BTS fans demand removal of HYBE America CEO for supporting Israel

HYBE Chairman Bang Si-hyuk, left, and HYBE America CEO Scooter Braun / Courtesy of HYBE

Numerous fans of K-pop boy band BTS are urging HYBE, its management company, to remove the CEO of its American unit for allegedly supporting Israel during its ongoing conflict with Hamas in Palestine’s Gaza Strip. In the latest development, some fans sent a truck to HYBE headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Feb. 23, to vent their discontent while advocating for the dismissal of HYBE America CEO Scooter Braun. “Korean and International ARMY (BTS’ global fan base) demand HYBE divests from Zionism and Zionists in the industry,” read the message displayed on the screen of the truck.

“If our demands are not met, ARMY will continue to push for you to meet our demands. Do not look away when the same thing that happened to your Korean ancestors is happening to Palestinians. We ask that you stand for humanity, for the right side of history and against violence.” On Dec. 24, Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, known in English as Israel National News, shared a three-minute video on YouTube featuring Braun delivering a speech in Israel, calling for Palestine to release its hostages. On Oct. 7, 2023, more than 360 people were reportedly killed by Hamas fighters at the Nova music festival site in southern Israel and at least 40 were taken hostage.

“A week ago, I woke up and I said I had to go to Israel because I had to stand with my people,” Braun said in the video. “They (the hostages) need to come home now. I know many international communities are confused and they are getting bombarded with all kinds of information, but there shouldn’t be one conversation that doesn’t start with the hostages coming home now … We will not stop using our voices. We will not stay quiet.” Braun is American, but he said that his grandmother was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was operated by Nazi Germany during World War II. He is among many American celebrities and entertainment figures who are believed to have expressed support for Israel.

Many BTS fans — who think Braun has undermined the message of diversity and inclusivity that the septet has conveyed through its music — are strongly calling for the CEO’s removal, but HYBE has responded by distancing itself from the controversy. Regarding Braun’s remarks, the Korean entertainment giant said, “It is a personal statement that is separate from company management.” The label has not commented on the recent truck protest .In 2021, HYBE merged with American record label Ithaca Holdings, which was established by Braun in 2013. In January 2023, Braun, who previously managed some of the most celebrated pop stars like Justin Bieber and 카지노사이트킹 Ariana Grande, was named the sole CEO of HYBE America.

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