The Produce 101 Vote Manipulation Case Producing Director Ahn Joon Young, Chief Producer Kim Yong Bum were sentenced to a jail term. Seoul district court has sentenced Ahn Joon Young to a two-year jail term and Kim Yong Bum to 20 months in jail. Vote rigging, manipulation of rankings, and bribes have landed them in jail along with five entertainment company representatives. The Seoul Central District Court announced the verdict on Friday, May 29.
The verdict has proved that channels cannot take people for granted, especially while masking them pay for the votes they cast. The case was filed by the audience against Mnet channel who have welcomed the verdict.
Ahn Joon Young has also been slapped with a fine of 36.99 million KRW (approximately $29,093). The court also sentenced assistant PD Lee Mi Kyung to a one-year jail term along with a fine and five representatives from entertainment agencies three of them with surname Kim, along with Lee and Ryu also have been asked to pay fine.
The court asked Lee Mi Kyung to pay 10 million won (approximately $8,081), two representatives with the surname Kim to pay 5 million won (approximately $4,041), and three others to pay 7 million won (approximately $5,657) as fine.
Votes Rigged and Trainees Fooled?
Ahn Joon Young, Kim Young Bum, and five agency representatives have been charged with manipulating rankings of specific trainees during the 'Produce 101' idol survival show. The votes were rigged despite the fact that viewers were charged for voting. Ahn Joon Young is also charged with accepting bribery in various forms from specific entertainment company representatives. The prosecution had presented its closing arguments on May 12. It had sought a three-year jail term for both Ahn Joon Young and Kim Young Bum.
After the verdict was announced, Ahn Joon Young apologized for his misdeeds. "I feel pathetic and resentful. I will live with the fact that my unjust actions were bound to collapse down on me and the consequences in my heart," he said. Kim Young Bum also sought forgiveness from the people and trainees who were wronged by him. All of them said that they will accept their punishments diligently.
What is Vote Manipulation Scandal?
Popularly known as the Mnet vote manipulation case, this is a 2019 entertainment scandal of electoral fraud in reality competition series. These series were produced and telecast in Ment channel. This particular case is regarding the manipulation of votes in its program Produce 101 that was aimed at creating new K-pop groups. The selection of K-pop idols was based on audience votes.
The final episode of the fourth season of Produce 101 series was aired in July 2019. But when results were announced, the audience suspected that there was manipulation. On August 1, 2019, at least 272 voters filed a case against Mnet. They claimed that the channel had manipulated the rankings of trainees despite charging 100 won per vote.