The K-pop group Oh My Girl flew back to South Korea, after being held for 15 hours in an airport, when US customs officials suspected them of being sex workers. Oh My Girl had travelled to the US for an album cover shoot, but were detained by LA immigration authorities who rifled through their props and costumes.
"Then, probably because of their young age, they seem to have mistaken them as sex workers," said a spokesman for WM Entertainment. The group's record company is taking legal advice in America to see if the band's detention was illegal. There were also reports of issues with the girl band's type of visa, the record company added.
Oh My Girl are currently believed to be back in Seoul, even though they were booked to appear at a Los Angeles gala event on Saturday 12 December. A WM Entertainment rep said the band was very tired and will be resting. "We are discussing what to do with the disrupted filming."
K-popping all over
The K-Pop group formed in March and released their debut single Cupid in April. The band members are aged between 16-21.
South Korea's K-pop scene is hugely popular and dominated by young girl and boy bands, that are made of 3-15 members who are sometimes as young as 13 or 14 years old, according to Rappler.
The South Korean authorities took steps to curb oversexualised K-pop performances threatening to place R-ratings on films, music videos and TV shows that placed an exaggerated sexual emphasis on young singers and bands.
A law introduced in 2014 has stopped underage singers and actors from taking part in overnight performances and productions or from being coerced into sexualised portrayals. The aim is also to improve working conditions in the local entertainment sector.
South Korea's teenage pop stars have been known to rehearse and perform without sleep. Under the new law, underage stars will be guaranteed the basic rights to learn, rest and sleep, though exceptions can be made for projects requiring long-distance travel.