Calls to ban Lisa of BLACKPINK underlines debate on Twitter about social pressure, cyberbullying

The hashtag #แบนลิซ่า (Ban Lisa) trended on Thai Twitter on Monday as netizens once again express disapproval over Thai K-pop star and member of BLACKPINK Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban’s political apathy towards the current political crisis in Thailand.

Lisa, the 23-year-old main dancer and rapper of the famous girl group and a Thai citizen, has been under intense scrutiny during these past months since the 2020 pro-democracy movement began.

Pro-democracy supporters have over the past months been trying to push for celebrities to publicly come out in support of the current movement.

Back in September, hundreds of thousands of Thai Twitter users used the hashtag #แบนไอดอลคนไทยในเกาหลี (ban Thai idols in South Korea) to boycott famous Thai k-pop idols for not speaking up about it.

Now, it seems like the issue around Lisa, who is perhaps the most famous international celebrity from Thailand, and her lack of political participation has brought netizens to start pressuring her to call out once again.

Following this, fans and supporters of Lisa also started another hashtag to counter the negativity and pressure surrounding her with another hashtag, #กลมๆลิซ่า (Round Lisa), to instead focus on the K-Pop idol’s quirks and cuteness.

This online scowl sparked another debate surrounding celebrities and people with influence versus speaking out on sociopolitical issues. 

“It is pretty funny when an artist who preaches and sings about independence and self-assurance to millions of women and girls across the globe neglects the issue when the same women and girls in her home country are oppressed,” one Twitter user wrote. “Building this image as the swag, spunky and confident Hip Hop girl but in reality just keeps her mouth shut like a tamed woman who’s never been outside the box.”

“Fans and BLINKs that came out to protect their idol, please ask yourselves this — while you are supporting an artist who profits and sells on the image of progress but in turn is silent about issues of injustice, are you consuming entertainment and media that is based on fakeness?”

Those supportive of Lisa or who disagree with the many boycotts and bans have pointed out how forcing other people to agree with you and imposing your views on others is just as undemocratic.

“The fact that Lisa of BLACKPINK and other relevant Thai celebrities have not come out to call out [on this matter] does not mean that they support dictatorships or are against democracy, we all operate on different conditions in life,” another Twitter user wrote. “Lisa signed a contract to maintain a certain image and brand in accordance with her agency. They prohibit their artists from participating in or making political statements, in which they consider a very delicate and sensitive issue. Lisa is already doing her role well as an artist and towards her fans.”

“Those who are pressuring Lisa or celebrities like her to come out and speak on the current political issue in Thailand; and to force them to agree with or support the pro-democracy movement as you do because you think they have larger platforms and are influential — your actions seems to contradict with how you call yourselves “pro-democracy.””

So far, #BanLisa has garnered over 101k Tweets while #RoundLisa has 193k.

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