Why is ‘Cancel SUGA’ trending? BTS fans’ petition misnomer debunked

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BTS Suga’s Tour D-Day The Movie is releasing in theatres worldwide on April 10 and 13. However, instead of it being a moment of celebration, fans have doubled down on their proud moment of activism. Pro-Palestine protestors among the BTS ARMYs aren’t happy about the concert movie releasing at a particular location.

Theatrical poster for SUGA│Agust D TOUR ‘D-DAY’ THE MOVIE.

As more details about the cinematic premiere rolled out from HYBE’s side, fans were more disappointed about a certain location making it to the table than being upset about others not finding a spot. An extensive list of countries and their respective release dates were announced, and in these diverse listings, fans spotted Israel’s name too.

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Why is ‘Cancel SUGA’ trending?

Despite months of vigorously opposing the entertainment company’s associations with officials who are avid supporters of the Israel cause, all of BTS fans’ demands have been brushed off. In February, BTS fans kicked off their initial low-key boycott of HYBE merchandise. It ultimately fleshed out into a more open display of their pro-Palestine activism when fans sent a truck to the Seoul headquarters of the company, urging HYBE to dismiss its American unit’s CEO, Scooter Braun.

Meanwhile, an online campaign, #HYBEDivestFromZionism, took shape on social media. It hoped to spread awareness among the masses about how Braun’s alleged support of Israel went against everything that BTS’ overarching message of altruism stands for.

Also read | #HYBEDivestFromZionism explained: Why BTS fans want K-pop label’s American CEO Scooter Braun to be sacked

With the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the inherently linked outrageous mass destruction has resulted in Gaza’s death toll surpassing 32,900, with over 75,000 people reportedly injured since the ground invasion of Gaza began.

HYBE and Universal Music Group partnership

With Braun’s musical influence in their pocket, HYBE signed the exclusive distribution rights across HYBE artists for the next ten years to Universal Music Group. The March 26 report served as another nail in the coffin that fans were hoping to avoid all along. Although from a business viewpoint, the partnership grants HYBE “access to UMG’s leading global network,” fans couldn’t help but point out that UMG’s Chairman and CEO is Lucian Grainge.

He and the music giant were recently named in the ongoing lawsuit against Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, stating they “aided and abetted” in his alleged sexual abuse. The label’s team blasted these claims, labelling them “offensively false.” However, BTS fans are a force to reckon with. Despite the South Korean label moving ahead while desensitising itself to the fans’ pleas, a significant fraction of ARMYs is still eyeing the inkling of morality in sight.

Fans against the SUGA | Agust D D-Day Movie Screenings in Israel

In the wake of the endorsement of genocidal violence, fans banded together to start a change.org petition: https://www.change.org/p/cancel-d-day-movie-screenings-in-israel on April 2, 2024.

Also read | RIIZE’s Seunghan excluded from official ‘Siren’ music platform debut amid indefinite hiatus: Fans fume over erasure

Though an initially eagerly awaited event, the premiere of the cinematic cut of Suga’s encore concert featuring the grand finale of his solo world tour has now become a red-flagged scenario. Fans have called for its screenings in Israel to be cancelled in a demonstration of humanitarian conscience.

All countries/territories where SUGA's concert movie is expected to premiere theatrically, according to the official sugathemovie website.(https://www.sugathemovie.com/participating-territories/)
All countries/territories where SUGA’s concert movie is expected to premiere theatrically, according to the official sugathemovie website.(https://www.sugathemovie.com/participating-territories/)

The online petition description states, “We cannot, in good conscience, financially support this situation while innocent lives are being lost, and countless others are suffering from starvation, bombings, and mass killings. Our fandom advocates for a Free Palestine. It’s crucial for companies like HYBE Corporation and Trafalgar Releasing to consider the ethical implications of their decisions and take a stand against injustice.”

Among the many top reasons for signing the petition, the fans wrote theirs as follows:

  • “We don’t want Suga or any of the other members of BTS associated with an apartheid government that is currently perpetrating a genocide. Suga and the other members have always been outspoken about politics and social issues, and I am fairly certain he would not support his movie being shown there if he had the chance to speak up. We will not support the normalisation of Zionism and its genocidal agenda.”
  • “I refuse to sit back and watch as HYBE supports a genocidal regime (the ICJ gave Israel orders to prevent genocide, so yes that is what’s happening). Why screen the film in a country that is perpetuating the murders of 30,000+ civilians, including members of BTS ARMY and other fandoms? What happened to Big Hit’s motto of “music and artists for healing”? Additionally, screening the movie in Israel will only harm HYBE’s artists and HYBE as a company, as multiple performers have faced backlash after performing or screening their work in Israel. It would certainly be bad for HYBE’s reputation. Please listen to your consumers as you have promised to do.”
  • “I find it cruel to play a movie in a place that is currently mass slaughtering another population next are among the 30,000+ people being killed in Palestine by Israel. I don’t want my community validating the entity doing these horrific things…”
  • “I stand with Palestine and will not let my favourite artist’s music and lyrics be co-opted by a genocidal settler state.”

Also read | BTS’ Jungkook makes history at iHeartRadio Music Awards 2024; V and J-Hope also score a sea of firsts

However, as fans continued to share the word on X (formerly Twitter) about the petition, the discourse twisted into something more bitter.

The theatrical release is officially titled, ‘SUGA│Agust D TOUR ‘D-DAY’ THE MOVIE.’ Since the banner uses a special character called the vertical bar to separate the two musical personas of BTS Suga, Twitter trends perverted the course of the online campaign. Special characters are never recognised as trending tags.

BTS fans may recall how all online trends amid V’s FRI(END)S music video promotions were also warped, and all these trending keywords were listed with a mere ‘S’ instead of the song’s full title. The arising issue similarly plagued the April campaign as active fans persistently shared the petition name with the special character. Ultimately, Twitter – the devious master concocting this mess – reduced the thought-provoking efforts to yet another heated scuffle between the fans, with late-joiners presuming the worst of the situation on seeing ‘Cancel SUGA’ trending.



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