Burning Sun Club Issues Statements In Response To Controversies
The club Burning Sun has addressed recent controversies.
On January 28, MBC’s “News Desk” aired a report about an assault at the club, which was managed by BIGBANG’s Seungri. The victim Mr. Kim stated that when he was attempting to help a woman who was being sexually harassed at the club, he was beaten by security guards. He said that when police arrived, he was arrested as an assailant and also assaulted by the police.
On January 29, Burning Sun Entertainment issued a statement regarding the assault incident at the club. The letter is signed by CEOs Lee Sung Hyun and Lee Moon Ho, who apologized and stated that a staff member has been dismissed over the events.
Their statement is as follows:
We understand that much doubt and controversy has arisen in relation to the Gangnam assault incident reported on MBC News at 8 p.m. on January 28, 2019.
The incident occurred in the process of a staff member responding to a civil complaint from a female guest who said that she had been the victim of sexual harassment. We express our sincere apology and remorse as the representatives of the club’s management team for arousing criticism over assault by a club staff member.
We will fully cooperate in the investigation process as necessary to allow for the thorough investigation of the truth related to the various doubts brought up in that report, including submitting all of the CCTV footage that recorded the details related to that incident to the investigative agency.
Also, regarding the person from the club connected to that assault incident, we are holding him responsible and have taken disciplinary action and dismissal measures. We will do our best to prevent this from happening again in the future through actions such as education for our club staff and the creation of manuals on safety and security.
In addition, a CCTV video from the club uploaded by Mr. Kim has become an issue of concern online. It includes a woman stumbling as she’s dragged through a hallway at the club, and there has been much speculation over the events taking place in the video. It was uploaded on YouTube on December 27 of last year.
Mr. Kim described, “Less than 10 days after my incident occurred on November 24, a woman who was intoxicated by something was dragged by her hair by a Burning Sun guard down a VIP hall. The woman grabbed on to the computer and desk and seemed to be in need of help, but the staff ignored that. I received information that the woman reported this to the police, but the police let it pass and Burning Sun deleted the CCTV [footage].”
He went on to state that he has heard that similar incidents occur twice a day, and that the police receives a large amount of money from Burning Sun, with the police and Burning Sun having an agreement where they do not enter the club under the pretext of it being a disturbance of business.
Burning Sun has issued a statement on Instagram about the video and also uploaded two clips allegedly from the same night.
They wrote the following:
This is our explanation statement regarding the video in question.
There are additional videos from the same day as when she was dragged out.
On December 1, 2018 around 1:35 a.m.,
An intoxicated woman (Thai) at a VIP table
was causing a disturbance through actions such as
unsealing alcohol at the table and secretly drinking it,
and so actions were taken for her to leave.
In the process of her leaving, she committed the first act of assault on the guard’s head.
After our Burning Sun guard team called the police, they were waiting and a female Burning Sun guard was in charge.
A staff member who was able to communicate with the foreigner (the male wearing a denim jacket) explained the situation in English
but she became angry instead and she assaulted the female guard and sales team member.
After the police arrived, we submitted the video in question to the police,
the foreign guest was arrested,
we received assault settlement money afterwards for the repair cost of the laptop, and the case was closed.
Burning Sun also shared a post made by the female security guard on Facebook, which included her description of the events that corroborates the club’s official statement. She denied the idea that the woman was being taken away to be sexually assaulted, as has been speculated, and included an apology letter written in English that is described as from the woman.
In addition, news outlet E-Daily has reported that Director Jang of Burning Sun shared further CCTV footage from the club with them and stated, “No matter what the reason, I apologize that violence was committed.” He went on to say, “As is seen in the CCTV footage, I witnessed Mr. Kim approaching female guests numerous times, and as civil complaints from guests increased I couldn’t let it pass. It’s true that there is ambiguity about ‘harassment’ due to the particular nature of it being a ‘club.'”
He added, “Currently there are many articles with related search terms that say ‘Seungri club.’ However, not only was Seungri not at the club on the day of the incident, he’s also someone we do not see often. I want to say clearly that the assault was my mistake. I will submit the related materials such as CCTV footage to the police and sincerely undergo the investigation.”
Burning Sun told E-Daily that Director Jang has left the business. They stated, “We feel apologetic about Director Jang’s overreaction; however a thorough investigation must be carried out about the sexual harassment of female [guests].”
Meanwhile, there has been discussion online surrounding the claims that Seungri was absent from the club on the day of Mr. Kim’s assault. Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon posted a photo in the early hours of November 24 of herself with Seungri at Burning Sun after she performed at an event at the club, which began on the evening of November 23. According to an announcement about the event, Hyoyeon was scheduled to perform at 12:30 a.m. on November 24. This has not been addressed by an official representative from the club, and it is not known if Seungri was still at the club at the time of the incident.
A petition has been created on the Blue House petition board calling for the investigation of the police who were involved in the arrest of Mr. Kim. As of 9 p.m. KST, it reached over 170,000 signatures.
YG Entertainment has not issued a statement about this matter.
Updated January 30 KST:
On January 30, a representative from Burning Sun told the Kyunghyang Shinmun, “It’s true that Seungri managed Burning Sun, but he’s not really an owner. There is currently a separate owner of Burning Sun. When the interior design was being done to manage a club inside a hotel, we heard that Seungri was looking for an opportunity to manage a club, so it was suggested to him that he manage it together.”
They went on to state, “Everyone thinks that Seungri is the CEO. It’s true that Seungri participated in the management of the club, but he’s not actually the club’s owner.”
KBS News also reported that Seungri had been a director of the club but resigned from the position last week.
Stay tuned for updates on this unfolding issue.