Scandalous Idol, JYJ’s Park Yoo-chun
Park Yoo-chun is definitely not a foreign name to Korean entertainment enthusiasts, both in the music and drama sphere. His work speaks for itself and has become somewhat of an icon of his generation, as he used to be part of the legendary idol group DBSK and is currently promoting with 2 other members in JYJ. Not only that, his acting repertoire exceeds his reputation, with works such as Rooftop Prince, Three Days and The Girl Who Sees Smell. Throughout all his activities, he has also gained a massive number of followers who support him in thick and thin.
Thus it came as a huge surprise for most, when news about part of his fandom boycotting his activities, suddenly came out. What is at the root of this problem? Does it have to do with his sexual assault case from 2016? Stay tuned to find out!
Timeline of Allegations
In mid-2016, it was revealed by Dispatch that Park Yoo-chun was involved in a sexual harassment case with six different accusers all coming out with their own stories. The news sent shockwaves across the industry as it involved a lot of accusers, among other cases that started to pop up, regarding different celebrities. The first accuser, Ms. Lee claimed that she was sexually harassed at a restroom situated in the bar establishment where she was working. According to her claims, he touched her down there, through her underwear, without consent. The incident supposedly occurred on the night of June 4th and the dawn of June 5th, as he went to the bar after work to wind down.
Park Yoo-chun’s company first responded that this was a false claim made to blackmail and extort Park Yoo-chun’s earnings, not based on facts and true events. The reports were still mixed with no certain dates or pictures attached to the claim at first, but as the story developed, pictures started surfacing placing him at the bar where everything supposedly went down. The pictures attached also helped in clearing up some misunderstandings regarding the timeline of the events.
It was not long before Dispatch followed up with a more detailed timeline and information regarding the victims, along with clarifications of other reports made by non-credible outlets. This information was sourced from insiders and people currently attached to the case, such as Park Yoo-chun’s management and others. The information gathered really shed light on the circumstances he had landed himself in and led to some more suspicion regarding his innocence.
It was also revealed in further reports that representatives from Park Yoo-chun’s company, C-JeS Entertainment, had been in contact with Ms. Lee long before the case was made public and struck the online sphere. Ms. Lee had contacted C-JeS Entertainment the day after the supposed incident occurred to ask for an apology and compensation for the actions of Park Yoo-chun. Supposedly, the two couldn’t reach a conclusive decision within the set time by the victim, thus C-JeS chose to let the legal team handle the case and tried to keep it all under wraps. Ms. Lee was forced to report the story to a news outlet to push the progress of the negotiations.
Along with these additional details, Dispatch also disputed some reports that were thrown out by other outlets with regards to the case, including alleged pictures of Ms. Lee and pictures of Park Yoo-chun on the night of the incident. Dispatch confirmed that the pictures attached above are false, as the person in the pictures is in fact not Ms. Lee and the establishment Park Yoo-chun visited, that’s visible in the background, is not a bar, rather a room salon or adult entertainment establishment that he frequents. This sent another wave of frenzy among the fans, with allegations of Ms. Lee being an adult entertainer and also his habits of frequenting these kinds of establishments to being with. What came as a surprise, is that after these details surfaced, reports came out that Ms. Lee had in fact, dropped the charges.
The case investigation, as police pushed to solve any remaining loose ends, led to more accusers coming forward with their own stories regarding Park Yoo-chun’s sexual harassment, with stories that continued to shock the public. These cases had similarities in that women were revealing that they had been assaulted in a similar setting, place, and time wise. Not only that, it seemed to have either been a bar or an adult entertainment establishment, further invigorating rumors regarding his habits.
The motives and such are still unclear at this point, although moving forward, the accusers have repeatedly dropped and pressed charges again, showing signs of uncertainty. This caused confusion between the masses as they didn’t know who to trust and believe. The whole thing ended up with an accumulation of six different accusers that relied on each other to back up their own accusations. Not long after, all six allegations were proven false, with trials following as each and everyone was tried for charges pressed by C-JeS Entertainment, such as false accusation and blackmail, and a travel ban placed on the accusers.
The Outcome of the Trials
In late 2016, investigations concluded on the first allegation made by Ms. Lee, that has been proven false and untrue by the police. Ms. Lee, her cousin, and her boyfriend were charged with false claims and blackmail, with sentences ranging from one and half years to two and a half years in jail. By early 2017, he has been cleared of all the charges, including those that followed the first one, yet the stigma still remained and it has been hard for him obtain the popularity and reputation he once had before. All of the investigations cleanly ended in December 2017, with all the charges pressed against the accused and Park Yoo-chun’s name cleared once and for all.
At first, fans doubted the allegations, as they wanted to believe that Park Yoo-chun must have not done it. There is these perfect image people tend to build around their favorite idols, and the same could be said in this situation. Park Yoo-chun had been promoting as a squeaky clean idol for so long that the accusations just seemed ridiculous. The public opinion though is easily swayed from the get-go, most pointing out that it is not surprising that a celebrity could act this way.
After the statements came out from both parties and further information was leaked by Dispatch as a form of clarifications, many fans started to boycott him and his current activities mostly due to the reports of him frequenting an adult entertainment establishment to destress. These kinds of establishments, although common, are still a big taboo within the whole nation, despite many frequenting it on a weekly basis. The establishment itself could also be considered illegal, thus it is understandable that a petition and open-letter regarding the issue was later released by JYJ and Park Yoo-chun’s fans, respectively.
In the end, the conclusion of him pleading not guilty led to fans coming back to the fandom. So what do you think of Park Yoo-chun’s scandal? Comment your thoughts in the section below!