What is the Burning Sun Scandal? BBC Documentary Revives Controversy in K-Pop and Korean Entertainment Industry

Lee Cheol-woo, currently starring in the K-Drama 'Lovely Runner,' has denied any involvement in the Burning Sun scandal

A recent BBC documentary has reignited public interest in the infamous Burning Sun scandal, unveiling shocking messages from a chatroom where participants discussed their criminal activities. The documentary reveals the identities of key figures such as Seungri, Jung Joon Young, Lee Cheol-woo, and Choi Jong Hoon, leaving many netizens stunned. Lee Cheol-woo, currently starring in the K-Drama 'Lovely Runner,' has denied any involvement in the Burning Sun scandal following renewed accusations highlighted by a recent BBC documentary released on Sunday. In a statement on May 20, the actor firmly rejected all allegations connecting him to the scandal, asserting his innocence amid growing backlashes.


What is the Burning Sun Scandal?

The Burning Sun scandal, also known as Burning Sun Gate, was a major 2019 entertainment and sex scandal in Seoul, South Korea. It involved numerous celebrities, including prominent K-pop idols, as well as police officials. The scandal sent shockwaves through the K-pop industry, implicating multiple idols such as Seungri (BIGBANG), Jung Joon Young, Jonghyun (CNBLUE), Junhyung (Highlight), and Jonghun (F.T. Island). These individuals were found to be involved in a covert sex chatroom. Here's a look at the controversy and its unfolding events.

Jung Joon Young's Involvement in Sexual Offenses

The Burning Sun nightclub case is the primary incident connected to the chatroom scandal. The incident started on January 28, 2019, when MBC Newsdesk revealed that in November 2018, a staff member at Burning Sun, a well-known nightclub in Gangnam, was accused of assaulting a male patron. Prostitution, drug trafficking, and police corruption related to the club were quickly added to the scope of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's investigation. Following accusations of sexual bribery, BIGBANG's Seungri, one of the club's directors, announced his resignation from the entertainment sector on March 11, 2019.

After musician and performer Jung Joon Young admitted to surreptitiously filming himself having intercourse with women and spreading the tapes without their knowledge or agreement, the story swiftly grew to include claims of rape and spy cams. The previously mentioned Jung Joon Young KakaoTalk chatrooms were linked to this disclosure.

How Chatrooms Escalated The Burning Sun Scandal

The Jung Joon Young KakaoTalk chatrooms played a pivotal role in the Burning Sun scandal. Leaked messages exposed criminal activities at the nightclub. The messages, spanning from 2015 to 2016, revealed heinous acts, including gang rape and illegal filming, involving Jung Joon Young and his acquaintances. Key figures implicated included Choi Jong Hoon of F.T. Island, a former Burning Sun employee named Kim, businessman Kwon, and a former YG Entertainment employee named Heo. The scandal deepened as more celebrities were linked.

On March 14, 2019, Yong Jun Hyung of HIGHLIGHT and Choi Jong Hoon retired from their music groups after admitting their involvement. Yong Jun Hyung confessed to watching an unauthorized sex tape and participating in inappropriate conversations, while Choi Jong Hoon disclosed a covered-up drunk driving incident aided by a police official. Lee Jonghyun of CNBLUE also admitted to viewing the videos and making derogatory remarks about women, leading to his departure from the band.

Other entertainers, including Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Jun Ho, were implicated in alleged overseas gambling. Jung Joon Young was arrested on March 21, 2019, facing charges related to crimes against at least ten victims. Subsequently, Roy Kim and Kangin of Super Junior were investigated for their involvement in the chatrooms, though Kangin's agency denied any illegal activities. On May 12, 2020, appellate courts reduced the sentences for Jung, Choi, and Kim, highlighting the ongoing repercussions of the scandal.

Related topics : K-pop