The seven members of BTS will not be exempt from mandatory service in South Korea’s military—meaning the K-pop superstars will need to step away at the height of their success. The Grammy-nominated group, also known as the Bangtan Boys, had hoped to skip the 18-month service that all South Koreans must serve after they turn 18. Reuters reports the decision to deny an exemption to the young men, who range in age from 22 to 26, has sparked debate about whether entertainers and athletes should have to do full military service. “Exempting pop-culture artists from military service even though they have made a contribution to the country’s reputation is not in line with the government’s stance to uphold justice and fairness,” the defense ministry said in announcing the denial of their request for exemption. The group has had three No. 1 hits on Billboard’s chart and have filled concert arenas across the world.
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