Earlier this month, during the 2022 FESTA Dinner, BTS announced that they would be taking some time out of group music venues and focusing on pursuing solo music. While HYBE and the members confirmed several times that they would still be doing group activities, many outlets and influential figures have taken the word “hiatus” as an end.
One of those people who has recently gained attention for their comments about the group is Chairman Lee Jayeon of Korea’s Singer Association.
For many, it isn’t surprising that BTS is seen as one of the leading factors in the rise of K-Pop globally, whether it is bringing in tourism or just highlighting the beauty of the industry.
Unsurprisingly, ARMYs were sad about the announcement but shared their excitement about the new stage in the members’ careers. They also emphasized that after so long, it was time for the members to take time out to focus on themselves, especially after the members revealed the hardships they were going through.
With all of this in mind, ARMYs raised their anger when Lee Jayeon released a statement asking BTS to reconsider its “hiatus” from group promotions.
In the statement, she described them as the “Greatest cultural soft power the world has ever known.” Yet, it was her belief that BTS’s break would mean the end of the Hallyu Wave (or the Korean Wave.)
As difficult as it was for there to be ‘The Next Beatles,’ it is difficult to anticipate ‘The Next BTS,’ and thus, I am afraid that the Hallyu Wave will cease. Although I know it was a difficult decision to make, I would like to ask that you reconsider the decision for the sake of Korea’s music industry.
— Lee Jayeon
As soon as the statement was released, ARMYs shared their anger about the statement, and the phrases “LEAVE THEM ALONE” and “BTSItsOkayToRest” started trending worldwide.
In the tweets, ARMYs and netizens worldwide shared that, despite the comments and their initial shock, they were okay for the group to take some time off. In particular, many posted all of the achievements and busy schedules the group has had since debuting in 2013, showcasing how hectic their lives have been.
9 years, 16 albums, 2 ONU speeches, Unicef Love Yourself campaign, meeting with the president of the US, Order of Cultural Merit, Moon’s Special Envoys, 5 years as Honorary Ambassadors for Seoul, over 450 awards, 6 Hot100 #1s & hundreds of records broken.#BTSitsokaytorest pic.twitter.com/NpKr0FLajU
— JRJ-OT7-Ready For Chapter 2 (@LetsBeGoodHuman) June 22, 2022
what the….they need this break, they've been working nonstop for 9 years, leave them alone
— jk.97 (@jeonIves) June 22, 2022
While others raised concerns that BTS is being used as the leading force to drive the Hallyu Wave, even if it was at the expense of the members’ mental health. It seemed as if the desire for BTS to not take some time off wasn’t for their own good, but for that of the music industry, and it was treating BTS as products rather than humans.
For the future of SK's music industry?? BTS are HUMAN, not a product!! They've been running nonstop for the past 9 years. They are human too, who also need break. There also many kpop idols/group that their fans said "king of kpop" or "queen of kpop". Use them and leave BTS alone pic.twitter.com/O7WwBI8Ecz
— k ⁷ 🪐 (@jinniesrare) June 22, 2022
how selfish and disturbing of the media to guilt-trip humans for resting after their burnout from working NONSTOP FOR 9 YEARS??? LEAVE THEM ALONE.
— bri⁷ • 🐨🌱 (@iSwoonforJoon) June 22, 2022
Wow, what the actual… I literally have zero words. The audacity. To actually tell someone, put a pause on what's good for your mental health…because we want to use your more, and not give you anything in return. I-
— 𝓛𝓤𝓛𝓤 ⁷ ⟭⟬ BTS ⟬⟭ ᴾʳᵒᵒᶠ connected to 7G ²⁰¹³ (@lsgrlr) June 22, 2022
for the future of South Korea's music industry???? WTF THEY ARE ALSO A HUMAN AND FOR WORKING UPON DECADES THEY ALSO DESERVE TO REST. For God's sake why should they reconsider their decision. JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE#BTSItsOkayToRest pic.twitter.com/uSr4lXPjHO
— 🦋⁷0610 (@Wings_Tear7) June 22, 2022
Over the years, despite working endlessly, BTS has always encouraged ARMYs to take time out if things get overwhelming. In one interview with Weverse, Jin shared the importance of taking time out for yourself. It seems as if BTS are taking their own advice, and it’s upsetting for fans to see the backlash because of it.
People might wonder why you’re doing things that won’t help you in life, but I think that time’s important for everyone. Society is always out the things that are useful. And that’s good, too, but for our own sake, I think we require time to find stability in our own minds, even if it looks useless in the eyes of others.
In the FESTA Dinner, RM also revealed that the lack of time away from working was a huge issue in the K-Pop industry.
But the problem with K-Pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature. You have to keep producing music and keep doing something.
From the minute the members made the announcement, they emphasized that it isn’t the end of BTS at all. With group schedules, such as Run BTS!, the members just want a chance to try their own music and find their identities again after nearly a decade in the limelight.
You can read the full statement from Lee Jayeon below.