Why Are Red Velvet K-Pop Fans Outraged by Wendy's SNL Korea Casting?

SNL Korea's latest casting of Wendy from K-pop girl group Red Velvet has caused outrage among fans on social media.

Some fans fear for her safety as some crew members of the Korean spin-off of America's SNL show were previously accused of sexually harassing some of its former K-pop idol guests in 2016.

Others have said "she is a singer, not a comedian," noting the gig would not showcase her talents as a vocalist.

SNL Korea continued to air following the allegations but came to an end in May 2018 after nine seasons.

Variety reported in February that the show will be returning. It will be produced by ASTORY, the South Korean production company that produced the second season of the cult Netflix original K-drama series Kingdom.

Fans Outraged by Wendy's SNL Korea Casting

Fans took to social media to urge Red Velvet's management company, SM Entertainment, to "FREE WENDY" in various posts shared on Twitter.

User @blueflexe wrote: "they have knowing bros, amazing saturday and bunch of youtube based comedy shows yet they choose to throw wendy to one of the most hated and problematic show in kr. i truly can't take this anymore. WENDY OUT SNL FREE WENDY #WENDY_OUT_SNL @RVsmtown @SMTOWNGLOBAL." The post has had over 1,000 likes since it was first shared Wednesday.

User @squidzalabim wrote: "I would've supported the idea of the show wanting to change its past image to a positive one but using the same crew that were involved in those past controversies???? #WENDY_OUT_SNL," in a post that has had over 300 likes since it was shared.

User @wendycheekies tweeted: "SM has thousands of choices to put wendy on any show. Dingo, Nolto, Weekly Idol, Sea of Hope, BEGIN AGAIN. and yet they chose to put her in a controversial show that got cancelled over several issues in which there's even SEXUAL ASSAULTS. FREE WENDY #WENDY_OUT_SNL @SMTOWNGLOBAL." The post received over a 1,000 likes after it was tweeted.

User @RedVelvetStats tweeted: "We need Wendy to join a show where she could show her talents fully as a singer. She is a singer not a comedian. Don't send her to this show where it was very problematic & had bad reputations in the past. It's enough SM!"

The user wrote in another tweet: "The least you could do for Wendy is by canceling her in SNL. You can reject love calls for music collabs. You didn't post about Youngstreet DJ. Come on @SMTOWNGLOBAL you can cancel the offer! Think about your artist image & reputation she has built for years." #WENDY_OUT_SNL." The tweet has had over 450 likes since it was posted.

Newsweek has contacted SM Entertainment and ASTORY for comment.

SNL Korea's Prior Sexual Harassment Allegations

Back in November 2016, SNL Korea came under fire after a video posted on the show's official Facebook page (which has since been removed) showed one of SNL Korea's cast members, Lee Se-young, and other female crew members appear to approach K-pop boy band B1A4 (who were the guest host that week) and touch their genital area during a meeting between cast and crew members.

The incident was allegedly part of an initiation/hazing-type ritual. Members of the band were seen covering their crotch areas in the video.

The incident sparked outrage among fans and SNL Korea issued an apology in a statement on its Facebook page.

The statement said: "We apologize to the fans, including the B1A4 members, who may have been offended by the bold behavior towards host B1A4 in the 'B1A4 SNL Casting Secret' video posted on Facebook yesterday (26th)."

"It was inappropriate behavior towards the host and we will take precautions to ensure that this does not happen again in the future," the statement added.

Concerns were raised again when Lee and other crew members were accused of sexually harassing members of another former show guest, K-pop boy group Infinite, on a previous occasion in a similar rehearsal meeting setting.

In December 2016, South Korea's Dispatch reported a video of the alleged incident showed Lee shouting "Yes," with her arms raised in the air after she allegedly touched the band members' genital areas.

Dispatch also reported at the time that a video had surfaced of another SNL Korea crew member touching the chests of members of K-pop boy band Block B in a previous episode of the show.

Police Launch Investigation

In December 2016, Lee left the show and police also launched an investigation into the allegations.

The producers of the show stated at the time: "After much discussion, we have agreed to honor Lee Se Young's wish to [leave and] take this time to reflect," but the possibility of her return was left open.

In January 2017, Lee's alleged sexual assault case was dismissed. South Korea's Yonhap reported police said no specific allegations had been confirmed.

Yonhap reported police stated: "B1A4, Infinite and Block B members stated that Lee did not touch their bodies."

In February 2017, SNL Korea announced she would be returning to the show.

K-pop band Red Velvet at 2015 KCON.
K-pop girl group Red Velvet performing onstage at the KCON 2015 festival at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California back in August 2015. Matthew Simmons/Getty Images