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BTS Saudi Arabia concert sparks outrage among fans

Lily Wakefield July 15, 2019

BTS backstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

K-pop boyband BTS are due to perform in Saudi Arabia on October 11 and news of the concert has sparked a Twitter storm because of the country’s human rights abuses against women and LGBT+ people.

Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and in April this year, five men were executed there after admitting they had had sex with other men.

BTS will reportedly be the first solo foreign act to hold a stadium concert in the country, as part of their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour.

One Twitter user wrote: “Very disappointed BTS is ignoring the human rights abuses there and the way they treat women and reporters.”

Another said: “This is such a bad business move this is really a big f*** you Saudi women, LGBTQ fans but also to Muslim fans especially what happening in Yemen… doesn’t this contradict their message? Of love yourself?”

Halsey (C) and BTS perform onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for dcp)

“They are right now committing human rights violations and BTS is lending them their legitimacy all in the name of cash,” said another. 

However, other BTS fans are defending the group, saying that a performance in Saudi Arabia will help attitudes in the country to move forward.

One said: “Saudi Arabia are thankfully slowly DEVELOPING with the new generation and becoming less restrictive can you let people be happy.”

Another wrote: “Things are changing in the Kingdom. The success of this show could open doors to endless opportunities and possibilities.”

Women were allowed into the stadium where BTS are performing for the first time in 2017

Women were allowed into the King Fahd International Stadium, where BTS are set to perform, for the first time in 2017. 

This month Nicki Minaj announced that she had pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia to show support for women and LGBT+ people in the country.

In April this year, BTS rapper Kim Namjoon was hailed by fans as a bisexual icon when he performed with the colours of the bisexual Pride flag.

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