K-pop fans are outraged after a TikTok user posted a video of himself attempting to ask out Sullyoon from the girl group NMIXX.
In a now-deleted video by TikTok user @jermbarrett that has since been reposted on Twitter, Barrett is seen at a party where the JYP Entertainment girl group was also in attendance. In the video, he says, “Alright, this is NMIXX. I’m going to ask her out to dinner in Korean.” He then walks over to Sullyoon and introduces himself in Korean. She politely bows and shakes his hand.
YOURE A GROWN MAN LEAVE HER ALONE??? pic.twitter.com/eEABT5XEgA
— pixi (@SEUNGlNNIE) August 31, 2022
He continues in English, “If you’re in L.A. for a long time, I’d like to take you out to dinner.” It is not clear if she fully understood the conversation, but then she turns away from him and is called to bow and give a farewell with the rest of the group. Barrett walks away laughing as the on-screen text reads, “I blew it.”
NMIXX were in Los Angeles last month for KCON LA 2022, which Barrett was also invited to attend. His other uploaded videos show he met other groups like STAYC, “Queendom” Season 2 winner WJSN, THE BOYZ and NCT Dream.
Some netizens expressed their discomfort with the interaction as Sullyoon, who turned 18 internationally last January, is still considered a minor in Korea, where the legal age for consent is 20. According to another video from Barrett, he is 24 years old.
And JYPe continues to do nothing to protect NMIXX. This is a grown man coming to a fun event just to ask Sullyoon to go on a date with him, Sullyoon’s 18th birthday was a while ago but she’s literally still a kid.
Like I said, this company does not care about these girls at all. pic.twitter.com/Ow7ocE9QLW
— cleo · oǝlɔ (@NMIXXDOLLS) August 31, 2022
Even if I give him the benefit of the doubt and say he doesn't know her age, the video is still so weird?? Like why?? pic.twitter.com/Wy4a9rkIVs
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— NiziMixx_xxiWiziN | NMIXX ENTWURF ERA (@NiziUmemes) August 31, 2022
@jermbarrett If you’re 20 years old, just tell the bouncer you’re Korean #korean #halfasian #hapa ♬ Ginseng Strip 2002 - Yung Lean
K-pop journalist Tássia Assis, whose work has been featured in NME, Teen Vogue, Rolling Stone Australia and the Recording Academy, tweeted a response that went viral: “So kcon doesn’t allow press to even watch the kcon rookies stage but these tiktokers get an artist lounge and for what?? to harass an 18yo at her work and upload it for clout??????”
so kcon doesn’t allow press to even watch the kcon rookies stage but these tiktokers get an artist lounge and for what??
to harrass an 18yo at her work and upload it for clout?????? https://t.co/0vsGHOOvKu
— Tássia Assis (@_tassia_a) August 31, 2022
Assis’ thread raised criticisms that many of the outraged fans also shared, including that Barrett allegedly used a private event the artists couldn’t say no to for his own amusement, which they claimed is disrespectful of her boundaries. In other circumstances like NMIXX’s meet-and-greet, a plastic barrier separated fans and the group for COVID-19 protocols. Fans also echoed Assis’ displeasure with what they see as a decision by KCON to prioritize influencers over journalists.
In another tweet, Assis wrote, “his other tiktok, which is still up, is no less worse and you know what? at least this is giving me the clarity that i do what i do because i hate seeing people treated like animals in a circus, dehumanization, besides the usual misogyny and racism, is appalling.” and “i’m committed to letting everyone i interview to be seen as a HUMAN first. my work is not about me, it’s about THEM shining. it’s about giving them a voice they might not have otherwise, and not silencing and exotifying these people even more.”
Nah because this is an example of how people don’t see idols as people, but commodities. ESPECIALLY since these girls can’t say anything outright against him
— Captain Lovestay (@pixiesticks135) September 1, 2022
this is so disguting??? you can see how uncomfortable she was
— apøllo | #Midnights (@swiftmixers) September 1, 2022
Another user pointed out that Barrett, according to his LinkedIn, is a project manager at Quincy Jones Productions, which the user presumed is how he gained access to the event.
journalists deserve more access than guys like this, this guy isnt just a tiktok influencer he's a project manager at quincy jones productions (according to linkedin), probably why he has artist lounge access
— Sheren_B (샤론) (@PaboBear) August 31, 2022
Fans also believe Barrett is not well-versed in K-pop, pointing to his comments on his KCON TikTok video as evidence. One person had to point out which group was STAYC. Additionally, a user in the comments of the deleted video told Barrett idols aren’t allowed to date because of their contracts, to which he responded, “There’s always a way!” Another comment told Barrett to try calling it a business dinner next time and not a date, to which he responded, “Noted for the future haha.”
ew this is disgusting.. go report this acc on tiktok @/jermbarrett https://t.co/oIN7QNU0QP
— ً (@tofuluda) August 31, 2022
As of now, Barrett has not commented on the controversy but has limited the comments on his videos and set his Instagram to private. Fans have been asking others to report his account to JYP Entertainment and officials at KCON/CJ ENM.
nswers can you report this tiktok pls this grown man filmed himself asking sullyoon “out on a date” it’s weird as hell and he’s acting cocky in the comment section https://t.co/6SsD29rpvg
— ʞɐlɐɯ (@nmixxfull) August 31, 2022
This jerm barrett, instead of making apology video and reflect what he did, he just delete and limit people who were commenting to his videos. You're done bro, you are done.
— ƈʅαιɾҽ • ҽjιɒlƈ | “” (@nmixx_sy) September 1, 2022
NMIXX recently covered veteran K-pop girl group Rainbow and their song “Kiss.” Sullyoon covered BLACKPINK’s “Stay,” and the seven-member girl group is slated to make a comeback with their single “ENTWURF” on Sept. 19. A teaser video film for the comeback was uploaded on Wednesday.
Feature Image via Twitter