IST Entertainment Changes New Boy Group ABO’s Name Due To Fans’ Concernsjessie tan
International fans found the original name very offensive.
IST Entertainment recently launched its new boy group but has already changed their name.
IST Entertainment is the agency behind the boy group The Boyz and the girl group Apink. Their new boy group is set to debut soon.
The new boy group’s members were selected via the agency’s survival audition program The Origin – A, B, Or What? in collaboration with Kakao TV and MBN. It aired from March 19 to May 7.
It focused on 13 male contestants, born in 2002-2005: Junho, Minseo, Junseok, Junmin, Jinwook, Hyunjun, Daehyun, Donghwa, Rakwon, Seunghwan, Yeonkyu, Bin, and Jaehoon. Ultimately, the seven finalists selected were Seunghwan, Junseok, Rakwon, Junmin, Hyunjun, Donghwa, and Yeonkyu.
Celebrity mentors included GOT7’s leader Jay B, Infinite’s leader Sungkyu, former 2NE1 member Minzy, dancer and choreographers Kwak Yoon Young, and Hwang Gyu Hong.
At the start of May, the new boy group’s name was revealed to be ABO (also stylized as ABØ). It not only referenced the show’s title but was an acronym for “At the Beginning of Originality.” It was meant to communicate the group’s “ambition to be original in the K-pop scene.”
Yet, immediately it was meant with criticism. K-Pop fans had mixed feelings about it.
For some, a fanfiction tag, particularly on Archive of Our Own (AO3), came to mind. “ABO” is short for “Alpha, Beta, Omega.”
Most of all, though, many had concerns that the group’s name would be commonly associated with a racial slur. Naturally, they were disturbed.
Netizens pointed out that “ABO” could easily be associated with an offensive slur. It is almost identical to an ethnic slur towards Aboriginal Australians, originating in the early 20th century.
K-Pop fans noted that though the name had a clear differential meaning and pronunciation, it could be potentially problematic.
Netizens wished more thorough research had been done before selecting the group’s name.
Others made a great effort to educate IST Entertainment on the issue. The group has not quite made their debut yet…
So, they hoped it not be too late for IST Entertainment to make a change. So, netizens brought it to the company’s attention via social media and urged them to change the name, even if it was as small as adding periods or slashes in between the letters to differentiate.
At the end of the month, it was revealed that IST Entertainment had deleted the potential trademarking for “ABO.” They indeed would change the group’s name after all.
So, netizens’ voices were heard. And everyone was relieved.
Finally, on June 3 (KST), IST Entertainment made an official statement via social media in multiple languages, announcing the group’s name change to “ATBO,” keeping the original meaning while still respecting international fans.
We fully understand the international fans’ concerns over how the name ‘ABO’ may be mistaken for the wrong meaning in certain regions, and after internal discussions, we have decided to change the name of the team.
— IST Entertainment
Still, fans had mixed reactions to the news. Many were glad that IST Entertainment listened, while others felt it was the bare minimum.
What do you think about the name change?
Previously, Jay B encouraged Ahgases to support ABØ.