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WM Entertainment Issues Statement In Response To B1A4's Malaysian Fan Meeting Controversy

By Adrienne Stanley | January 13, 2015 05:25 PM EST

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B1A4 and the Malaysian audience members who interacted with them at a recent fan meeting are coming under fire by officials in the nation for alleged inappropriate behavior.

As K-pop continues to spread to countries such as Malaysia, maintaining cultural sensitivity has become more difficult. WM Entertainment and B1A4 have recently come under fire by netizens and officials in Malaysia for personal contact which occurred during a fan meeting which was held on January 10.

There were one thousand fans present for the gathering. The controversy surrounding B1A4 involves incidents where members of the group hugged, back hugged, and held hands with female audiences members who were wearing hijabs or Muslim headdress.

WM Entertainment addressed the situation through a Newsen on January 13. News outlet Enews reported and translated this statement. According to Enews, the WM Entertainment representative stated, “We carried out an event in which five out of many fans were chosen to reenact scenes from dramas.”

WM Entertainment expressed their surprise at the backlash regarding the event stating, “For future fan meetings abroad, we will be more considerate and more cautious of the local culture, so we can all be able to enjoy it together."

The fans who were selected to interact with B1A4 were selected, in advance of the event. WM Entertainment acknowledged that some of the participants were Muslim and the host of the event requested their permission prior to the fan meeting.

TGM Events, the organizer of the fan meeting, issued an official statement on their Facebook page on January 11. TGM Events also expressed their surprise at the claims of inappropriate behavior during the event.

Malaysia has one of the largest Muslim populations in Southeast Asia; Islam is considered the religion of the nation but the country is governed under what is known as English common law.

With this somewhat blurred line between religion and law, there have been calls for criminal disciplinary action to be taken against the Muslim girls who were on-stage with B1A4.

The popularity of K-pop in Malaysia has raised issues within the Islamic community in the country, in the past. Fans in Malaysia were concerned about a 2014 stop of 2NE1’s All or Nothing Tour following controversy surrounding the sampling of a Muslim prayer chant during performances of CL’s song “MTBD.”

While controversy gets the most attention, there have been positive aspects of K-pop’s participation in Malaysia. Famous Muslim fans of K-pop in Malaysia include Shilah Amzah, who participated in mainland China’s franchise of “I am a Singer” in 2014. Shilah Amzah performed on “I am a Singer” while wearing her hijab and has publicly proclaimed her admiration of the K-pop group EXO.

Tagged :  B1A4, WM Entertainment

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