Western music industry is quite open when it comes to dating, such news when revealed is usually met with cheer or shrugged off since no one really cares about that.
The rules are very different for K-Pop though where it is often frowned upon for celebrities or rather K-pop stars to be openly dating.
In an industry where the stars are marketed as objects over whom their fans have the ultimate say and are their ideal fantasy partner, the actual ‘idols’ often cannot have their own private lives.
Dating is a big deal, that can even lead to the end of one’s career in K-pop and so idols many times just hide their relationships from the public eye. Many agencies and companies that handle these artists also have dating bans where it is put in their contract itself of how the artist cannot date for a number of years.
But that doesn’t mean dating does not happen, idols still find a way around all these obstacles and try to be together if they like each other. Secret meetings, hidden messages and more are used.
However, they often forget that Dispatch, a Korean tabloid magazine, that is similar to the American TMZ, is still there. Dispatch reports on the private and unseen life of various South Korean celebrities by posting their photos, some taken legally while most are taken secretly without the consent of the artist.
Dispatch’s New Year Ritual
Dispatch is known for exposing people from the Korean entertainment industry for doing things that are not accepted by the public.
Most of the time this includes dating news and other bad behaviours which they get by violating the privacy of these stars and taking photos illicitly.
While they do this year round, perhaps it is their ritual of exposing a high-profile celebrity couple every New Year that is the most talked about.
Starting from 2008, Dispatch has almost every year on the 1st of January, revealed a new couple that is dating at the time. In 2013 the news of Kim TaeHee the actress & Rain an artist and music producer was revealed by Dispatch. After that in 2014, they exposed Lee SeungGi & SNSD’s YoonA while in 2016 it was JYJ’s XIA Junsu & EXID’s Hani, both from the K-pop industry.
In 2017 they did not expose any couple since there was a political scandal taking the spot involving former president of South Korea Park Geun Hye and Choi Soon Sil.
In 2018, Dispatch revealed that one of the biggest K-pop artists G-Dragon of YG Entertainment was dating Jooyeon who was a former member of girl group After School.
And in 2019 they revealed two of the biggest stars of K-pop Kai from EXO and Jennie from Black Pink to be dating.
While EXO is one of the most popular boyband, Jennie is not only part of one of the highest-charting female K-pop groups but also recently launched her first solo single titled ‘SOLO’.
Also, Kai and Jennie are apparently the 33rd couple that Dispatch has exposed from 2008 to 2018.
Where YG Entertainment, Jennie’s agency said that “We were not aware of the relationship,” in their official statement, Kai’s agency SM Entertainment confirmed the relationship in a statement saying, “Kai and Jennie have become fond of each other.”
The couple was apparently caught by Dispatch last November when they were out on a supposed date to Haneul Park.
Is It Morally Correct?
Dispatch exposing these couples without their consent or approval is a grave invasion of their privacy.
And it is not just during the New Year’s that they do this, in fact, it goes year-around. Apart from dating news Dispatch has also revealed the news of entertainer Noh Hong-chul drunk driving while participating in a Korean variety show called Infinite Challenge.
Apparently, as per some people on Twitter (this is not confirmed in any way), Dispatch usually approaches the agency and managers of the artist in question and give them the option to either pay them or let the news be leaked.
dispatch claims they have 4 other couples that they're preparing to leak, so remember this.
when dispatch gets info on an idol, the management is contacted and they have the option to pay to have it go away or to allow it to be leaked. this is NOT news to YG in the slightest.
— hiatus (@darIingyves) January 1, 2019
There is absolutely nothing right in such a major invasion of privacy of someone’s life especially if it can affect their career.
Perhaps the only good thing that Dispatch has done is promise that they will never expose an LGBT couple. Considering how close-minded South Korea still remains to this community, it is a small compensation in the grand scheme of things.
But even for heterosexual couples, it can be quite harmful and is taking away even the smallest decision of when to reveal their relationship.
I’ve noticed that couples exposed by Dispatch often break-up after a few months, or at the most a year later. Though they state various reasons like busy schedules and more, but the shock of being outed like that and the almost always negative reaction that comes with the dating news, drop in fans and more can lead to issues between the couple.
How It Is Harmful
Dispatch does not seem to realise how badly such exposing can affect the public image of the artist and even their work.
A lot of the times, fans leave the artist once they find out they are dating, and/or get really obsessive to the point of threatening the artist, their partner and even themselves.
