This 22 June 2020 video says about itself:
K-pop fans and TikTok teens troll Trump with fake registrations for first campaign rally in months
US President Donald Trump’s first campaign rally in months took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20, 2020, but only hosted only a fraction of the number of supporters his staff expected. Some of the no-shows may have been teenagers who registered to attend the rally but stayed home. Days before the event, calls went out on social-media apps TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, asking Trump opponents who had no intention of going to the rally to sign up anyway. The message spread among teens, including many fans of Korean pop music, who have recently pivoted their networks to support political causes including the Black Lives Matter movement.
This video has been updated to change a visual element.
Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
Trolling Trump and hashtags disruption, online protests by K-pop fans are getting louder
They claimed responsibility for the many empty seats at the Trump election meeting, made a large donation to the Black Lives Matter movement, and flooded the hashtag WhiteLivesMatter on Twitter with gif pictures of their favourite Korean pop stars to crowd out other [white supremacist] messages. K-pop fans have been making themselves heard in recent weeks. In the Netherlands, too, they went against Wilders and Johan Derksen [a Dutch racist politician and a racist soccer commentator] on social media.
The social involvement of the fans is not new, says Elmer Veldkamp, anthropologist and assistant professor of Korea Studies. “That started in 2007, when the first K-pop idols called on their fans to stop buying gifts for artists, but to spend the money on donations to charities. Fans immediately took it up fanatically.”
Eg, they donate money to goals they find fit with their idols. For example, in honour of the birthday of a singer, often fondly compared to a squirrel by fans, 37 endangered red squirrels were adopted in Scotland.
But most of the time, fans imitate the donation behavior of their idols. For example, early this month, when it was announced that the band BTS donated a million dollars to the Black Lives Matter movement, the hashtag #MatchAMillion became trending on Twitter. With that, fans collected more than $ 817,000 in the first 24 hours.
“After such a donation, the fans know that the goal is supported by their idols and are going to work for it in other ways,” says K-pop expert Mai Verbij. “This is also how Dutch fans come up with their own actions on social media.”
More and more political
According to Veldkamp, the actions of the K-pop fans are only now noticeable because our eyes are very focused on the USA. “But you can see fan involvement shifting towards more political goals for some time now. Eg, fans from Chile drew attention to the deaths during protests against right-wing President Piñera at the end of last year.”
Researchers already predicted that supporters would continue to use their tight online infrastructure for these kinds of political goals. In particular the fight against racism.
That goal also fits in well with the diverse fan base of K-pop, says Verbij. “Many fans have diverse cultural backgrounds or come from the LGBTQ community. They feel very committed to the fight against racism. They want to make the world a better place with their idols.” …
Fight for appreciation
K-pop has come a long way, but Asian pop is still barely played on the radio in Western countries. “The fans have been fighting for more appreciation for years and use the activism to make the music more known,” says Senders. …
While the idols speak out clearly about certain social issues abroad, they keep quiet about many problems in South Korea. Afraid to lose sponsors and advertisers. “Eg, the subject of homosexuality is very sensitive and they do not speak out against discrimination against children of mixed parents in South Korea,” says teacher of Korea Studies Elmer Veldkamp.
In the country, the actions of the fans are therefore followed with suspicion. “For example, you see in comments in South Korean media that people are concerned about the relationship the USA and South Korea,” said Veldkamp.
He thinks the success at the Trump gathering – an initiative by US American fans – will give them a taste for more. “There is a strong infrastructure that fans can use for everything. It is a group that does not just leave and that we will hear more about.”