KEMA Fires Back At Politician After He Accused Highlight’s Lee Gikwang Of Chart Manipulation

Following accusations of chart manipulation made against several artists, the Korea Entertainment Management Association (KEMA) has spoken out on behalf of Lee Gikwang and his agency Around Us Entertainment.

The People’s Party candidate Kim Geun Tae recently accused the marketing company Creativer of illegally acquiring and misusing citizens’ accounts on music streaming sites to manipulate the charts. This is a form of sajaegi, the manipulation of music charts and sales/streaming numbers by an artist’s agency. Kim Geun Tae said he had evidence of this that he will reveal later on through an investigative agency.

The artists that were accused of taking part in this chart manipulation were Highlight’s Lee Gikwang, Ko Seung Hyung, GWSN, BADKIZ, BOL4, Song Ha Ye, Young Tak, YOYOMI, So Hyang, and Ali. The agencies of the artists have since responded to deny the claims and many have shared plans for legal action.

Lee Gikwang’s agency Around Us announced on April 13 that they have filed a criminal complaint against Kim Geun Tae for suspicions of defamation after he spread what they describe as groundless falsehoods about Lee Gikwang being connected to illegal music chart manipulation.

The agency stated that Kim Geun Tae had, without checking with the agency, named Lee Gikwang and put out false information. They added, “The act of wounding the image that the artist has built up while working earnestly is something that must be stamped out.” Around Us went on to state again that there was no chart manipulation committed for Lee Gikwang and they vowed to fully cooperate if an investigation is carried out.

On April 14, KEMA issued a strongly-worded statement addressing the matter and condemning the actions of Kim Geun Tae.

The People’s Party proportional representation nominee Kim Geun Tae, explain and apologize for defaming artist Lee Gikwang by fabricating groundless falsehoods!

Hello, this is the Korea Entertainment Management Association.

Recently, The People’s Party proportional representation nominee Kim Geun Tae spread falsehoods by saying he would reveal evidence of digital sajaegi and chart manipulation. Artists achieved these results through patience and hard work, and he is using the trust in them and the results of their efforts for his political agenda, thereby breaking down and disregarding the trust that the artist and their agency have built over all that time. The association can no longer stand by and watch this, so we are issuing a statement on this matter.

1. The People’s Party proportional representation nominee Kim Geun Tae, explain the relationship between the election of members of the National Assembly and your falsehoods about how charts were manipulated through sajaegi.

2. The People’s Party proportional representation nominee Kim Geun Tae, make a request to find out if there was systemic sajaegi on digital music services such as FLO, Melon, and Genie and therefore explain yourself.

The People’s Party proportional representation nominee Kim Geun Tae is currently unable to provide clear evidence of the digital sajaegi that he is claiming happened, and he is also making the illogical claim that if artists didn’t commit digital sajaegi, they have to explain what happened themselves. In addition, he is using South Korea’s National Assembly members election, which is a symbol of democracy, to use his outdated malicious attempts to gain attention by making it an issue, using artist Lee Gikwang of our member agency Around Us to change public opinion.

Around Us artist Lee Gikwang of Highlight, who was mentioned in this case, has worked for over 10 years since his debut in the entertainment industry as an artist advancing culture and spreading awareness about K-pop and the Korean Wave both domestically and abroad, and he is a young person who is earnestly serving as a conscripted policeman and is worthy of pride. When all of these falsehoods are proven to be lies, we will consider nominee Kim as having taken advantage and used a celebrity to create an issue without any philosophy of his own clear policy, and KEMA will work together until the end for the sake of the agency’s authority and the recovery of trust in the artist.

Kim Geun Tae has also responded after Lee Gikwang’s agency filed their criminal complaint. In a call with Xportsnews, he confirmed that he saw the complaint from Lee Gikwang. He said, “I have already submitted a bill of indictment that explains everything about the chart manipulation. There’s nothing I would change about my original statement.”

Previously, when asked about how many of the artists were responding to his accusations with plans for legal action, Kim Geun Tae said, “It’s their right to take legal action.”

He said again on April 14, “It’s the right of Lee Gikwang and other artists to file criminal complaints against me for suspicions of defamation. I will also be taking my own planned steps.”

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Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews

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