Meeting your idol at a fansign is a once in a lifetime experience, so it’s only natural that fans want to document the experience. However, those who are lucky enough to get into fansigns are actually strictly banned from taking photos. Here’s why according to two veteran K-Pop bodyguards.
Deputy guard director Lee Ho Min and guard manager Kim Da Ye are two of the most experienced operatives at renowned celebrity security agency Strong Friends (known as Ganghan Chingudeul in Korean). They may seem friendly, but according to one AYO viewer, they’re “scary” in person—especially at fansigns.
In a new YouTube interview, the AYO viewer revealed that Strong Friends bodyguards ban fans from taking photos at fansigns. The only ones allowed to snap pictures are spectators watching from a far, and that only happens are “open” (public) fansigns. But, while the “No Photos” rule may seem unfair, Lee and Kim explained that there are good two reasons for it.
We don’t mean to offend the fans in any way. A lot of fans misunderstand this.
— Lee Ho Min
The first is that fans could get themselves in trouble. The AYO viewer in question vowed to ignore the fansign photo ban by slipping their camera phone into their pocket while recording, but Lee says this is a definite no-no. Many fans have attempted it, but posting the photos online could actually lead to a cyberterror charge.
If you put the camera in the pocket, you can put the lens outside… then you can take a close shot when it’s your turn, and if you post it on the internet, that could be cyberterror towards the artist.
— Lee Ho Min
South Korea has numerous laws surrounding cyberterror, and it’s very easy for fans to unknowingly break them if they take photos and videos during fansigns. For example, recording other people’s conversations, posting accidentally revealing images, disclosing private information, and bringing fear or anxiety to the idol are all illegal acts. If any one of these laws is broken, the fan in question could find themselves facing a serious lawsuit.
The second reason is that taking photos at fansigns can be very dangerous. When fans are taking pictures, they’re less aware of their surroundings. Many fansigns take place on raised platforms, so fans bumping into each other or falling backwards could result in serious injuries.
Ultimately, idol bodyguards don’t just need to take care of the stars themselves—they also need to protect the fans from harm. Many complain when female bodyguards like Kim Da Ye stand nearby to keep anyone from falling, but it’s all part of preventing accidents.