Fans accuse HYBE’s team for s*xual harassment during &TEAM’s offline fan-sign checking

HYBE
HYBE's employees accused of serious sexual harassment allegations by attendees of &TEAM's offline fan sign (Images via Facebook/HYBE and Twitter/andTEAMluneGBL)

HYBE, one of the top and biggest entertainment labels in South Korea is under fire for alleged s*xual harassment. K-pop group &TEAM recently held their offline fan sign, where a few randomly selected fans had the chance to meet and engage with them. However, the day allegedly turned traumatic as many fans accused the checking team of touching them inappropriately.

Trigger warning: Details of s*xual harassment.

On July 8, multiple Korean fans took to Twitter and noted their unfortunate experiences with HYBE’s team during the undergarment search for females. Twitter user @bbokbogi mentioned their surprise at having a bra check at a fan sign and said that it was the first time that they saw someone do it. They even shared that the team would say that they would touch the breasts and immediately do the same.

Translation via Koreaboo: "Wow, it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had someone check my bra at a fan sign event. My mom doesn’t even touch my breasts…"
Translation via Koreaboo: "Wow, it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had someone check my bra at a fan sign event. My mom doesn’t even touch my breasts…"
Translation via Koreaboo: "They actually say, ‘I’m going to touch your breasts now' and suddenly touch them."
Translation via Koreaboo: "They actually say, ‘I’m going to touch your breasts now' and suddenly touch them."

HYBE under hot waters as fans allege s*xual harassment at the &TEAM’s fan sign checking event

Rookie group &TEAM held their offline fan sign meet for their 2nd EP, First Howling: WE, on July 8, 2023. While it was expected to be a fun, enjoyable day for fans, it turned out to be a distressing event for many. Some fans accused the assigned team for s*xual harassment and touching their chests inappropriately, feigning a necessary check-up.

As per fans on Twitter, the team apparently was checking undergarments to see if they had any recording devices. Some fans who attended the fan sign mentioned their harassment on the microblogging app, leading to heavy criticism against HYBE.

It seemed that Twitter user @bbokbogi’s post gave others the courage to come forward and share their experiences. In a quote-retweet, @chukiatte mentioned that it felt like the person in charge of checking was "caressing" their breasts.

Translation via Koreaboo: “They pressed my upper breast than my lower breast, it was almost like they were caressing them. I was so shocked I said, ’This is just my breast…’”
Translation via Koreaboo: “They pressed my upper breast than my lower breast, it was almost like they were caressing them. I was so shocked I said, ’This is just my breast…’”

Another user, @haruaotaku, also quoted and tweeted about their experience. They detailed the alleged harassment by HYBE’s employees. They mentioned how the employees didn't let them go back to their seats.

Translation via Koreaboo: “They said they would touch my breasts and then used the side of their hand to touch between my breasts. They touched both upper and lower breasts and said they didn’t think it was wire. They also didn’t let you go back to your seat after the search because they think that you might hide something and bring it when you come back.”
Translation via Koreaboo: “They said they would touch my breasts and then used the side of their hand to touch between my breasts. They touched both upper and lower breasts and said they didn’t think it was wire. They also didn’t let you go back to your seat after the search because they think that you might hide something and bring it when you come back.”

More fans came up to support the original Twitter user’s claims. Twitter user @kogaKfan shared that they felt like their “human rights were at rock bottom” when they were forced to lift their shirt and someone saw them getting searched after a person opened the door.

Translation via Koreaboo: "Wow the undergarment search….they touched my breasts and asked, ’It’s a watch, right?’ and dragged me to a smaller area and told me to lift my shirt. I felt pressured so I did as I was told but then someone opened the door so some random person saw me while getting searched. I was so embarrassed and it felt like my human rights were at rock bottom"
Translation via Koreaboo: "Wow the undergarment search….they touched my breasts and asked, ’It’s a watch, right?’ and dragged me to a smaller area and told me to lift my shirt. I felt pressured so I did as I was told but then someone opened the door so some random person saw me while getting searched. I was so embarrassed and it felt like my human rights were at rock bottom"

Another attendee, who wished to remain anonymous, posted on a website called Spinspin and accused the HYBE employee of behaving like a “pervert.”

Translation via Koreaboo: “Does this even make sense? I had nipple patches on and the bra checker was so annoying…they touched my breasts and back and said, ‘Nothing?’ and acted like a pervert…and I said in a soft voice, ‘I have on a nipple patch…” (Image via Twitter/joversclub)
Translation via Koreaboo: “Does this even make sense? I had nipple patches on and the bra checker was so annoying…they touched my breasts and back and said, ‘Nothing?’ and acted like a pervert…and I said in a soft voice, ‘I have on a nipple patch…” (Image via Twitter/joversclub)

The incident led fans across the world to rally against HYBE. They demanded that the company punish the employees in charge of &TEAM’s fan sign event. Many even discussed how the majority of the attendees could have been minors since &TEAM is a new rookie group. They stood up in solidarity with the alleged victims and demanded action from HYBE.

No official statement was made by HYBE regarding the serious allegations against its employees at the time of writing this article.

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Edited by Dev Sharma