Ailee’s Pre-debut Scandal
By now, every fan of K-Pop must be familiar with the name Ailee. Since starting her career back in 2011, she has made a name for herself in the K-Pop music industry. Her golden voice produced many Korean hit songs such as “U&I,” “Singing Got Better,” “Mind Your Own Business,” and “If You.” Born with the name Amy Lee on May 30th, 1989, Ailee had been managed by an American label called Muzo Entertainment before moving to South Korea in 2010 where she passed an audition and eventually signed a contract with YMC Entertainment and began her Korean career.
For some new fans who just got in, you probably didn’t know that just shortly after Ailee debuted, she got into a big scandal where her controversial pre-debut photos got leaked into the media. So, what exactly happened? Find out the details of this case by scrolling down the article below!
The Rundown of Ailee’s Past Leaked Photos Circulating Online
On November 10th, 2013, media outlet Allkpop was the first that revealed Ailee’s breaking scandal which involved her pre-debut leaked photos. Allkpop claimed that an anonymous website and forums have uploaded several photos of suspected young Ailee in a revealing form. The current article has been blurred and edited but when the article was first released, it also revealed Ailee’s scandalous photo in which everything but her face was blurred. The original article stole widespread attention from netizens around the world due to the blurry ethics of this news.
After the widespread responses, the photos were successfully traced back to an AnonIB forum thread where an anonymous user had posted them in June 2013. They also revealed that not long after that, another Korean media outlet Dispatch also released a transcription which assumed to be Ailee’s alleged ex-boyfriend whom she was dating back in July 2013. Ailee’s then ex-boyfriend contacted Dispatch with the intention to sell nude photos of Ailee which he claimed to possess.
The transcription stated as follows:
Ex-Boyfriend: I have several photos of Ailee. I was wondering if you were interested in them.
Dispatch: What kind of photos are they?
Ex: She’s completely naked in them. She’s not wearing anything; front, back, nothing…
Dispatch: How did you get them?
Ex: I got them from Ailee herself.
Dispatch: Ailee gave them to you directly? Why?
Ex: I was her ex-boyfriend.
Dispatch: Did you receive the nude photos via [mobile] messenger?
Dispatch: And now you want to go public with them?
Ex: That’s the plan.
Dispatch: Selling pictures you personally received could get you into trouble. You shouldn’t offer them to the media.
Ex: I see. You’re different from other media outlets. I’ll contact elsewhere.
Dispatch. The point is that what you’re doing is dangerous.
Ex: It’s not illegal.
Dispatch: It is illegal. This is her personal life so you could be sued. And any media outlet that does buy those photos from you is wrong. It’s best if you don’t do it.
Ex: Yes, I understand.
Responding to the scandal, YMC Entertainment as Ailee’s management agency at that time quickly released a statement explaining that the nude photos were camera test shots that were taken while Ailee was offered to be a lingerie model in the United States. Those offers would later be discovered to be a fraud. Despite the acknowledgment of this, the police couldn’t make an arrest and catch the suspect instantly. This was because of the operation of the internet-based activity was very complex and sometimes even untraceable.
Shortly after these reports, Ailee went to see her then-boyfriend (who YMC Entertainment identifies as having worked for Allkpop at the time) to confront and discuss the case. It turned out that Ailee was fooled to send her nude photos from the shoot to her boyfriend. YMC Entertainment then defended their artist and saying that they would continue by finding the person who circulated the photos online and then taking this matter to the legal constitution.
After getting accused and got dragged into the case, the Allkpop‘s parent company, 6Theory Media, clarified by posting a response letter of their own. The company thoroughly shared the details of the events regarding their acquirement of Ailee’s photos as well as clearing up the misunderstanding regarding 6Theory’s vice president Daniel Lee’s involvement in this matter.
The details of this account describe a Canadian tipster offered to sell nude photos of Ailee through an email to 6Theory Media in June 2013.
Over a phone conversation, the Canadian tipster claimed as a middleman for the original owner of the photos and asked $3500 USD if the company wanted to acquire the full set of photos. The tipster also revealed that he/she has no access to Sports Seoul or Dispatch but would be willing to contact them or other media if Allkpop decided not to acquire the photos.
At first, Allkpop replied that they were not interested, and they even claim to have contacted YMC Entertainment informing of the information they had received from the tipster. They told YMC that if YMC wanted to take this matter to the law, they would be willing to reveal his/her contact information. But after receiving this information, Allkpop reported that YMC’s didn’t get back at them as a sign of YMC’s unresponsiveness to the whole matter.
On November 10th, 2013, Allkpop then received another email containing a link to the AnonIB forum post containing the nude photos of Ailee. It has been suspected that the email came from the same Canadian tipster who had contacted them in June 2013, as the IP addresses of both emails traced back to the same ISP in Toronto, Canada. Based on the link, Allkpop decided to post the story.
Regarding this matter, Allkpop then insisting on clearing up their name, stating that they would not post anything with regard to the photos unless the photos themselves were posted on the internet by a third party online. The brought up their “jobs and duty as a news site to write and report the story” and claimed that they just doing their job. In the response letter, Allkpop also cleared the name of 6Theory VP Daniel Lee by stating that it was not him who post the photos, even though he and Ailee did indeed date in the past.
After this scandal, Allkpop developed ill reputations amongst K-Pop idols whom they previously have great connection with, such as G.NA, Jay Park, f(x)‘s Amber, miss A‘s Min, U-Kiss‘ Kevin, and Super Junior‘s Siwon. They even unfollowed Allkpop’s Twitter account.
Not just the K-pop idols, a few artists under Muzo Entertainment (Ailee’s former agency whose mostly composed of Korean-Americans musician) also call out Allkpop publicly on their ethics and scandal:
— johnnyphlo | 쟈니플로 (@Johnnyphlo) November 11, 2013
— Goni Kim (@gondrenamul) November 11, 2013
— Andy Yoo (@andyyoo87) November 11, 2013
Korean netizens, as well as other media outlets, have also following this news and publicly calling out and putting the blame on Ailee’s ex-boyfriend, taking Ailee’s side as victim. Here are a few of the comments as quoted from Netizenbuzz:
[+6,911, -349] If this is true, it’s Ailee who’s the victim here… and her ex who’s the criminal.
[+642, -37] I heard her ex-boyfriend released them. What an utter ba$tard!
[+618, -12] Is he crazy? How could he think of making money off of the nudes of his ex-girlfriend? I highly doubt he’s a normal human being.
[+135, -10] Ailee did nothing good herself but that ex is the one with the problem for using his ex-girlfriend’s pictures for money. Ailee’s a talented artist so I’m upset she’s involved in something like this. Find strength.
[+96, -19] The problem in this entire scandal is her ex-boyfriend. No need to direct the hate to Ailee… she’s a talented artist as well.
[+87, -13] I can’t believe her ex-boyfriend used her to make a quick buck.
[+43, -2] She’s not sane to send her boyfriend nudes but if anyone’s in the wrong, it’s the ex… This is a crime through and through.
[+42, -6] Such trash… The person deserving of hate is not Ailee but him.
[+38, -4] I hope Ailee comes out confident… and I hope that people will stop caring about things like this so other trashy men like him in the future have no market for it.
[+28, -7] He obviously tried to make some cash by soliciting Korean media outlets but it was an international site that ended up buying it. Ailee is the victim. Let’s make that clear here.