HYBE adjusts requirements for BTS member's 'hug event' after online uproar

BTS member Jin holds up his single ″The Astronaut″ (2022). [BIG HIT MUSIC]

HYBE has revised the qualifications required to attend BTS member Jin’s hug event after fans criticized the original criteria as a cheap marketing ploy to sell leftover albums, the artist's agency said Monday on Weverse.

To apply for the hug event — a ceremony in which 1,000 attendees can hug the BTS member, scheduled to take place June 13 at Jamsil Indoor Stadium at Songpa District, southern Seoulas part of the band's annual “Festa” celebration — fans were originally required to either have an ARMY membership or purchase "Proof" (2022) or any BTS works released after it, through Weverse Shop Global during the event's registration period, which runs through Thursday.

The latter requirement drew online ire from many BTS fans who had already purchased the band's recent albums, who were angry that they would need to purchase more in order to register. HYBE, in response, has changed its criteria: Fans who have, at any point, purchased Jin's solo single “The Astronaut” (2022) or BTS’ “Proof” through Weverse Shop Global are now eligible as well.

The online backlash began shortly after HYBE announced the original criteria at 11 a.m. The agency posted an apology later that day, stating, “We apologize for not setting more considerate qualifications in advance.”

HYBE later announced the official rule change on Monday in a post to Weverse, reiterating that “We apologize once again for the inconvenience caused during the application process.”

This year's ″Festa” will be held at Jamsil Sports Complex from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. [WEVERSE]

“We ask for your understanding as the past purchase history was reflected within the possible range of the current system and schedule,” the agency continued. “Taking into account that ‘Festa’ is a BTS event and that Jin is participating in this year’s ‘Festa’ offline event, we used the most recently released group album 'Proof' and Jin’s solo single 'The Astronaut' as the standard for qualification.”

Those who fit the event's original criteria will remain eligible to register, per the agency. “Customers who purchased albums after the event should not be disadvantaged,” the Monday note read.

Those who own BTS albums released prior to “Proof” but do not own “Proof” or other eligible music remain excluded from the event.

BTS member Jin holds up his single ″The Astronaut″ (2022). [BIG HIT MUSIC]

“2024 Festa,” of which the hug event is part, will take place at the Jamsil Sports Complex in Songpa District, southern Seoul, on June 13 from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. Various programs, including photo zones, will be available for fans.

All seven members of BTS are currently completing their mandatory military service.

Jin will be the first to complete his service, which ends on June 12. He will then be followed by J-Hope in October and Suga, RM, Jungkook and Jimin in June 2025.

To find out more about BTS, visit Celeb Confirmed!