(Photo : Twitter) The allegiations against Kim Hyun Joong regarding possible physical abuse involving his former girlfriend are disturbing. For many international K-Pop fans, the fact that Kim Hyun Joong continues to tour around the world is even more disconcerting.
However, it is not the fact that he is a Hallyu star that he is receiving special treatment, but the overall issue of his celebrity status. If Kim Hyun Joong were a celebrity in America, he would probably continue to be on tour, unless a video of the alleged abuse surfaced.
Americans appear to have a difficult time justifying support for celebrities who are in the midst of scandals, but can also have a realitively high tolerance for scandals in general.
Many American audiences continue to support celebrities even when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing. For example, rapper Chris Brownhas not witnessed an increase in music sales since his alleged abuse of pop star Rihanna, but his numbers have not drastically decreased either. He remains a commercially viable artist.
While he is not in the midst of an abuse scandal, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber witnessed a display on Tuesday night which attests to his growing unpopularity in the United States. Over the years, Bieber has amassed a rap sheet of criminal charges and allegations, which would prevent most Canadians from entrance into America.
Justin Bieber made a guest appearance during the live taping of Fashion Rocks which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on September 9. Justin Bieber was bolstered by the headlining appearance of his mentor, Usher. Fashion Rocks provided the perfect opportunity for him to reach his target demographic, young pop music fans.
Bieber popped out to provide an introduction which started with lukewarm applause but led to resounding booing from thousands of viewers. As someone who was in the audience, I could not help but feel a mix of emotions - mostly embarassment - for Bieber, tinged with the feeling that he was on the receiving end of what he deserved.
If the booing were not embarassing enough, Justin Bieber stripped down to his red Calvin Klein branded undies, in an attempt to gain more attention from the audience. Sadly, this stunt does not deflect from the growing displeasure of American fans regarding his on-going antics and run ins with law enforcement.
What does this incident have to do with Kim Hyun Joong and the growing tide of discontent surrounding his alleged abuse? For Justin Bieber, the disapproval took some time to grow and was not an immediate reaction from the public. He maintained a large part of his fan base, even as it became apparent that he was spiraling out of control. A 2014 article in "New York Magazine"examined the beginning of the push back against Justin Bieber to the bottom of the spiral which has led to booing en masse.
The similarity between Justin Bieber and Kim Hyun Joong is that even though they each face allegations of varying crimes, their celebrity status has allowed for treatment beyond what is provided to the normal citizen. Even though Kim Hyun Joong admitted that he did engage in physical violence against his former girlfriend on one occasion, it appears as though he has received preferential treatment as a celebrity. It is this sense of entitlement that has plagued Justin Bieber and is currently marking the career of Kim Hyun Joong.
On the surface, it is easy to blame the Korean entertainment industry and media for Kim Hyun Joong"s ability to continue touring and performing. Media outlets in tour stops such a Lima, Peru refrained from covering his scandal and highlighted the positive aspects of his performance.
For many Americans who are viewing his scandal from afar, the sentiment that he would not get away with a similar incident in the U.S., reamins strong. However, one only needs to look to the scandal surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, to gain perspective.
Ray Riceinitially received a two game suspension from the NFL (National Football League) following allegations of physical abuse against his wife, who was his fiancee at the time of the incident.
Pressure against the NFL and the Ravens continued to mount, once a video which allegedly showed Ray Rice dragging then-girlfriend, now wife Janay Palmer from an elevator surfaced. The allegations and the actions involved reached a climax when media outlet TMZ revealed a video tape in which Ray Rice allegedly punches Janay, rendering her unconcious. Until the release of this video, the Baltimore Ravens and many fans continued to support Ray Rice.
In the situation surrounding Kim Hyun Joong, there is no videotaped evidence, only a photograph which was revealed by media outlet Dispatch on August 27. The photograph details the alleged bruises of his former girlfriend, who is being referred to as "A." It should be noted that Dispatch, like TMZ, is a tabloid media outlet.
While many thought this photo would be the final straw for Kim Hyun Joong, he reported to the police station, endured lengthy questioning, and went on with his tour. The punishment he will face following his police statement remains unclear.
Speculation of whether or not he will be able to revive his career in Korea is on-going, but there have not been widespread domestic protests or boycotts against him.
The allegations surrounding Kim Hyun Joong and the way in which the case is being handled, continues to be disconcerting. The case strongly contrasts against the extortion allegations currently being faced by GLAM"s Dahee. Dahee is significantly less famous than actor Lee Byung Hun. She admitted to the allegations and responded to an arrest warrant.
This juxtaposition of justice should be disturbing to most on-lookers, particularly women. Extortion allegations by a less popular female idol against a major actor leads to an arrest warrant and a halt in promotional activities. Abuse allegations against Hallyu star Kim Hyun Joong lead to a summons from the police, hours of questioning, and the ability to appear before an uninformed audience in Peru.