In addition to Jung, K-Pop stars Big Bang's Seungri, F.T. Island's Choi Jong-hoon, Highlight member Yong Jun-hyung, and CNBlue singer Lee Jong-hyun are reportedly under investigation

By Joelle Goldstein
March 22, 2019 02:35 AM
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Credit: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

K-pop star Jung Joon-young was arrested this week after he allegedly recorded women without their consent and shared the sexually-explicit videos to a group that included other South Korean music icons.

Jung, 30, is one of five stars from K-pop, the largely clean-cut, highly-managed South Korean music genre, who have been under investigation as part of the alleged non-consensual video sex scandal, which has come to be known as the Burning Sun Scandal, according to the South China Morning Post.

In addition to Jung, Big Bang’s Seungri, F.T. Island band member Choi Jong-hoon, Highlight singer Yong Jun-hyung, and CNBlue’s Lee Jong-hyun are currently under investigation.

All but Lee have left the industry in the wake of the allegations, but none of them have been arrested.

The five men are suspected of having been participants in a group chat where they allegedly shared explicit videos of at least 10 women engaging in sex acts who either were unaware or did not consent to being filmed, SCMP said.

From left: Seungri, Jung Joon-young, and Choi Jong-hoon
| Credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images (3)

Text messages obtained by The Korea Times allegedly show the five men sending the secret, explicit videos to each other, making jokes about rape, and discussing their sexual encounters.

Besides sending and watching the clips, Seungri, 28, is also under investigation for sex abuse, sex trafficking, and allegedly drugging female customers at his former nightclub Burning Sun — which the scandal was named after, SCMP said.

Choi, meanwhile, is also accused of bribing a policeman to cover up his past DUI records from 2016, according to the outlet.

Jung was first questioned by police last week, CNN reports. On Thursday, he appeared at a court hearing — where he publicly issued an apology for his allegedly filming and sharing the videos — and was arrested by South Korean Police shortly after.

“I am truly sorry. I admit to all charges against me. I will not challenge the charges brought by the investigative agency, and I will humbly accept the court’s decision,” he said, per CNN. “I bow my head in apology to the women who were victimized by my actions.”

According to CBC, it is common for South Koreans to issue apologies during scandals, even as they maintain their innocence.

Jung Joon-young
| Credit: Ilgan Sports/Multi-Bits via Getty Images

Jung first broke onto the scene in 2012 on South Korean channel Mnet’s talent show series, Superstar K4. Though the performer finished in third place, he went on host several television and radio shows before transitioning into a solo music career.

With his debut album in 2013, Jung earned the award for Best New Male Solo Artist of the Year at South Korea’s annual Gaon Chart K-pop Awards. His last album The First Person was released in 2017.

In the wake of the allegations, Jung and Choi, 29, were dropped by their management companies MakeUS Entertainment and FNC Entertainment respectively, according to CNN and AllKPop.

Seungri and Yong, 29, however, exited the industry on their own and made the announcements on their Instagrams.

“I think I’d better leave the entertainment industry at this moment,” Seungri, who has denied all allegations, wrote in a post on March 11. “I just cannot bear causing any further damage to people around me, while being hated and criticized by the public and being treated as a nation’s enemy during the investigation.”

Yong also wrote an emotional post on March 14, where he shared his side of the story, denied the allegations, and announced his official departure from the pop band.

“I will withdraw from the group Highlights on March 14, 2019, as I realize the seriousness of this issue and I do not want to do any further damage to my fans and members who have been disappointed by me,” he said.

Lee and Choi have also denied any involvement with the scandal.

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At this time, it is unclear when Jung’s next court hearing is scheduled for. If he is found guilty, he faces a potential five years in prison or fines of more than $26,000, CNN reported.

K-pop, which has produced a plethora of male idols and boy bands, including BTS (who was not involved with the sex scandal) has become a global phenomenon in recent years. In 2017, the industry was worth $4.7 billion, according to SCMP.

BTS, alone, was worth more than $3.6 billion to South Korea’s economy each year, the outlet said in December.