8 People Indicted In “Produce 101” Manipulation Controversy
Eight people have been indicted in connection with the controversy surrounding vote manipulation in the “Produce 101” series.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office stated on December 3 that producing director Ahn Joon Young and chief producer Kim Yong Bum have been indicted with physical detention for suspicions of obstruction of business and fraud. A show producer known as “A” and five others including entertainment agency staff members have been indicted without physical detention for suspicions such as breach of trust through bribery and violations of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act.
According to the prosecution, they are under suspicion of manipulating the results of the paid votes received from viewers during the live broadcasts of all four seasons of “Produce 101” in favor of certain contestants.
Ahn Joon Young is also under suspicion of breach of trust through taking bribes. It was previously reported that in January 2018, he began receiving favors at drinking establishments that were allegedly paid for by an entertainment agency. According to the report, escorts were present, and police have stated that over 100 million won (approximately $86,355) was spent for these drinking entertainment services.
The producing director reportedly previously admitted to manipulating the rankings of “Produce 48” and “Produce X 101” and partially admitted to manipulating the first two seasons of the show. The prosecution has now stated that they’ve confirmed that the viewer votes for all seasons of “Produce 101” were manipulated.
On December 3, Mnet released an apology statement. “Produce 48” group IZ*ONE and “Produce X 101” group X1 have been on hiatus after Ahn Joon Young admitted to manipulating the rankings, and Mnet also stated that they will announce plans for the future for these groups as soon as possible.