The Vote-Rigging Produce Series controversy is not dying down any time soon, in fact, it’s getting out of hand and now companies who allegedly bribed the main PDs of the show are being exposed.
Last night, it was revealed that the entire lineup of X1 and IZ*ONE were already pre-determined before the voting had even begun, it was also reported that one Wanna One member made it through fabrication as well.
PD Ahn Joon Young and Kim Yong Bum had reportedly met at CJ ENM headquarters to discuss the final lineups before voting even began. The lineups of X1 and IZ*ONE were decided before the final episode which infuriated netizens and rightfully so.
Many had spent money voting for their favorite idols. CJ ENM had reportedly made 124,465,000 Won ($104,588 USD) in profits from text message votes for ‘Produce 48’ and ‘Produce x 101′ alone. I.O.I also reportedly suffered from manipulation as well. Producer Ahn Joon Young reportedly dropped 2 trainees and replaced them with two others early on the series.
Following this official written arraignment to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, netizens demanded for the real lineups of X1 and IZ*ONE to be revealed and for the names of the companies that bribed the PDs to be revealed too.
On December 6, a new storm formed and it’s deeply affecting idols of X1 and IZ*ONE and trainees who didn’t even make it to the final lineup.
Various reputable Korean news outlets began to report on the names of the companies who participated in allegedly bribing the PDs to gain favorable editing on the show and to earn their trainees the final spots.
Yonhap News was the one that opened the gate, they reported on the indictment of eight people in the “Produce 101” series manipulation controversy.
They named PD (producing director) Ahn Joon Young, PD Lee, CP (chief producer) Kim Yong Bum, two Starship Entertainment executives Kim and Kim, former Woollim Entertainment employee Lee, and former 8D Creative employee Ryu, plus an eight member who’s name wasn’t revealed at the time.
This triggered controversy and conspiracy theories, netizens began to take a closer look at the trainees from those agencies who made it to X1 and IZ*ONE plus those who didn’t make it as well.
The eight individuals in question have been indicted on the suspicions of breach of trust through bribery and violations of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act.
The Yonhap report didn’t confirm whether the bribes influenced the final lineup but netizens are already drawing to that conclusion.
Starship Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment remain silent as of this writing. They have not answered any questions from the press, they continue to receive heavy backlash for their staff involvement.
8D Creative did respond, they stated that Mr. Ryu who was mentioned in the Yonhap report left their company and established his own last year; he no longer worked with them. 8D Creative also explained that they haven’t even been investigated by the police in relation to this huge controversy. They asked news outlets to not make up stories or publish speculative reports.
Later, the eighth member was revealed to be Around US Entertainment’s Kim, the group Highlight’s agency. Around US Entertainment had to issue a response quickly confirming that Mr. Kim indeed treated Ahn Joon Young for drinks, but no bribery took place according to their statement.
As you’d expect, they were heavily criticized for this statement since it didn’t make any sense according to netizens.
Starship Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment are still heavily criticized and any trainees from both their agencies are also receiving backlash as well. It seems that Korean news outlets will continue to report more details about the controversy in the upcoming days.
Mnet had previously issued a response, they apologized and explained the future of X1 and IZ*ONE will be revealed very very soon. Fans are growing increasingly worried the groups’ future.
What are your thoughts on this?