If you’ve been in the K-Pop fandom for some length of time — or other popular fandoms that appeal to teenagers and young adults, really — you’re probably familiar with shipping and fanfiction to some extent, even if you haven’t read any yourself.
One of the more popular websites to find fanfiction, especially of the more mature and explicit kind, is Archive of Our Own, better known as AO3. Explicit content is that which contains sexual content and other adult themes.
When searching for fanfictions on the website, you can use certain filters for a variety of things, from pairings/characters involved to maturity level and much more. Thanks to this, it’s pretty easy to get an estimate of how many stories are written about certain artists, and what level of them are mature or explicit.
About a year ago, Reddit user u/AveragePocky made a list of which K-Pop groups have the highest percentage of explicit and mature works made about them, and listed out the top 15.
Fortunately, groups with younger artists tended to rank lower on the list than those with adult members… But the fact that groups with underage members — namely ENHYPEN — ended up on the list at all is concerning.
Another Reddit user, u/thelachesis, definitely found this concerning, and went to investigate how many explicit works on AO3 included ENHYPEN’s maknae, Ni-ki, who is only 16. And what they found was disturbing.
It’s doubly disturbing that these 226 explicit fanfictions aren’t receiving criticism or backlash. And while it’s unclear based on this information if Ni-ki is involved in any of the explicit nature in these fanfictions or is just a side character, it’s still unsettling that he’s involved at all.
Replies to the Reddit post on this topic are in firm agreement with the original poster.
Others, while upset by this behavior, have the opinion that the over-sexualization of minors, including those in girl groups especially, isn’t going to change anytime soon.
We can only hope that most or all of the stories Ni-ki is in doesn’t involve him specifically in explicit content, and that if it does, that word spreads on the disturbing nature of it.