BTS: “Filter” and Songwriter SA Allegations

Official art for BTS’s upcoming anthology album, ‘Proof’. Copyright goes to BTS and Hybe Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

As a blog that tries to keep up with BTS news, we try our best to keep things light and entertaining. But that doesn’t mean we can skip out on important discussions happening in the fandom. So let’s talk “Filter”. ‘Proof’ has been a bit of a controversial topic in the fandom so far. There was a large debate around the reveal that it’s going to be an analogy album, with ARMYs voicing disappointment, frustration that other ARMYs were disappointed, and debating whether or not it was ok to have any sort of opinion on it at all. Debates started up again once the third disc was revealed to be CD only despite the phasing out of CDs overall. And now those who have been following the Bobby Jung situation in South Korea have voiced their concerns over the decision to put “Filter” on the album. We’ve discussed some of the other controversies around ‘Proof’ already on this blog, so if you’re interested, feel free to check our last post on ‘Proof’ out. For this post, I’ll just be covering the Bobby Jung situation. TRIGGER WARNING: I have to talk about the sexual assault, though I won’t go into much detail.

Bobby Jung:

Bobby Jung is a former member of the indie group ‘Autumn Vacation’ and a songwriter who has worked with Big Hit/Hybe on multiple TXT and BTS projects. To be clear for BTS fans, he’s worked on “Love Maze”, “I’m Fine”, “Home”, “DreamGlow”, “Answer: Love Myself”, “134340”, and “Filter”. He’s also currently on trial for sexually assaulting multiple women as well as filming them without their consent. Though he hasn’t yet been convicted, it’s really not looking good for him and he’s already been dropped from all the projects he was involved in. He worked on all of the BTS songs above before this information came out, meaning that the issue here isn’t that Hybe worked with him knowing what kind of a person he was. However, putting a song he worked on in BTS’s newest album seems like a tone deaf move to many fans. There’s really a lot to consider when it comes to this situation though, and not all fans feel its right to advocate for leaving it off of the album. I’ll talk about the different takes on this situation below, but keep in mind that the most important voices to listen to right now are SA survivors.

The Pro-“Filter” Argument:

This argument isn’t based around a disregard for the women hurt by Bobby Jung. This argument is mostly based around the advocation for the other creatives who worked on this song. First there’s Jimin, who has said that he picked “Filter” to feature on the album himself, although we can all pretty well guess that Hybe had a say in what was chosen for ‘Proof’ as well. “Filter” has always been a point of pride for Jimin. All of the members do a lot of work on their solo songs and feel that the songs they work on individually highlight each of their artistic personalities in ways other songs don’t. Jimin has said that he feels this way about “Filter”, and the lyrics were specifically written to reflect the different sides of him that he wants to present to the fans. Though he didn’t write the lyrics himself, Namjoon has said that Jimin took it upon himself to figure out the concept and to piece the song together. To many ARMYs it feels wrong to strip such a personal project away from him, especially after he’s expressed how much he wants to perform it for ARMYs. Putting Jimin aside, there were also nine other songwriters who worked on “Filter”, making it unlikely that Bobby Jung contributed anything substantial to the song. Many feel it doesn’t make sense to condemn the work of so many people simply because of one person. Some have also suggested that as a collective, music fans should be working towards ensuring those convicted of sexual assault can’t receive royalties for the things they worked on. I personally agree that we should be working towards this goal instead of holding artists accountable who weren’t involved with the situation, but this is a major systemic change that will take time.

The Anti-“Filter” Argument:

First off, sexual assault survivors still deal with being ignored, made fun of, and disbelieved all over the world. Right now it’s more important than ever that big companies like Hybe show support to SA survivors, and many fans argue that taking “Filter” off of ‘Proof’ would do that. Others argue that ARMY has come after groups who were similarly attached to abusers, making it hypocritical for them not to hold Hybe accountable for associating with Bobby Jung. Still others think Hybe should just take Bobby Jung’s name out of the credits. Unfortunately, taking Jung’s name out of the credits for the song is impossible unless the systemic change I discussed above occurs. But waiting for that change, to those in this group, would take too long and isn’t realistic for the present moment.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. I personally am really sympathetic to all of the other people who worked not just on “Filter”, but all of the other songs I listed that Jung was involved with. But I’m not a sexual assault survivor and I can’t add the nuance to this conversation that those individuals can. I do agree, however, that Hybe should acknowledge this controversy rather than avoiding it altogether. Even if they don’t take “Filter” off of the album, declaring support for the people who have been hurt and showing genuine concern for the situation would still be an important move. Lets hope they listen to ARMYs and break their silence soon!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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