“Idol School” Chief Producer Receives Prison Sentence For Vote Manipulation
The chief producer (CP) of the Mnet program “Idol School” has received a sentence for manipulating votes.
On June 10, a sentencing hearing was held at Seoul Central District Court for the “Idol School” CP Kim Tae Eun and the planning and production team leader “Kim.” Kim Tae Eun was sentenced to one year in prison, while the planning and production team leader “Kim” was sentenced a fine of 10 million won (approximately $8,965) for abetting the crime.
Mnet launched “Idol School” in July 2017 to debut a girl group through an “expert education” concept, with 41 trainees entering the “school” and receiving instruction in various fields for 11 weeks. A total of nine members would be selected to debut in a new girl group, which eventually became fromis_9.
In September 2019, the show came under suspicion for manipulation of viewers’ votes. In July 2020, CP Kim Tae Eun and the planning and production team leader “Kim” were charged with obstruction of business and fraud.
At the hearing on June 10, the court specifically mentioned the situation with contestant Lee Hae In. Lee Hae In was ranked first in viewer votes, but CP Kim Tae Eun wanted to eliminate her as she didn’t fit the group’s image. The CP asked the planning and production team leader “Kim” if it would be fine to eliminate her. “Kim” agreed, and Lee Hae In was eliminated.
After receiving the sentence, CP Kim Tae Eun was taken under custody at court on June 10.