MBK Entertainment Producer And PocketDol Studio CEO Receive Fine For “Produce 101” Vote Manipulation
MBK Entertainment’s general producer and PocketDol Studio’s CEO have been sentenced to a fine for manipulating votes in favor of their trainees on “Produce 101.”
On January 22, legal sources reported that the Seoul Central District Court had sentenced Kim Kwang Soo, the general producer of MBK Entertainment, and “Park” (Park Kyu Heon), the CEO of PocketDol Studio, which is a subsidiary of MBK, to fines of 10 million won each (about $9,100).
The two have been indicted on charges of obstruction of business. Both have been charged with buying 10,000 IDs between March and April 2016 and making MBK Entertainment employees use these borrowed IDs to vote and raise the rankings of three trainees from the agency. This resulted in about 89,228 false votes being cast in the third and final rounds of voting in the first season of “Produce 101.”
The court stated, “The defendants used illegal methods to raise the rankings of their agency trainees on the audition program by acquiring false IDs en masse and forcing company employees and trainees to vote. This had an effect on the rankings. Even though the defendants had produced and planned audition-style programs themselves, they not only failed to cultivate a clear, transparent, and fair business culture, but even used false votes and other secretive methods to sow distrust.”
However, the court ruled that although the voting manipulation had had a limited effect on the rankings, it did not affect the final lineup. The court said, “The effect of the defendants’ voting manipulation had a limited effect on the rankings of the agency trainees, but it did not affect the final selection of the idol group members. In the sentence, we have taken into account that the defendants have acknowledged their wrongdoing and have had no criminal record in the past five years.”
This case is separate from the “Produce” voting manipulation case involving Ahn Joon Young, the producing director of the series, and Kim Yong Bum, the chief producer of the series, which was sent to the Supreme Court in November 2020.