K-Pop Cafe Shunned by Russian Printer That Thinks Korean Boys Bands Are Gay

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday July 15, 2021

In this Sept. 24, 2018, file photo, members of the Korean K-Pop group BTS attend a meeting at the U.N. high level event regarding youth during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters.
In this Sept. 24, 2018, file photo, members of the Korean K-Pop group BTS attend a meeting at the U.N. high level event regarding youth during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters.  (Source:AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

A K-pop-themed cafe in Russia says it was unable to get a print job completed because the printer thinks that South Korean boy bands Stray Kids and BTS are gay, RT.com reported.

"In an Instagram story, published on Tuesday, the owners of the PinkyPop cafe, a hangout in the Ural region with a Korean 'K-pop' theme, complained they had been turned away while looking to print merchandise dedicated to their favorite music groups," the RT story detailed.

As Sportskeeda reported, the cafe had been looking to get an order of stickers and posters printed and "had planned to hand them out to customers who ordered coffee."

In an account written in Russian, the cafe shared on Instagram how "we discussed all the work and details, and placed our first order" with the printing company — but as soon as the printers saw photos of the bands, "which they were supposed to print, they began to ignore us."

Eventually, the cafe got an answer from the printer, which replied: "Do I understand correctly that these people have a non-traditional orientation?"

The printer seemed to believe in the idea that young people's sexual orientation can be changed simply by hearing about LGTBQ people or seeing representations of personal styles or ways of living that some might consider outside the norm.

"Do you want your children to become perverts?" the printer demanded in one response to the cafe's subsequent queries.

Saying that it is "stupid to support something that may leave you with no grandchildren," the printer rebuffed the cafe with the declaration, "We have enough normal clients to be able to choose who to work with and who not to."

Russia's notorious 2013 "no homo promo" law explicitly bans any "promotion of non-traditional sexual values among minors," which the Russian government terms "gay propaganda." The printer's response seemed to be falling in line with the law and its rationale of purportedly "protecting children," though some critics maintain the law accomplishes the exact opposite by putting LGBTQ youth in danger.

This is not the first time Korean boy band BTS has encountered anti-LGBTQ prejudice and censorship in Russia. In 2018, a screening of the band's concert film, "BTS World Tour: Love Yourself in Seoul," was axed, the Korea Herald reported at the time, because of the band's perceived homosexuality.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.