HYBE apologizes for controversial body searches at &TEAM fan signing event

HYBE apologizes for controversial body searches at &TEAM fan signing event
via Hybe Labels
Daniel Anderson
July 10, 2023
K-pop entertainment company HYBE has issued a formal apology after facing criticism for inappropriate body searches conducted at an offline fan signing event for their rookie boy band, &TEAM.
About the event: The event was held on Saturday at the CTS Art Hall in Seoul for the release of &TEAM’s second EP, “First Howling: We,” which dropped in June. &TEAM are a nine-member Japanese boy group formed by HYBE Labels Japan.
The controversy and searches: Shortly after the fansign event concluded, some attendees alleged that they were asked to move to a separate area where they were instructed to “raise their clothes” for inspections to find hidden prohibited items, such as electronic recording devices. The complaints gained significant attention on social media, with one user expressing surprise at having their bra searched during a fan signing event and another claiming security was probing and touching fans’ underwear.
HYBE’s apology: On Sunday, an apology was issued not by HYBE directly, but by Weverse Shop, a subsidiary of HYBE focusing on album and merchandise sales.

Hello, this is Weverse Shop. We would like to apologize to the fans who attended &TEAM’s in-person fan signing event on July 8 regarding the security body check that was carried out by female security guards. Fan signing events are a place where artists and fans talk one-on-one, and if recordings are leaked to the public, it might not be good for the fan and the artist. So to prevent such a situation from arising, we have always strictly limited [fans from] bringing in electronic equipment that makes recording possible. Up until now, many fans have actively cooperated with this practice.

They emphasized that the search was to prevent attendees from bringing in hidden recording devices but clarified that it is “not an acceptable excuse for making fans uncomfortable.” The Weverse Shop statement concluded with a vow to introduce contact-free methods for security checks to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Fans’ reaction: HYBE’s statement has been met with ire from netizens, with some claiming the statement comes across as victim blaming and that the company should have utilized metal detectors.
“A simple apology for behavior that is not a mistake but an act of harassment,” one fan tweeted. “Even pointing out that it was female security doing it? It makes violating a human being’s intimate and personal space more tolerable? Shame on you!”
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