Police Book 10 Individuals Involved In “Produce X 101” Manipulation Case + Reportedly Looking Into Questioning Contestants
Police have booked 10 individuals involved in the recent “Produce X 101” controversy.
During a press conference held on November 12, Commissioner General Lee Yong Pyo of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated, “In total, about 10 individuals involved with ‘Produce X 101’ were booked, including high-ranking officials from CJ.” This also includes Ahn Joon Young, chief producer (CP) Kim Yong Bum, a producing director (PD) named “Lee,” and Starship Entertainment’s vice president “Kim.”
Commissioner General Lee Yong Pyo continued, “We believe that a thorough investigation should be conducted in order to create a fair society. We are also thoroughly investigating suspicions regarding the entertainment agencies, exchange of favors, and involvement of high-ranking officials.”
The 10 individuals are expected to be forwarded to the prosecution on November 14.
Meanwhile, Newsis reported that the police are planning to summon contestants from “Produce X 101” as witnesses to question them regarding the suspicions of manipulation.
According to the report, the police believe there are certain trainees who were benefited by the manipulation and others who suffered a disadvantage. Those who will be questioned include trainees of agencies that were searched and seized, as well as trainees who were highly likely to make it to the final lineup but did not make it. Newsis predicts that the police will ask the trainees if they heard anything while filming or from their agencies regarding rank manipulation. The news outlet adds that the police will look into all suspicions including the possibility that popular contestants were purposely taken out of the final lineup due to concerns that the results would complicate their upcoming agency-oriented activities.
Furthermore, police are reportedly investigating the possibility that there might have been lobbying and the exchange of favors by the so-called major agencies in the process of selecting the final 11 members out of the 101 contestants.
Newsis previously reported that Ahn Joon Young began receiving favors at drinking establishments that were allegedly paid for by an entertainment agency starting from January 2018. According to the report, escorts were present at the scene. Ahn Joon Young reportedly began receiving these favors six months after the finale of “Produce 101 Season 2” and five months before the premiere of “Produce 48.”
Police stated that over 100 million won (approximately $86,355) was spent for these drinking entertainment services. SBS reported on November 6 that Ahn Joon Young admitted to manipulating the results of “Produce X 101” in 2019 and “Produce 48” in 2018.