The K-pop group will perform at the King Fahd International Stadium in the capital city of Riyadh on Oct. 11, according to their website. They are reportedly the first foreign act to hold a solo stadium concert in the country.
The decision to play in Saudi Arabia has sparked mixed reactions on social media, with some fans complaining that the band shouldn’t play in the country due to its poor human rights record. One Twitter user pointed out that BTS has done work with the United Nations and “should have known better.”
Others disagreed, arguing that the band is playing for the people, not their government. Some also called the concert a positive step forward for Saudi Arabia.
The news comes after Nicki Minaj announced on July 9 that she was pulling out of performing in Saudi Arabia following public criticism. On July 5, the Human Rights Foundation published an open letter asking the rapper to exit the Jeddah World Fest in the country, which is funded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Since coming to power in 2017, MBS has spearheaded a crackdown on human rights, especially those of the women who live in his Kingdom,” wrote HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen. “If you move forward with this performance, you will be condoning, and serving the public relations needs, of a government that executes homosexuals for the ‘crime’ of being who they are. Just three months ago five gay men were beheaded after they confessed to crimes under torture.”
EW has reached out to BTS and HRF for comment.
Read below for more reactions to BTS’s upcoming show in Saudi Arabia: