K-Pop: Mnet Needs To Go

Screenshot of Jung Yunho in ‘The Real’ MV. Copyright goes to ATEEZ and KQ Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

So, I initially wasn’t going to write about this topic today because nothing has been confirmed yet. But from past allegations we’ve seen about Mnet and more and more workers for the company coming out and confirming some stuff, I think this needs to be talked about. My sister and I have talked about the mistreatment of idols several times on our blog. Both by companies and fans themselves. And as more information comes out, it almost seems that no company treats idols quite as badly as Mnet. You might have seen all the trending tags on Twitter regarding several groups and especially what happened at the MAMAs (Mnet’s award show) this year, and if you haven’t I’m going to cover everything recently that happened with them and all the other allegations against Mnet. Because I will not stand to see any idols be treated this way. If any of this is even slightly true, which it looks like it is, this treatment of idols is nothing less than atrocious and almost monstrous.

BTS Clean Up:

So, I’m going to start out with this because it’s the least of the issues I want to talk about. Many fans were complaining that BTS won all of the major awards and some of the minor awards at the MAMAs and said that they wished BTS would leave awards to groups who need the recognition. I hate to say it, but we’re going to see this for a while and there’s nothing we can do about it. Obviously, I’m an ARMY and BTS is the main group that I stan, but I do also see that smaller groups need the awards more than BTS does. But the fact is, all the K-Pop centered awards shows have no choice but to acknowledge BTS and if they’re up for an award, they are probably going to win it. That’s just the way things are going to be for quite some time. I understand the frustration, but it all comes with how popular BTS has been and continues to be. BTS themselves have no control over their nominations or whether or not they win. So please don’t pin the blame on BTS themselves.

TXT Cut Off:

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get into the stuff we all can fully blame Mnet for cruel behavior for. TXT actually won an award at this year’s MAMAs, but that’s about all the respect that Mnet showed them. In a picture lineup for all the performances from this year Mnet conveniently left out TXT and also did very little to acknowledge Enhypen either, leading many fans to rightly accuse Mnet of having prejudice against HYBE groups. Most people already know that BTS was not present at this year’s awards. And we’ll see if HYBE even sends any of their groups there again after this year. The apparent prejudice continued when TXT won an award and went up to make their speech. American fans are definitely familiar with having heard that an award show purposely played out an artist before they were done with their acceptance speech. That’s exactly what was done here. And TXT had barely said anything before Mnet decided to essentially kick them off the stage, including turning the lights off on them. The microphones were also malfunctioning throughout TXT’s performance. Many people might think that this was just an accident and a technological problem, but history with Mnet makes this behavior suspicious. Because Mnet has been known to tamper with artists mics before, especially on their competition shows to try and make some artists have less votes than others. I’ll get back to that.

ATEEZ Snub:

I think we all know that ATEEZ performed at the MAMAs by now because they got some of the premiere performing slots. And their performances really blew up! I was especially proud as a Yunho bias that “that blonde guy from ATEEZ” started trending after their performances. Yay to more Yunho recognition! But many also noticed that ATEEZ weren’t actually nominated for any awards. Yes, you read that right. One of the most popular fourth generation groups was not even nominated for any of the awards. It wasn’t even that they just didn’t win any. And with ATEEZ’s rapidly increasing fanbase, especially internationally, it was clear that their performances were used much in the same way that the Grammys used BTS. They put them in premiere performance slots for the viewership of their fans without actually giving them anything in return. I have absolutely no idea why they would do this, but ATEEZ was definitely used. Yeosang also said that their mics were having issues, which is also not the best.

ATEEZ and ‘Kingdom’:

Oh, you thought the ATEEZ mistreatment was over? It’s actually ATEEZ information that’s getting Mnet in so much trouble right now. And part of that is because, right after their snub at the MAMAs, information on the full scale of how ATEEZ was treated on Mnet’s competition show ‘Kingdom’ was released. And the list of mistreatments toward ATEEZ by the Mnet staff is a long list. The first accusation claims that ATEEZ members were frequently yelled at to get them to do tasks faster. Most Atiny know that the filming of ‘Kingdom’ actually coincided with the release and promotion schedule for ATEEZ’s latest album at the time. ATEEZ members even admitted to only being able to sleep a couple hours on some nights and on others not having the time to sleep at all. I can’t even imagine having a schedule like that. And to hear that they were yelled at during all of this is even worse. But that’s not all. ATEEZ were given worse accommodations than every other group on the show, contrary to popular belief that Mnet was favoring them during the competition. They received the smallest dressing room of all the groups, they were often forced to eat their lunches on a tiny rooftop space, and (most notably) they were given the least comfortable accommodations for their reaction filming. Most other groups were given pretty luxury looking rooms with giant sofas, while ATEEZ’s room appeared to be small and they were all sitting in office chairs. This was something that people picked up on while watching the show because it was easy to notice the difference. This and the fact that their performance of ‘Rhythm Ta’ was actually cut to feature as much reactions as the performance itself, forcing Atinys to go to Mnet’s Youtube channel to watch any satisfactory length of the performance. On top of this, ATEEZ were not informed by Mnet that there would be a sports outdoor episode, so the members turned up in the wrong kind of clothing. And Mnet described ATEEZ as only having seven members and did no research on the member positions of the group or their ages. They even listed San as being a part of ‘The BOYZ’ on one occasion. Despite how good their performances looked, it is clear by this that they received no preferential treatment form Mnet and more than likely experienced the opposite.

Past Mess Ups:

I want to note that, though these instances are more recent, Mnet has done stuff like this in the past. For example, EXO fans were once told that they weren’t allowed to bring their lightsticks into the venue, which would have effectively given the group a black ocean. One of the worst performance reactions you can get as a K-Pop artist. The members of EXO were also overworked and treated poorly by staff. One member of the group was even forced to throw up into a water bottle on the side of the stage because he was sick from being overworked and Mnet staff wouldn’t let him off stage. EXO has not been back to the MAMAs since this incident. BTS fans will recall one performance of ‘Airplane Pt.2’ where the performance itself looked amazing but nobody could actually hear any of the boys because their mics were turned down so low. You would think that if this microphone thing wasn’t malicious, they would have done something to fix it after three years of this consistently happening. But none of this is new. Mnet has been treating idols horrendously for years. And we shouldn’t just forget about it until the next awful thing comes up.

If you take anything from this, please make sure that you stop consuming any and all Mnet content. And this is more than you think. Even I have had to be hyper aware of this. Just this morning I was watching Namjoon fancams and clicked on an Mnet one only to then realize what I had just done and immediately stop watching the video. Mnet is a huge channel on Youtube for fancams, so please stop watching their fancams and instead watch fancams by literally any other of the dozens of groups that film them as well. I would also highly recommend deleting ‘The Real’ by ATEEZ off of any downloads if it’s the one that was released on the ‘Kingdom’ album. ATEEZ just released their own version on their own album, so make sure to stream that one instead. We can’t keep letting Mnet get away with this horrendous treatment of idols. Idols are human beings, they aren’t robots. This has to stop now.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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