Recently, SEVENTEEN's Joshua (along with members S.Coups, Jeonghan, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, The8, Mingyu, DK, Seungkwan, Vernon, Dino) became embroiled in dating rumors with a non-celebrity woman. The rumors, which began on social media and online communities, spread rapidly.
It's claimed that Joshua enjoyed what's known as "lovestagram" with his girlfriend 'A' through Instagram, flaunting secret love affairs and even boasting shared clothing. This caught attention with evidence and photos. On Twitter, keywords like 'Joshua', 'Joshua dating rumors', 'Joshua's girlfriend' trended, gathering attention. There were even voices of discomfort from fans over countless similar outfits, referred to as 'wardrobe sharing'. If the "lovestagram" is true, the situation worsens as it is not press stalking but deceiving fans about the relationship, adding insult to injury.
However, Pledis Entertainment, Joshua's agency and a subsidiary of HYBE, has chosen silence over confirming or denying the dating. iMBC Entertainment tried to contact them for two days, but they did not respond. This was markedly different from how other agencies respond to press during baseless dating rumors. They chose complete lack of contact without even a minimum response, like an explanation for avoiding comments on private lives or urging not to report false facts.
Fans' resentment has grown. Some have criticized Joshua's lack of communication as deceptive, and others have overinterpreted the silence as acknowledgment, even suggesting cohabitation, tarnishing SEVENTEEN's image. The agency's silent stance is considered more incomprehensible, especially compared to Pledis's previous promotions as the best idol.
As K-culture spreads globally and fandom grows, fan culture is maturing. Respect between fans and artists is increasing, and some fans maturely support their idols' relationships. The process and handling of these matters will influence fans' feelings.
SEVENTEEN is at a critical point, with a comeback planned for October. They revealed in their July concert 'FOLLOW' TO SEOUL that they are nearly finished with the new album. Album producer Woozi also asked fans to wait, acknowledging the pressure to follow up their hit "Son O Gong."
However, less than a month later, Joshua is caught in a fan deception controversy, and Pledis Entertainment is showing a response close to misconduct.