Ferry tragedy has media scrambling

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Ferry tragedy has media scrambling

With the nation reeling from Wednesday’s ferry disaster off the southwest coast that has nearly 300 people feared dead, the Korean entertainment industry canceled major events yesterday to offer condolences over the accident.

R&B singer Lena Park, also known as Park Jung-hyun, had been readying a large press conference for her new album “Syncro Fusion” for weeks. But because of the tragedy, Park decided to cancel both the press conference and the release of her album.

“It is a national disaster we’re talking about,” said an official at her agency, Blueprint Music. “We are still discussing how to reschedule the album’s release date.”

Many other high-profile K-pop artists also canceled events. Rapper Junggigo, famous for the recent hit love song “Some,” said that he also plans to hold off releasing his new digital single “I Want You.” The song, a collaboration with the hip-hop artist Beenzino, was supposed to hit music stores yesterday.

Similarly, singer G.Na dropped plans to launch another teaser yesterday for her new song “Pretty Lingerie.”

Some industry analysts said that the entertainers’ response was in part due to the criticism they have encountered during past tragedies. When a national disaster happens, the public gets extremely sensitive about celebrity behavior.

For example, the rookie fashion model Hur Jae-hyuk posted a photo on his Facebook page yesterday of himself submerged in a bathtub full of water, and many Internet users were outraged, calling the image “thoughtless.”

“I had no intention to upset anyone,” apologized the model, “I wasn’t aware of the accident because I don’t have a TV at home.”

He deactivated his Facebook account afterward.

But the most striking event happened on Wednesday night around 8 p.m., when the most-searched term on the popular search engine Naver turned out to be “Exo Concert.” As the group’s agency, SM Entertainment, had not taken the accident into account, online ticket reservations for an Exo concert were still being sold.

Tickets sold out within 1.47 seconds, but the next day SM Entertainment canceled a Thursday press event about the group’s new album.

The film industry, on the other hand, responded quickly to the public mood. The marketing agencies for the new films “The Fatal Encounter,” “Obsessed” and “The Target” canceled the movies’ scheduled promotion events yesterday.

The animated feature film “Rio 2” also called off its VIP premiere event, which was to feature Sunny from Girls’ Generation and Yim Si-wan from ZE:A, whose voices are featured in the Korean dub of the movie.

Television networks will continue to cover the story heavily, cutting in with breaking news, so they dropped most of their entertainment programs.

KBS canceled “Happy Together” and SBS has delayed its drama series “Three Days.” MBC, on the other hand, said it will still air its drama “Cunning Single Lady” but plans to postpone comedian Kang Ho-dong’s comeback show for a week.

BY KIM HEE-EUN, CONTRIBUTING WRITER [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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