Earlier this week, K-pop star Seungri of the group BIGBANG made headlines after he was charged with supplying prostitutes and drugging women in his nightclub. Since then, Seungri’s contract with YG Entertainment has been terminated. Now, a number of other South Korean pop stars are being questioned.
Seungri, who had been a member of BIGBANG since their debut in 2006, is not only a singer and performer but an actor and entrepreneur, as well. One of his ventures was a nightclub in Seoul called Arena. During a police investigation into prostitution at Seoul nightclubs, Seungri’s name was found in incriminating text messages in a group chat on the popular Korean messaging app, KakaoTalk. He was charged on Monday with supplying prostitutes through the nightclub despite his denials of the accusations. Despite his denials, he announced that he will be stepping down as an entertainer.
YG Entertainment, who believes the texts were fabricated, issued a statement in South Korea’s largest newspaper, Chosun: “Seungri is said to be part of various allegations and controversies has appeared repeatedly. We bow deeply to offer our apology for causing disturbance to many people, including our fans.” The talent agency also went on to say that they accepted the singer’s request to terminate his contract with them.
However, Seungri is not the only K-pop star under investigation. Police stated that about 10 men were members of the group chat with Seungri, including F.T. Island member Choi Jong-hoon. The texts, found by a cell phone repair worker, also came from another Korean singer and actor, Jung Joon Young. The texts showed the numerous men in the group chat discussing arrangements for providing escort services to nightclub goers. Jung released a statement on Tuesday, writing: “I admit to all my crimes. I filmed women without their consent and shared it in a social media chatroom, and while I did so I didn’t feel a great sense of guilt.” Jung is accused of filming at least 10 women performing illicit acts without their consent. He also announced that he would step down from his roles within the entertainment industry.
Jung’s management company, MakeUS Entertainment, issued a statement in Chosun regarding Jung, saying, “Our company had judged that we can no longer continue the contract with Jung Joon Young considering the current situation.” Jung has been dropped from the popular Korean show 2 Days & 1 Night, and his appearances in the already filmed episodes will be edited out.
On Instagram, Seungri shared an announcement to his followers in Korean which, when translated, reads: “At this point, I think it would be best if I retire from the entertainment industry. I decided on retiring from the entertainment industry as the issues that I caused a societal disturbance with are too major. Regarding the issues that are being investigated, I will be investigated diligently and reveal all the suspicions… I personally cannot tolerate causing harm to everyone around me in order to save myself.”
Both Jung Joon Young and Seungri were seen arriving at a Seoul police station on Thursday where they faced questioning. Both stopped to speak to the more than 100 journalists that gathered outside of the station to speak to them. “I feel very sorry for causing concerns to the people and will faithfully undergo an investigation,” Jung stated. In Seungri’s statement to reporters, he stated: “I lower my head and offer [an] apology to the people and people nearby who were hurt and suffered … I will fully engage in the investigation with truthful answers.”