physically and emotionally, is a topic that has been discussed repeatedly. Fans have previously discussed the problems with trauma dumping on K-Pop stars and the negative impact that not respecting boundaries with idols can potentially have.

Idol-fan relationships can feel much closer and more personal than they are, causing fans to forget they are strangers to the idol because of the one-sided bonds that can form with K-Pop groups. These one-sided bonds, called parasocial relationships, can cause things to happen, like fans hugging an idol they feel like they really know.

According to many mental health experts, not respecting idols’ personal boundaries can be unhealthy and dehumanizing since it shows them that the parasocial relationship takes precedence over their humanity.

Interactions between idols and fans are a core and endearing part of K-Pop and its fandom. If we treat all idols with the love and respect they deserve, hopefully, these interactions will continue in the years to come.