The flight of the Sky Banner for Jay has come and gone, but its traces can still be felt and seen. For the continuation of this two-part interview, Briar talks about the issues and problems that resulted from, and attributed to the Project.
JAY IN A US LOCAL MEDIA
After the Sky Banner Project was accomplished, an article by Travis Mayfield from KOMO News 4 was published in edmonds.komonews.com, entitled “Crazed fans claim disgraced Korean boy band member is in seclusion in Seattle” and was filed under the category “Weird.” In addition, certain information in the article was lacking and its overall tone was preceived as “trivializing the issue,” more so because the words “disgraced” and “crazed” were used to describe Jay and the fans. This caused an outrage among fans, resulting to an influx of negative comments directed towards the writer, demanding him to “get his facts straight,” and even take down the article. The headline has since then been changed to “Fans beg former Korean Boy Band Member to Return” and is now filed under “Arts and Culture.” Readers noticed that the content of the article has been edited several times in response to the comments.
Mayfield writes: “Think of them as the Korean equivalent to Jonas Brothers: they’re called 2PM and these guys have every teen, tween and pre-tweet in South Korea entranced… Park apparently wrote a few disparaging sentences on his MySpace page regarding Koreans.Those sentences were made public and Park abruptly left the group and went into seclusion.” [before the edits, 2PM was spelled as 2-pm]
Jay in Komo News 4, describing him as a Korean-American singer-dancer and leader of 2PM, who is “grappling with an Internet controversy about anti-Korean comments he made years ago.”
Komo reported on the Sky Banner as “A plane even flew over Seattle area this weekend with a banner to get Jaebeom’s attention.”
They also interviewed Mike, Park family’s neighbor who said when asked if he was concerned if fans and media will show up in their neighborhood, “I’m not that concerned… I really didn’t know how big he is over there. I just heard he’s some kind of a star who did some singing, dancing or something over there…” Two fans were interviewed, Andrena Collins said, “It’s interesting to have him so close, but it’s also disappointing that he won’t be with his bandmates. Sarah Pry said, “I think if someone is a true fan, that they will not try to do anything to invade his privacy and they will leave him alone to show support.”
Being one of the main organizers of the Sky Banner Project, Briar received several negative/hate mails from both Korean and English-speaking fans.
“Most of the emails were actually in Korean, so it didn’t really affect me too much. My Korean is minimal, so I had to ask my friend to help me translate it. Understanding it second hand like that lessened the impact of it, I think. I only got a few messages from people who spoke English. A couple of people also said I was an idiot and a stalker. I let it get to me for a little while, but ended up disregarding it. This is the world we live in these days, people find it very difficult to trust others. It’s a shame, but I know my own intentions and if other people can’t understand that, I pity them a bit. I guess I’m sometimes lucky being in Australia because there aren’t many fans here. If someone threatens me, they really can’t act on it because we’re in different countries. I think people have figured out that threatening me won’t have as great an effect on me over such a distance.”
What can you say about speculations that the Sky Banner Project directed unwanted attention to Jay, and ultimately leading the media to dig up about this whole issue?
“Hmmm… very honestly, I felt very down for a couple of days and started doubting my actions. But I was reminded – rather harshly – that this whole project was a team effort, and I couldn’t be selfish in thinking it was all my fault. I got a considerable number of messages on my blog when I posted my apology to the followers. I wasn’t apologizing for the event, I will never do that. Instead, I was apologizing for not being able to do more damage control than I do. I had always stated that the American media was not to be contacted. Unfortunately, a few fans got too enthusiastic and forgot my warning.
I personally don’t think the article or TV segment was too bad, apart from Jaebeom’s house being put on camera, which was unprofessional. While the article was poorly written, the author was ignorant to every aspect of the situation, and should have been ignored as soon as he got the facts wrong. What made it have such a negative effect, in my opinion, were the comments from Hottests that blasted the poor guy. Rather than being civil and ignoring the silly man with no research skills, fans decided they would threaten him, abuse him and rage at him publicly.
This issue has already happened, we can’t change that and everyone has been forgiven. I only hope that people have learned that we must stick to the plan and act as a group if we’re going to plan something so big.”
This is a snippet from the letter Briar sent to the pastor of Jay’s Church:
“We do not apologize for the actual project, due to the fact that its only intention was to make Jaebeom and his suffering fans smile, not to gain media coverage of the whole saga. We do, however, apologise for its intentions being misinterpreted and the whole thing getting out of hand. Had I been aware of it earlier, I feel as though I would have been able to prevent the whole thing from occurring. This is my own fault.
I hope that despite all of this ruckus, Jaebeom and his family focus solely on the positive message his fans sent him through the Skybanner Project. I have always stressed that this project was to show support of Jaebeom whatever his decision is, whether it be to leave 2PM or not. We were neutral on the boycott, and didn’t point fingers or blame JYPE. We are still routing for a positive outcome to all this.
“Once again, I hope you will understand our intentions and accept my apology.”
Asked what measures they took after the project, Briar said that they’re trying to get into contact with ALLKPOP “to request they clarify their articles.” As for any future project they’re planning, “…that’s a bit of a secret right now. And of course we’re still setting up our donation to Korea’s underprivileged children in 2PM’s name.” The JaySkyMsg account in Twitter will still be used for future projects. Briar added, “I will never say I regret this project, because I believe it has made a positive difference.”
Floatingstars: It’s up to you, dear readers what you think about this subject, at least now you know the other side of the story. Let me end this interview with words from Jay, in his feature in MTV making the artist: