A Korean news site has apologized to Korean boy band BTS after it published a news story that maligned the group by casting doubt on their Billboard Music Awards win last May.
Xports News' story, written by reporter Jeon Won, was about the conviction of a marketing company CEO for blackmailing Big Hit Entertainment, the boy band's agency. The CEO demanded money from the agency and threatened that it would expose alleged illegal marketing tactics if it did not pay up.
The reporter also wrote that "with the accusations of illegal marketing practices, BTS' eligibility for the 'Top Social Artist' award comes to suspicion. The winner of the award is determined by the hashtag votes and BTS has received more than 300 million. However, some netizens are now questioning the legitimacy. If the marketing took place with the use of part-time employees (to increase votes), then it'll be fair for BTS to return the trophy."
BTS fans were outraged by the malicious and defamatory article that they trended the hashtag #엑스포츠_전원기자_사과해 (or #Xportsnews_reporter Jeonwon_apologize) on Twitter demanding that Xports News and Jeon Won apologize.
Xports finally admitted its mistake and issued an apology.
"On September 6 at 7:30 PM KST, Xsportsnews made a report related to BTS. The related article was an opinion piece by the reporter in a column format," it said.
It claimed that "the reporter found there was a problem with the news article's content immediately after reporting on it and deleted the article at 8:15 pm KST from our website, and the article was then deleted from other portal sites consecutively."
"We deeply apologize that the article's content contained a logical jump as well as for causing misunderstanding of the article as degrading to the related artist and fans' efforts, hurting them as a result. The newspaper had no intention to degrade the artist or fans effort with the news article. However, we sincerely apologize for hurting the artist and fans as a consequence. The newspaper will try to report more exact and balanced information from now forward by keeping this incident in mind," it concluded.