Several high-profile K-Pop stars have been named as being members of an online group chat that shared sexually explicit videos of women filmed without their knowledge or consent, South Korean police confirmed.
Police said Thursday that about 10 people were members of the chat group, including K-Pop idol and Big Bang star Seungri, singer-songwriter and TV personality Jung Joon-young, and rock band F.T. Island member Choi Jong-hoon.
The explosive allegations are the latest in a growing sex scandal that threatens to destabilize South Korea’s multibillion-dollar entertainment industry.
Seungri, 28 made headlines on Tuesday after it emerged he was being investigated on suspicion of violating the country’s prostitution law.
Outside the police station Thursday, Seungri paused in front of the reporters and said: “I lower my head and offer apology to the people and people nearby who were hurt and suffered … I will fully engage in investigation with truthful answers.”
Neither Seungri or his label, YG Entertainment, responded to CNN’s request for comment. But YG issued a statement in South Korea’s largest newspaper Chosun, saying that they have accepted the singer’s request to terminate his contract with them.
“Seungri is said to be part of various allegations and controversies has appeared repeatedly. We bow deeply to offer our apology for causing disturbance to many people, including our fans,” the statement said.
The singer has not officially commented on the allegations.
The scandal has called the squeaky-clean image required of South Korean entertainers into question.
K-Pop stars are expected to conform to notoriously high standards of conduct, both from their management and fans. Their labels impose restrictions on who and how publicly they can date, what they wear and how they behave in public.
Dropped by their labels
Jung, 30, who starred in the hit Korean TV show “2 Days & 1 Night”, also appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for questioning on Thursday.
He is being investigated on suspicion of illegally filming women while engaging in sexual acts with them and illegally distributing the videos over social media, police said.
In addition, police told CNN that police may have helped to suppress evidence in a 2016 investigation of illegal filming involving Jung.
“Not only the allegation on police collusion, but we will conduct a strong internal investigation, and according to the result, we will take a stern measure regardless of their rank,” South Korea’s National Police Agency Chief Min Gap-ryong, told lawmakers on Thursday.
In light of the allegations, Jung’s management company MakeUS Entertainment has dropped him from their label, saying in a statement that, “Our company had judged that we can no longer continue the contract with Jung Joon-young considering the current situation,” Chosun reported.