I’ve taken a look at how hostile fans can get when they hear their idols are dating in this piece (Why & How K-Pop Fans Get Almost Hostile If They Find Out That Their Idols Are Even In A ‘Normal Relationship’)
There are some who are actually taking this seriously like it deserves to be taken:
Even though I'm happy for Jongin, fuck Dispatch as always for invading people's privacy. Really can't get any lower than to make it a yearly ritual to expose people for being happy together.
— 닉히 (@gomtokkiss) January 1, 2019
but fr tho, i Stan #JenKai and I fully support them as a couple. Sadly #Dispatch are planning to expose 4 other idol couples, I just hope everyone handles it well and support these idols no matter what.
Dispatch really should’ve been left in 2018 (and YG too)
— jas (@sugathread) January 1, 2019
What kinda upsets me is that Dispatch couldn’t even give them privacy and the opportunity to announce their relationship BY THEMSELVES You can’t expose them like that. Anyways Jenkai is so cute. If it is true I’ll defend Jennie and Kai and give the respect they deserve. #Dispatch
— Jizzle🌱⋈ ~Xiumin:marshmallow (@Jooheonsdimple3) January 1, 2019
yall ugly if ur asking dispatch to expose gay couples. whatever dispatch is doing is wrong no one deserves that esp in an industry like south korea’s!! like idol dating is alrdy so taboo WHY would u want a gay couple to be exposed
— hoseok love bot (@filmvnte) January 1, 2019
It pisses me off that ppl want Dispatch to "expose" Apink. They threaten companies & idols to get money & if It dont work they reveal it all & Its f&%$ing disgusting and yall should be against that shit. If the girls want to tell us, ok but if not it's none of our business!
— %%Apinkjang%% (@grc_fbii) January 1, 2019
y’all who are like “i hope dispatch expose [insert lgbt ships]” are so obviously fetishising gay relationships. you have absolutely no idea how terrrifying being forcefully outed/forced to come out is. its not fictional, it’s real life, these people are real. stop being weird.
— ًlex⁹⁵ (@aweseoks) January 1, 2019
According to reports, some fans have even taken the step to end Dispatch by creating a government petition.
The official The Blue House website currently has petitions like ‘Please shut down Dispatch which violates celebrities’ privacy’; ‘Demanding the shutdown of Dispatch’; ‘Dispatch is violating privacy,’ with people claiming how Dispatch has violated the privacy of these stars.
Why Do People Still Support It Though?
It is even more concerning when fans or K-pop followers themselves start to look forward to such exposes.
They either joke about it, or ask Dispatch to reveal their favourite couples or artists whom they want to know more of.
While it might be harmless from the side of the fan, for Dispatch this clearly means a ready and willing audience who will gobble up whatever they put out there and it is only encouraging them to do it more often.
The negative consequences with couples like HyunA and E-Dawn of Pentagon; Baekhyun of EXO and Taeyeon of Girl’s Generation are clear for everyone to see.
So seeing such tweets that are encouraging and asking Dispatch to expose more couples is a little troubling:
So according to some realiable sources #JenKai or Jennie and Kai's dating news doesn't have much of an impact in korea so we be better prepared for Dispatch's next revelation cuz the next couple expose prolly gonna be big and I'm suspecting it my be in TWICE, BTS or Redvelvet
— TzuWICE (@miforevertzu) January 1, 2019
If you were Dispatch, which couple would you “expose” next and what would be your receipts?
Comment away, shippers!!!!
— KRING KIM ⭐️ on Hallyutube [Link In Bio] (@KringKim) January 3, 2019
Can dispatch expose the current relationship status of WayV and NCT?
— 蓓卡 ♡ WAYV (@tensyang) January 3, 2019
Hopefully, though, it seems that the K-pop industry is changing for the better seeing how the news of Kai and Jennie dating was taken.
There were not really that many angry fans of either groups who denied the news or tried to dismiss it. Instead, a lot of them gave an extremely positive response to the news and wished good luck and well wishes to the new couple.
anybody who hates on kai or jennie for being human and dating is instantly cancelled. we’re leaving that toxic mindset that idols can’t date and be happy outside of their jobs in 2018.
— reena ♡ | d-5 (@KlNGTAEYEON) January 1, 2019
"SM Entertainment confirms EXO Kai and BLACKPINK Jennie are dating"
"They have good feelings towards each other"
I'M GENUINELY HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS!! I LOVE YOU
— ً (@addictivexo) January 1, 2019
So perhaps there are winds of change among the fans and how they deal with such news.
What do you think? Is Dispatch right in any of the exposing they do? Should they be stopped somehow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find the blogger at: @chirali_08