The controversy over RPS (Real Person Slash) has yet to die out.
On January 17 KST, 'Yeonhap News' covered the controversial topic of 'real person slash' fanfics online that involved the 'sexual exploitation' of K-pop idols. The petition, which initially garnered over 161k signatures, secured over 206k signees in one week. A congressman from the conservative People Power Party in Korea labeled this 'RPS' incident as 'Nth Room Part 2', paralleling the infamous sexual crimes with fanfics that are mainly spreading among female users.
However, experts are skeptical about equating RPS to digital sex crimes and sexual exploitation. Because RPS is categorized as fiction, it would be difficult to punish them as perpetrators of actual crimes, they say.
Furthermore, several media critics and legal representatives are saying that there isn't a clear power structure that gets established from RPS. Unless the practice involves strategized exploitation of real-life figures, the works cannot be seen as a tool for targeted objectification.
Meanwhile, experts are also stressing that there is a possibility for the celebrities themselves to take legal action against RPS. If a celebrity takes offense from explicit stories that are potentially based on their real lives, then it would be possible to publish the creators for defamation and sexual harassment.
On the one hand, certain netizens believe that problematizing RPS is a tactic among male-oriented community websites to "conveniently cover up" the gendered issue of pornographic videos spreading without consent in digital spaces such as the Nth Room. On the other hand, some are voicing the opinion that RPS does establish unequal power relationships between the idols and their fandoms, with the latter being able to exercise purchasing power as consumers.
Netizens under this article left comments such as:
"Please stop trying to defend either one. RPS, nth room, deep-fakes -- they are all crimes"
"I think it's disgusting. Trying to cover it up in the name of 'fandom' and objectifying underage male idols while pointing fingers at nth room trash. I feel sick thinking about those people acting normal and writing comments elsewhere. They are all sexual crimes that need to be dealt with."
"I knew this was going to explode one day...they need to investigate this thoroughly."
"I never understood my friends reading those fanfics...even I was offended. If someone were to write these exploitative fanfics with 'me' as the topic, who wouldn't feel uncomfortable with it?"
"Netizens would have gone off the wall if this issue was about men writing sexual fanfics featuring underage female idols..."
"This issue is a similar problem when dealing with double standards in society; when men talk about their sex lives with other men, it's considered sexual harassment, but when women do it, it's called sharing of private lives and receiving good counsel."
"Both are bad -- RPS and Nth Room"
"LOL, my heart goes out to all these Korean men trying to fight against sexual crimes lol, you go men! Boys can do anything!"
"But you know what they say -- 'without fanfics, idol groups wouldn't exist'. LOL, I wonder how much punishment everyone will receive"
"I'm just a little shocked to see how quick these men are trying so hard to resolve this issue....Don't you think equating RPS with Nth Room is a bit of a stretch?"
"Fanfic culture has been around for over two decades"
"If RPS is culture, then would you say Nth Room is also culture?"
What are your thoughts on this issue?