KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Organisers of a controversial mini-concert featuring South Korean band B1A4 have denied claims that the artists had molested three tudung-clad Malay fans on stage last Saturday night, saying that they were against sexual harassment and that the event company was run mostly by women.
This was after thousands of angry netizens took to Facebook to share and comment on a three-minute viral video of the artists hugging and embracing the Malay girls on stage.
In a statement posted on their official Facebook page, the event’s organiser, TGM Events, said the fans were picked at random based on questions that they posted on a message board with only their first name.
“As a company run primarily by women, we do not and never will condone molestation or sexual harassment as alleged by the media outlet.
“The terminology used was taken out of context and it is extremely disappointing to us to witness an act of such irresponsible journalism,” said the statement, referring to the video.
The clip, which was posted on the Sukan Star TV Facebook page, was suggestively titled “Perempuan melayu dicabul atas pentas oleh mat kpop semalam” (Malay girls molested on stage by K-Pop artists last night).
The video has since been shared over 19,000 times and attracted over 13,000 comments from viewers.
“We do not discriminate against any fan based on their race and religion. Therefore, our programmes are tailored to the preferences of our general target audience. It is not within our authority or jurisdiction to restrict fans from activities that they willingly partake in,” TGM Events added.
The organiser also pointed out that the fans were told beforehand not to “touch” or get too close to members of B1A4.
It said that since the event in question was a specialised fan meeting, the programme was tailored towards fan engagement and interactivity.
“Before the event in question took place, the MC (emcee) instructed the fans to not touch or get too close to the members of the group.
The statement added that selected fans had been asked if they were uncomfortable with the activity, and had given their full consent to appear on stage.
TGM Events also said it will not release the information of the fans involved in the event to avoid them from being harassed online.
“We apologize in all sincerity for the problems caused to the artist and their fans caused by these reports. In future events, we will take into consideration the cultural and religious implications of the interaction between fans and artists,” it said.
Malay newspaper Berita Harian (BH) today quoted Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan urging religious authorities and the police to investigate the incident and subject the organiser of the event to harsh penalties.
“The organiser has to take responsibility over what happened as it is their due duty to prepare a guideline to foreign artists involved in the event,” Nadzim was reported saying.
BH also quoted Johor Islamic Religious Affairs advisor Datuk Nooh Gadut lambasting the TGM Events, who said that the event was not timely as the country is now being faced with difficulties brought by the floods.
“It should not have been approved firstly. Don’t they realise that when they are having fun, thousands are suffering because they lost their homes and belongings,” Nooh said.
PAS’s Ulama Wing also criticised the event organisers for allowing such a concert to take place, describing what happened as sinful.
“Society which is currently afflicted with so many social diseases now face a now affliction, an embarrassing one where Muslim girls are willing to lower their dignity in a non-Muslim concert featuring K-Pop artists B144,” it said in a statement today.