There's no doubt that EXO has amassed quite a large following, but unfortunately, it seems to be a fact of life that along with popularity and love comes some extreme fans as well as anti-fans that attract negative attention for the group.
One issue that's ruffling some feathers is an alleged petition asking for the Korean members of EXO to be exempt from mandatory military service that all able Korean males must carry out.
One netizen with the id 'lime****' was seen going around posting, "Everyone, this is not the problem here!!! Please help our EXO oppas become exempt from military service!! Instead of our oppas, can't regular guys just add a few more years to their service instead. They can just think of it as being on a retreat a little longer. The EXO fanclub is currently collecting signatures for a petition. Please sign to help our EXO oppas become exempt from service."
She or he wasn't the only one as others chimed in to help support this, with one commenting, "It is absurd for our precious EXO to go to the army", while another wrote, "If you search 'EXO military exemption' on the internet, 468,821 people in the fan club have participated in the petition. Give us a bit more strength."
As you can imagine, this didn't sit well with the public who saw these comments, especially among the 'regular guys' that the fans insisted should serve more time in the military in place of EXO. Some commented in response, "Why don't you go in place of your oppas then," "I definitely have to see EXO enter the army now," and "If EXO enlist, I will make sure to personally train them."
Seeing these interactions, most of EXO's fans voiced their worry about a negative image being cast on the boys due to the actions of a few. They commented along the lines of, "Because of the few immature fans, EXO oppas are the ones who get cursed at."
Media outlet DongA Ilbo looked into the matter and found no solid evidence to back this 'EXO military exemption' petition. As there is no official EXO fan club, but rather a bunch of separate ones, a look through them led to no discovery of a petition for EXO's military exemption. It seems there were a few claims from a minority of alleged fans insisting on the assumption that there was a petition going on, due to various links they find of other fans talking about the issue when looking up 'EXO military exemption' on various portal sites. There were also cases of extremely devoted fans who insist that the song "Growl" become the new national anthem.
In response to such issues, some are wondering if these alleged fans are actually anti-fans who are using such tactics to create negative attention for EXO.
SM Entertainment also touched upon the matter as they stated, "At the moment, we are unable to discern if these posts were written by fans or an anti-fans... It seems like a happening that stems from the high popularity that EXO is receiving."
A Military Manpower Administration rep stated, "Although it is the insistence of some fan girls, their perspectives on the exemption from military service is a cause of concern... If the celebrities, who are supposed to be role models for the youth, directly express their thoughts on fulfilling military service themselves, then perhaps these immature thoughts of fan girls will die down a bit."
Source: DongA Ilbo via Naver