- The Burning Sun Scandal
- Park Yoo-Chun Assault/Drug Allegations
- Death of Son Ho-Young’s Girlfriend
- Dahee Tries to Blackmail Lee Byung-hun
- Kangin Hit and Run Incident
- The Bullying of Mina by Jimin
- The Bullying of Lee Hyunjoo by APRIL members
- Daesung’s Car Accident
Thanks to the global success of BTS and BLACKPINK, Kpop is better than ever before. It is now a $6 billion industry with over 150 million fans worldwide. Now Kpop stars are under the spotlight more than ever. Therefore, many Kpop entertainment companies spend millions of dollars annually ensuring their artists have the right public image. The Kpop industry has a controversial history, with many artists complaining about being under “slave contracts” and some even committing suicide. Scandals in Kpop are controlled very well by Kpop Entertainment companies; however, some scandals are just too big to bury.
Below is a list of the biggest scandals in Kpop History. Some involve corruption, drug use, bullying, or sexual violence.
The Burning Sun Scandal
How did one of the biggest scandals in Kpop start? No Kpop fan would have guessed that a member of Big Bang would someday end up possibly going to jail. Below is a complete timeline of the Burning Sun Scandal.
January 28th, 2019
Korean news showed a CCTV video of a guy getting beat up at a club called “Burning Sun.” The guy said the club security guards attacked him. However, the guy ended up getting arrested by the police. The incident happened in November 2018.
The guy ended up giving his account of what happened that night. He said a woman, who said she was sexually assaulted, ran to him and hid behind him at the club. The guy asked the club security guard to help the woman, but instead, he got beaten up by the security guards. He was then taken to the police station. In addition, he said the police beat him up some more at the police station.
Once the video was released, the police were forced to investigate what happened at the Burning Sun club and look into the club director who was Seungri. Seungri is estimated to hold a 20% stake in the club.
February 2nd, 2019
A group chat on Kakao was released. The chat was about finding a drugged woman to take to the VIP room. The staff at the Burning Sun chatted about VIPs having sex with drunk/drugged women. The acts were allegedly recorded via a hidden camera. Seungri claims he didn’t know this activity was happening at the club. Police continued investigating and found that many kinds of drugs, like ecstasy, were distributed at many clubs in Gangnam, including Burning Sun.
February 26th, 2019
Police start investigating Seungri for supplying prostitutes for VIP international guests. Text messes came out with Seungri telling his employees to prepare escorts for important VIP investors. Seungri has denied all this. He said he couldn’t remember because it happened three years ago….YG Entertainment came out with a statement that the text messages were fake.
March 3rd, 2019
The CEO of Buring Sun admits to bribery. He said he paid off police officers.
March 11th, 2019
Police question Seungri on charges related to prostitution. They also said that more people are implicated in the Kakao chat room. The men were rumored to be famous Korean celebrities. The chatroom had videos of sexual assault taken without the victim’s knowledge. Moreover, the text exchanges also talked about having sex with women who were passed out/fed sleeping pills. Seungri announces that he is quitting the entertainment industry.
August 3rd, 2019
A former police officer was sentenced to one year in jail for accepting $17,000 to stop investigating allegations of a minor entering the club. In addition, the Buring Sun operator, Lee Mun-ho, was sentenced to one year for illegal substance use.
November 7th, 2019
Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were found guilty of gang-raping two victims on two separate occasions in 2016. Furthermore, Jung was also convicted of secretly filming himself having sex with other women and sharing the footage without their content.
December 14th, 2019
Another employee named Cho was sentenced to 4 years and six months in prison for illegal substance possession and drug trafficking.
January 27th, 2020
Prosecutors indicted Seungri for violating prostitution, illegal gambling, and foreign currency trading laws. Seungri was accused of buying prostitutes for himself and business investors from Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong, engaging in illegal gambling overseas and failing to report to South Korean authorities about the money he borrowed abroad to use in gambling. Seungri has previously denied most of the allegations. They told him to report for 21 months of mandatory military service because prosecutors had ended their investigation of him. Therefore, his care will be handed over to a military court.
May 12th, 2020
Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon had significantly reduced prison sentences for gang rape and spycam crimes. The Seoul High Court reduced Jung’s sentence from 6 years to 5 and Choi’s from 5 to 2 1/2. Furthermore, Choi reached an agreement with one of his victims.
