Have you ever heard of the Sajaegi scandal? Sajaegi was a term for a ‘chart manipulation’ trick between K-Pop idols and the agencies in South Korea. Moreover, sajaegi was done by certain entertainment agencies which also bought copies of their own artists albums to get higher rankings or to improve the chance to be a winner in a music programs.
Some K-Pop idols have been accused for the sajaegi scandal, such as LABOUM, TEEN TOP, SISTAR, BTS, and many more! There’s also an insider who once revealed the sajaegi scandal among K-Pop entertainment industry. The insider revealed that if certain idols get to the top 10, they would receive at least a hundred million Won a month. With sajaegi, they could rent 5 PC rooms in the countryside, and also give them around 20 ID, then work through the morning. The insider heard that it could make certain idols could go up in the music charts.
One of the K-Pop idols, Block B’s Park Kyung, used to accuse some of other idols of doing sajaegi to gain popularity. Through his official Twitter account, Park Kyung wrote, “I want to do sajaegi like Vibe, like Song Ha-ye, like Lim Jae-hyun, like Jeon Sang-keun, like Jang Deok-cheol, and like Hwang In-wook,” but then the tweet was deleted.
KQ Entertainment, which also Block B’s agency, released an apology statement because of Park Kyung’s tweet. They also said that Park Kyung’s statement was due to the rumors that have been spread in the music industry without checking the facts first. The case has gone into legal action, and KQ Entertainment is still defending their artists even though they said that they would follow all of the process.
Due to the Park Kyung’s controversial tweet, there have been some parties who were supporting him by streaming his single Inferiority Complex, which was released in 2016, and they successfully made the single rank higher on the Bugs, Melon, and Genie charts, as well as others.
Meanwhile, although the sajaegi scandal has been going on for a long time, it became bigger since 2017. Music critic Kim Jak-ga talked about the scandal. She said that even though there’s no evidence about sajaegi, it has become an open secret in the music industry. There are a lot of artists who were offered to do sajaegi, but the process and the transaction was hidden.
Illegal Gambling Scandal
Next, there’s the illegal gambling scandal in K-Pop entertainment industry! Some K-Pop entertainment agencies were involved with the illegal gambling scandal, one of them was YG Entertainment. Seoul police officers investigated Yang Hyun-suk, the ex-CEO of YG Entertainment at that time. He was accused of illegal gambling involving illicit cash exchange with ex-BIG BANG’s Seungri, as well.
It was also reported that Yang Hyun-suk was allegedly involved with illegal gambling in Macau and Las Vegas since the early 2000s. Since the sexual harrasment and drug scandal in Burning Sun, it also lead them toward illegal gambling, as well. Both Seungri and Yang Hyun-suk were investigated by the local police, and the police have been trying to gather evidence about how Yang Hyun-suk was amassing the gambling money.
Since gambling is illegal in South Korea, Yang Hyun-suk and Seungri were involved through the gambling in Macau and Las Vegas. They reportedly spent around US $826.000 and US $1.65 million on gambling, respectively.
Sex Tape and Attack Assault on K-Pop Idol Controversy
There’s also sex tape and attack on K-Pop idol scandal, as well! Some idols were reportedly involved in the case, one of them was Jung Joon-young. He was accused of sexual assault after releasing a sex video with a woman, without her permission. He made a number of sex tapes, collecting footage of women’s body parts and sharing it through a chatroom with a bunch of other men.
Meanwhile, the female K-Pop idol Goo Ha-ra experienced such a sexual assault and threat from her boyfriend in 2018 before she died. Her boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, tried to destroy her committing a brutal attack in Goo Ha-ra’s home. He also threatened that he would release a sex tape during their time to public, so it would hurt Goo Ha-ra’s career.
Choi Jong-bum assaulted Goo Ha-ra while he was drunk. The police found the wounds on Goo Ha-ra. Fortunately, it the abuse stopped because Choi Jong-bum went to jail for one year and six months, and was suspended for three years as well.
Agencies Unfair Treatment Controversy
Last, but not least, there’s the controversy over unfair treatment from the agencies toward their artists! There’s a lot of management agencies in K-Pop entertainment industry, some of them are known as the biggest agencies so far, and others are ordinary agencies. However, the agencies are supposed to take care of their artists, but in some cases, they have been reported to treat their artists very unfairly.
One of the unfair treatment controversies came from SM Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment agencies in South Korea. Even though SM Entertainment is really huge and famous, they also have a ‘dark side’ in their contracts with certain artists. The unfair treatment involved girl-group S.E.S, boy-group Shinwa, and the boy-group H.O.T, all of which were raised under SM Entertainment.
S.E.S was prohibited from doing individual promotion because the agency considered it unprofitable, which ultimately caused the members to disperse. Meanwhile, there’s also unfair treatment between the different members of H.O.T, since there was one member who had a more profitable contract the others, causing some of the members to leave. With Shinwa, SM Entertainment continued the contracts with all the members except Dong Wan, and causing him to leave, too.
The other artists in SM Entertainment, such as Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, and f(x) also revealed that some of them experienced such a bad contract with their agency. We could see that ex-Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung revealed that she was removed from the group because she launched her own business at that time.
The Korea Fair Trade Commision (KFTC) did an investigation of SM Entertainment, and once asked them to delete certain points in their contracts, such as the point about unliterally cancelling contracts. It was revealed that the agency could cancel a contract with for ambiguous reasons, as well. Eventually, SM Entertainment promised to remove some of the points in the contract due to KFTC’s insistence.
Not only SM Entertainment, but some other agencies in South Korea are known for such unfair treatment toward their artist as. Some of those agencies are TS Entertainment, Polaris Entertainment, MBK Entertainment, and Cube Entertainment. Examples of their unfair treatment were various, ranging from not paying salary to their artists, sexual harrassment by the CEO toward the artists, and many more.
That was all of the information about some of spotlight scandals in the K-Pop entertainment industry! From all of the scandals, we can conclude that being a popular celebrity and joining the K-Pop entertainment industry isn’t easy, since artists have to deal with the consequences if there’s something unpleasant happened through the career. But still, as fans, we also have to keep supporting the industry and let the justice system do its job.
Channel Korea has introduced you the spotlight scandals in the K-Pop entertainment industry. Don’t forget to tell us your thoughts about that by leaving a comment down below!