A week after BTS announced it was taking a hiatus to focus on solo projects, the president of the Korea Singers Association, Lee Ja-yeon, urged the K-pop mega boy band to reconsider.
"I'm overcome by my fear and concern that the BTS Hallyu (Korean wave), a movement possessing the greatest cultural soft power that the world has ever witnessed, will vanish soon," she wrote in a statement on June 22, according to entertainment portal Allkpop.
Members of BTS announced on June 14 that they would be taking a hiatus to focus on solo projects, although they stressed that group activities would continue and they were not disbanding.
Lee continued: "In the years leading up to the birth of this movement, it was believed that finding the 'Next Beatles' would be a very difficult achievement, and now, we have arrived at a point where it is difficult to hope for the 'Next BTS' to emerge any time soon. Thus, there is great concern that the heartbeat of Hallyu will cease."
However, her plea has led to a backlash from BTS' legions of fans, known as Army.
While some criticised her statement, saying that she was treating the septet as a product, others pointed out that there were so many other successful K-pop groups who have gained global success besides BTS.
Fans were also outraged that their idols were not allowed to take a break after ceaselessly working and promoting for close to a decade.
They took to Twitter to express their displeasure with the hashtag #BTSItsOkayToRest, which shot to the top of the trending charts.
One fan tweeted: "Dear Lee Ja-yeon, president of the Korea Singers Association, seriously asking, have you never taken a day off from work in your life?" – The Straits Times/Asia News Network