Prosecution In “Produce 101” Series Case Responds To Calls For Affected Members’ Names To Be Revealed
News outlet Money Today spoke to the prosecution about how some people are calling for the names to be revealed of those who allegedly benefited from the manipulation of votes in the “Produce 101” series.
It was recently reported that the prosecution found in their investigation of the “Produce 101” series that the rankings of all members of IZ*ONE and X1 were rigged, as the entire lineups were determined before the live finales for their shows even began. In addition, both Wanna One and I.O.I’s lineups were reportedly manipulated so that a trainee in the Top 11 was removed and someone outside of the Top 11 was brought in.
The investigation also found that ranking manipulation occurred in previous rounds (before the finales) of “Produce 101,” “Produce 101 Season 2,” and “Produce X 101,” causing some trainees to be eliminated despite higher votes than others who were boosted in the ranks.
Eight people have been indicted over the case, including producing director Ahn Joon Young, chief producer Kim Yong Bum, another show producer, and five entertainment agency executives. IZ*ONE and X1 have been on hiatus for over a month after Ahn Joon Young admitted to manipulating the rankings.
As the controversy has stretched out over months since the end of “Produce X 101” in July, there have been many calls for the reveal of the “raw data” of the votes in the finales, in other words the reveal of the ranking as determined by viewers’ actual votes. The lack of an announcement has led to much speculation and arguments online about who “benefited” from the manipulation. It’s said that some fans are announcing plans to pursue criminal charges against those who claim their favorite was rigged into their group, and some are also reporting comments on articles about the vote manipulation so they are deleted.
Among these calls for the reveal of the ranking as decided by voters, Money Today spoke to a source from the prosecution.
“The prosecution will not be revealing who the rigged members were in the future either,” the source said. “If the rigged members are revealed, some people will suffer and others will benefit, but that does not mean that the prosecution can announce it.”
They continued, “The prosecution fundamentally exists to uncover the facts of a criminal offense, and it collects evidence and investigates so that the appropriate punishment is carried out. It does not carry out an investigation on the basis of the fans wanting one.”
Money Today states that it’s possible that the names of the members suspected of being manipulated into the groups may be leaked indirectly during future trials as investigation records such as evidence emerge. However, the prosecution will not be revealing the names preemptively before that.
The first preparatory proceedings date for the eight people indicted in the case is December 20. As it is not necessary for the defendant to be present at preparatory proceedings for their trial, it is uncertain if Ahn Joon Young and others will be attending.