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Students to stage protest at Gaga’s concert venue

April 26, 2012 - 18:08 By Korea Herald
Lady Gaga opens her 2012/2013 world tour in Seoul on Friday. (Universal Music)
U.S. sociologist says Christian protesters feel offended by singer’s use of religious symbolism

A college group announced on Thursday that they will stage a “massive protest” outside Lady Gaga’s concert in Seoul on Friday, claiming the artist has offended many youngsters with her “abnormal, obscene” performances.

“We, Korean students, are hereby warning Lady Gaga, who has performed sexually perverted acts on stage in the name of freedom of expression, to stop her vulgar concert and go home,” said a student group which calls itself the Student Alliance for Safeguarding Korean Culture in a press release.

“We will stage a massive protest near the Seoul Olympic Stadium and will ask other youths around the world to participate in the (anti-Gaga) campaign via social networking services. We will also boycott companies that continue to support Lady Gaga.”
A civic group member hangs a banner showing a picture of U.S. pop star Lady Gaga on a wall to call for the cancellation of her concert, in Seoul,Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)

The announcement came a day before the superstar kicks off her world tour in Seoul. The upcoming concert is the opener for Lady Gaga’s world tour. The artist is scheduled to perform in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand following the Seoul show.

Since last week, some conservative Christian groups have been staging a series of protests against the concert, accusing the singer of advocating homosexuality and pornography.

Some churches in Seoul are planning to hold group prayers or services against Lady Gaga, one of today’s most influential artists. There is also a protest in front of the Hyundai Card head office building, calling on the company, the official sponsor of the concert, to cancel it.

While critics here are calling for cultural tolerance, a U.S. sociologist suggested that the protesters may feel offended by what Lady Gaga does and by what she stands for.

“Mainly because Lady Gaga uses religious symbols and because she is a supporter of gay rights,” said Mathieu Deflem, a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina, in an interview.

“However, I think these groups are not very well-informed, because Lady Gaga herself is very religious and not out to destroy young people,” he said.

Deflem added that the protest is “just a very small faction,” because there are many other people who are religious who support the outspoken artist famous for provocative performance and enormous celebrity power.

Asked whether some Christian groups in the United States are also against her, Deflem said there have been similar protests not only against Lady Gaga but others as well because “these fringe groups protest all pop music because they think it perverts youth.”

Protesters in the U.S. are also a very small fraction and they do not represent Christianity and religion as a whole, he added.

The sociologist has done research on music censorship and teaches a course on the fame of Lady Gaga at the University of South Carolina. He is currently in Seoul to lecture on K-pop at a university and also to attend Lady Gaga’s concert on Friday.

Deflem argued that Lady Gaga is someone who many can rely on in a world full of anger and fear.

“Lady Gaga came around at the time when she did, in a world that is filled with uncertainties and anxieties, many changes, and so on,” he said.

“Lady Gaga is possible precisely because the world otherwise is so uncertain, e.g. because of economic problems. She provides relief, she provides an anchor.”

The 26-year-old star arrived in Seoul on Friday night via her private jet, a week before the Seoul concert. It is unusual for a high-profile entertainer to visit a foreign country a week before a show. However, she hasn’t spoken a word or appeared in public for nearly a week in Seoul, contrary to her active personality. The artist also refused to hold press conference in Seoul, her tour promoters said.

Meanwhile, an industry expert said the U.S. singer is avoiding the media attention in Seoul probably not to fuel to angry opponents.

“Lady Gaga is a perfectionist. She probably won’t do anything that would harm her tour, by making any of comments in Seoul,” said an insider who declined to be identified.

By Cho Chung-un (