K-pop is one of South Korea’s most popular cultural exports with a growing reach around the world — but it seems that not everyone is fan.
Over the weekend, an article published by a North Korean propaganda website accused K-pop record labels of engaging in “slave-like exploitation” of hugely successful bands like BTS and Blackpink.
The piece on North Korea’s Arirang Meari site claimed K-pop artists were “bound to unbelievably unfair contracts from an early age, detained at their training and treated as slaves after being robbed of their body, mind and soul by the heads of vicious and corrupt art-related conglomerates.”
The K-pop industry is notoriously grueling and tough to break into, but the North Korean article included no proof of its allegations. It was just several paragraphs long and cited “reports” in other media.
North Korea has long been accused of wide-scale human rights abuses, including subjecting political prisoners to forced labor and slave-like conditions, according to a landmark 2014 UN report.