2019 K-pop Full of Manipulation
2019 K-pop Full of Manipulation
  • reporter Park Jee-won
  • 승인 2020.01.05 18:11
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▲Cast members of Produce 101 season 2 / Mnet official website
▲Cast members of Produce 101 season 2 / Mnet official website


A series of K-pop audition show "Produce" by Mnet cable TV has been found to have been rigged in rankings across all seasons, sparking controversy.
The "Produce" Series is a series of survival audition shows to make new K-pop group, that have aired on a yearly basis since 2016. The show put forward the phrase "Vote Your Boy/Girl!" The idea is to create a global idol group through a vote by viewers. In spite of the problems including malicious editing, the talent show was the biggest buzz. It was the only idol audition program that made it out to season 4 due to its popularity.
The vote-rigging allegations came to light after the latest season’s final episode aired in July. Some fans had raised the allegations, referring to numerical patterns in the final vote count, noting that the top 20 contestants had vote numbers that were multiples of a specific number. The Produce X fact-finding committee was launched and they introduced themselves as "who had reasonable doubts about the outcome of the vote after the last live stage conducted an in-depth analysis of the data around various communities and were established to find out the truth in detail." in an interview with BBC Korea. The committee claimed the incident was "a media tyranny monopolizing cultural power," saying that the transparency and credibility of the votes are paramount. 
On Dec. 20, a lawyer for two producers of the show admitted most of their charges involving vote-rigging. Ahn Joon-young, a director of the "Produce" series, and the program's chief producer, Kim Yong-beom, were detained early last month after they were accused of having tampered with mobile text message-based voting results of the high-profile show in favor of certain contenders. Ahn is also suspected for sex-for-favor suspicion procured by entertainment agencies since last year. According to the prosecution's indictment, Ahn changed the ranking of the two trainees in the first ranking announcement ceremony in the first season. In the second season, Ahn changed trainees’ ranking at the first ranking announcement ceremony and the final ranking announcement ceremony that determines group members. In the third season and latest, the method became bolder, Ahn decided 20 trainees who advance to the final ranking announcement ceremony by manipulating paid text votes.
There are four groups that have made their debut so far through the "Produce" series, one for each season: I.O.I, WANNA ONE, IZ*ONE, and X1. Among them, IZ*ONE and X1 remain active and are suspending their activities indefinitely. "We will announce the compensation plan and future plans for IZ*ONE and X1 as soon as possible," Mnet said.
The controversy over "music hoarding," which had been dormant for some time amid the situation, has resurfaced. Park Kyung, a member of the K-pop group Block B, posted on SNS a message saying, "I want to do some hoarding like who," citing the real names of certain singers. Some singers revealed that they had been offered a hoard, voicing the need to root out "music hoarding," which has been cited as a chronic malady in the K-pop scene. The singers mentioned by Park Kyung countered with libel charges, claiming that hoarding is actually groundless, but fellow singers who empower Park appeared. On Dec. 4. Jin, a member of BTS, said in BTS’s 2019 MAMA awarding speech, "Why don't you make music in an honest way rather than in a negative way? I hope there will come an era when everyone does good music and listens to good music."  A solo artist Heize also said, "I hope that the rightful music environment will be created the legitimate efforts of all the artists who work hard and prepare will never be wasted in 2020."