August 12th, 2021
A military court jailed Seungri for three years for arranging sex services and other charges. He was found guilty of all nine counts against him. He was convicted of arranging sex services for potential investors and being involved in illicit foreign exchange transactions. In addition, Seungri was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.
Park Yoo-Chun Assault/Drug Allegations
Back in 2016, Park Yoo-chun, a member of the Kpop boy group JYJ was accused by four women of sexual assault. The alleged assaults were said to have taken place between 2014-2016. Park Yoo-chun was found not guilty, but massive damage had already been done to his reputation. However, in 2020 Park Yoo-chun was sentenced to 2 years of probation for drug use. He was accused of using drugs in 2019. However, he did not get jail time because he was a first-time offender.
Death of Son Ho-Young’s Girlfriend
In 2013, G.O.D.’s Son Ho-Young was questioned by Gangnam Police when his then-girlfriend was found dead in his car. Police records show a bottle of sleeping pills was found in the car as well as a note. The note criticized Son Ho-Young with his girlfriend, saying she was disappointed in him. Police questioned son Ho-Young for over 2 hours. Moreover, days later, Son Ho-Young tried to kill himself using the same method used by his girlfriend. However, he was unable to and was hospitalized for four days.
Dahee Tries to Blackmail Lee Byung-hun
Kpop artist Dahee of the girl group Glam tried to blackmail famous Korean actor Lee Byung-hun for over $4 million. She threatened to release a video recorded on a cell phone of Lee Byung-hun drinking with her and a model named Lee Ji-yeon. In the video, it is alleged that Lee Byung-hun made lewd remarks. Both women later confessed to the attempted blackmail. The excuse given by Dahee was that she was in heavy debt with Big Hit Entertainment. In addition, Lee Ji-yeon claims she had an affair with the actor, but the actor broke things off. Both women went to jail for around one year. Dahee was quickly kicked out of Glam.
Kangin Hit and Run Incident
In 2016, Super Junior’s Kangin was involved in a hit-and-run in Gangnam. He smashed his Mercedes-Benz into a streetlight after drunk driving. After crashing into the streetlight, Kangin fled the scene in his car. A few hours later, he turned himself in to the police. He had a .05% blood alcohol level. In addition, the accident was caught on camera. A few months later, he caused a traffic accident while under alcohol, where he had to pay a $6,000 fine.
The Bullying of Mina by Jimin
In 2020, a former member of Kpop girl group AOA, Mina, revealed the many years of bullying by AOA members. She revealed that Jimin, the group’s leader, was behind all the bullying. Mina said she was bullied for ten years. She left the group because she could no longer handle the bullying. Moreover, this led Mina to have suicidal thoughts. When Mina posted her bullying experience on social media, Jimin posted an apology letter on Instagram. She stated that she regretted her behavior and begged Mina to forgive her. However, FNC Entertainment removed Jimin from the group and apologized for mishandling the situation. This was one of the biggest Kpop scandals of 2020.
The Bullying of Lee Hyunjoo by APRIL members
Former APRIL member Lee Hyunjoo recently stated that she was bullied by APRIL members and even thought about killing herself. Lee Hyunjoo ended up leaving the group in 2016. She also claims that DSP Media knew the situation and did nothing about it. DSP Media stated they would be taking legal action against Lee Hyunjoo’s criminal and civil brother for posting the allegations online. Moreover, Lee Hyunjoo claims that the bullying lasted two years, from 2014-2016. Some of the bullyings she claims occurred include violent actions/behavior, ridicule, swearing, and attacks on her character.
Daesung’s Car Accident
In 2011, Daesung was dismissed from all charges over the death of a motorcyclist in a car accident. There was no sufficient evidence that the motorcyclist was alive when Daesung hit him with his car. Therefore, it is possible that the motorcyclist was killed in an earlier crash into a street lamp. The biggest clue was that the motorcyclist’s blood-alcohol level was .186 before hitting the streetlamp.
Three minutes after hitting the streetlamp, the motorcyclist was run over by Daesung’s vehicle. Prosecutors felt Daesung hit the victim due to negligent driving but could not prove he caused the motorcyclist’s death.