Prior to their trip to America, K-pop girl group Oh My Girl, who made their debut in March, was relatively under the radar.
However, in just one day, news agencies all over the world reported on them after they were detained at the LA airport – the customs officers suspected that the girl group members were “working girls”, or prostitutes.
WM Entertainment, the agency that Oh My Girl is under, initially released a statement and claimed that the girls were detained for 15 hours after the officers inspected their luggage, which contained their costumes and props, and suspected them to be sex workers.
Later, it was alleged that they were denied entry because they had the wrong type of visa – they claimed they were there as tourists when they were actually there to film a music video, as well as for a performance.
After the news made headlines all over the world, LA Weekly reported that the agency hadn’t reported the whole truth: the girls were not detained for 15 hours; they were just asked to take the first flight back to South Korea, so that was essentially the time they had to wait for their flight.
Further contradicting their initial statement was the agency’s admission to the real reason the girls were denied entry: the staff travelling with them claimed to be their “sister”, which led to the customs officer being skeptical about the purpose of their visit.
WM Entertainment told a Korean news outlet that the staff and the girls didn’t face a problem clearing immigrations, but when they were trying to pass through the customs, an officer asked what the relationship between the staff and Oh My Girl members was, the staff said ‘sister’, which led to the misunderstanding.
“Sister” might be a common term used to describe a close friend, acquaintance or colleague who is younger or older than you, but in other countries, and notably in the American culture, “sister” is only used to describe someone whom you share blood ties with.
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