Police Reportedly Investigating

Mnet’s 2017 survival program “Idol School” is reportedly also being investigated by the police for suspicions of vote manipulation.

On September 6, it was reported by Sports Chosun that according to several sources from the entertainment industry, the police have officially begun to investigate Mnet’s “Idol School” for potential vote manipulation. According to the sources, the police called in for witness questioning several “Idol School” sources as well as the community of “Idol School” fans who raised suspicions of the show being manipulated.

On the same day, a fan community of “Idol School” filed a criminal complaint against Mnet and its employees for suspicions of being co-principals in committing fraud and co-principals in instigating the destruction of evidence.

According to Article 30 in the Limit of Applicability of Criminal Code, the act of being co-principals is “when two or more persons have jointly committed a crime,” and the act of being an instigator is when a person instigates another to commit a crime. If the person who is instigated consents to carry out the crime, the same punishment will be applied to both the instigator and the person who commits the crime.

A legal representative of the “Idol School” fan community argued, “For a certain trainee, the number of realtime paid text votes (about 5,000 votes) that were sent in during the final episode of the show, which was verified through an event that viewers willingly participated in to prove that they voted, showed a great gap from the number of realtime paid text votes that were revealed during the episode (about 2,600 votes).”

They continued, “If viewers had known in advance that there would be manipulation in the voting process of ‘Idol School’ and the process of counting the votes, they would have never participated in voting.” They also stated that this is enough to build a case for fraud.

The legal representative also stated that if it is revealed as true that some members of the “Idol School” production team deleted the raw data due to an order from Mnet, by law this would be instigating destruction of evidence.

They concluded, “While watching Mnet’s consistent attitude of avoiding responsibility regarding the repeated controversies, I wonder if this may not be just the simple mistake of a few people but rather the spread of negligence of media ethics throughout its organizational culture. We hope that all suspicions are resolved through detailed investigation.”

Previously on September 2, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency held an open press conference and confirmed that they are investigating the vote manipulation suspicions of the “Produce 101” series by analyzing the data they have acquired through search and seizure of the CJ ENM offices. At the time, the police had stated that they did not have plans scheduled to investigate “Idol School.”

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