Monsta X’s international PR team is in hot waters with fans also known as Monbebe after it has come to light that they seemingly cannot properly identify the group’s members.
An astute fan on Twitter brought the issue to light after noticing something odd about this seemingly innocuous promotional tweet:
The tweet reads, “If this tweet gets 100K likes, #JOOHONEY will do another #WHODOULOVE dance video,” complete with group & member hashtags. There’s just one problem: no dance video of Joohoney had been posted in the first place. The only member dance video posted was of Wonho, shown below.
While the clip is properly tagged, it doesn’t mean much to the fans who are angry. This wouldn’t be the first time their social media team have confused Wonho and Joohoney. The following are promotional images from a Facebook messenger event.
As we were working on this story, however, the suspicion was confirmed after a photo was posted to the group’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. Included are hashtags identifying Wonho and Kihyun as the photo’s subjects. In actuality, it’s a picture of Wonho and Shownu performing their ‘Mirror’ unit stage. The posts were deleted not long after.
As for the original tweet thread, you can view that here:
These aren’t the only issues with Monsta X’s international team
This is just the latest in a series of upsetting moves by their international team. Since the announcement that the group had signed to Epic Records, their social media presence has changed drastically. In addition to the group’s usual Korean promotional team activity and group members posts, their social media is being overrun with out of touch attempts at fan engagement.
The above example was taken from one of the group’s instagram stories. It seems the PR team is trying to market the group like a tween magazine would, versus in tune with the incredibly diverse age range most kpop fandoms tend to have. In addition, while international fans often call for more content in English, they generally mean relevant updates, articles, and perhaps translations of member posts, not childish polls and like baiting.
It’s not simply a PR problem
In addition to their PR team, Monsta X’s international manager, Eshy Gazit, has also been criticized for his handling of the group. Formerly the manager for BTS, since taking charge of Monsta X, complaints have been piling up. Just last month an article published by The Korea Herald’s KPop Herald was edited after fans took to Twitter, upset with some of its content. They suggested Mr. Gazit’s statements were xenophobic, and made it seem as if he was trying to strip the group of their Kpop identity. Below are screenshots of two versions of the article. On the left, the original, on the right, the edited version. The highlighted text is the content that was removed.
During the group’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball dates last year, Mr. Gazit was heavily criticized for multiple alleged failures in management. In one instance, L.A. radio DJ JoJo Wright tweeted Monsta X’s flight arrival information. Mr. Gazit then quoted the tweet, encouraging fans to show up at the airport.
Not only is this unprofessional, it’s also dangerous for both fans and idols. This is something he should be keenly aware of, considering the amount of issues BTS experienced with fans packing airports during his tenure as their manager.
After all of this, who can blame Monbebes for urging Starship Entertainment to reconsider their choice of international representation for Monsta X? How can you expect their team to properly promote a group if they can’t manage the basics such as identifying members and not releasing information that could cause issues? Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: something has to change.