K-pop festival KCON USA has released a statement regarding an “exclusionary” job posting for event staff.
On July 18, a Twitter user uploaded a screenshot of a job listing on Backstage, a gig-finding platform for entertainment industry events, which soon went viral among K-pop fans.
The listing stated that it is looking for staff for a KCON convention – presumably its upcoming Los Angeles event – going on to specify that it is looking for female applicants of Asian and White/European descent. The listing was later updated to include male applicants and all ethnicities, but was eventually removed from the platform altogether.
Kcon is actually racist as hell wtf pic.twitter.com/sdq4DCknH0
— m is meeting wayv & nct nation japan?! (@nanasbannanas) July 17, 2023
Following backlash online, KCON USA released a statement several hours later on Twitter claiming that they “have not authorised nor endorsed” the posting, and are “actively investigating the origin and responsible party behind this unauthorised and exclusionary posting”.
“We strongly denounce any actions of racial profiling or any form of discrimination whatsoever, and indeed this runs counter to the very core spirit of KCON where inclusivity and diversity is celebrated,” it said, adding that it would be taking action to prevent such instances related to the festival.
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) July 18, 2023
However, netizens remain unconvinced that KCON were unaware of the content of the job posting, with some continuing to request refunds from the organisers. Others have also criticised the company for only responding after the screenshot of the job listing went viral.
If it wasn’t officially from Kcon than why did the post get changed so quickly after the backlash? If it wasn’t authorized & not officially affiliated there wouldn’t have been changes because the person wouldn’t be directly impacted by the backlash https://t.co/ucn4IUMmLm
— ˚* ❀ :¨·.·¨:;MIMI :¨·.·¨: (@MilaaAmor) July 19, 2023
can u give me my money back since im black
— in bloom 🌹 (@soulbasaur) July 19, 2023
I wonder if @kconusa could follow this up by providing more space for the wonderful Black fans, industry professionals, and academics involved in #Kpop culture to engage in higher-level event planning to address what are clearly systemic anti-Black practices within #KCON? https://t.co/53n4fj3vYS
— Dr Thomas Baudinette🍒 (@tbaudinette) July 18, 2023