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SBS reporter explains how K-pop sex video scandal started

By Lee Ji-yoon

  • Published : Mar 14, 2019 - 18:23
  • Updated : Mar 14, 2019 - 18:25

On top of the snowballing sex bribery scandal involving K-pop superstar Seungri, a series of fresh allegations are appearing every day based on a set of leaked KakaoTalk chats that include the former Big Bang member and singer Jung Joon-young. They include Jung and his close friends joking about rape and sharing sex videos that were filmed by hidden cameras without consent of the women involved.

Kang Kyung-yoon, the SBS reporter who first raised allegations about the group chat last month, said the victims, mostly women in their early 20s, had no idea of the existence of the videos.

“They (the victims) expressed shock and anger. But at the same time they feared to reveal themselves to take legal actions,” she said in an interview with SBS on Wednesday. “I receive hate emails from some fans who still support their stars. But I hope they understand this is a serious sex crime and there are victims.”

Below is the full transcript of the interview Kang did with other SBS reporters.

Q: How did you start investigating this story?

Kang: I was recently tipped off about Seungri soliciting prostitution through some lavish parties. He started holding extravagant parties around December 2015 right before the establishment of his own company Yuri Holdings in early 2016. It was the time when he gained a nickname “Seungtsby” or “Great Gatsby of Korea” due to his lavish taste and larger-than-life personality.

But they were not just parties for fun. He used them to serve celebrities or foreign investors for his new business. According to some KakaoTalk messages I acquired, he was suspected of providing sex bribery to potential investors.


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Q: And some spy-cam porn videos were being shared in the group chat?

Kang: There were rumors since two years ago that some top male entertainers were sharing spy-cam porn via their group chat. The messages that I gained from my source proved the rumors were true. The victims are college students or rookie entertainers who are in their early 20s. They were invited to the parties and drawn to sexual encounters. They had no idea the videos had been filmed and shared. I myself as a woman was shocked and started digging into the allegations.

Q: You met the victims in person?

Kang: I contacted some of the victims in the videos. They didn’t know about the existence of the videos. They were shocked to find out the spy-cam videos were being shared among people who they had never met before. They expressed anger and fear, asking for help.


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Q: Did some victims want to punish the offenders?

Kang: They feel ashamed and angry. But at the same time they are concerned about wearing a scarlet letter as a sex crime victim. They want the offenders to be punished but they are scared about revealing their identity.

The key issue here is these videos were not filmed inadvertently or with consent of the partners while dating. The women had no idea about the filming and the offenders filmed and shared the videos for fun as if it were a game. In their group chat conversations, the offenders pinpointed specific rookie artists on TV and encouraged each other to invite them to their parties. They considered women just a means for sexual desire.

Q: So you have confirmed these allegations through the group chat?

Kang: Yes right. I receive hate emails from some angry fans of Seungri. I understand their affection for the singer. But this is a serious sex crime. There are victims and their pain will not go away anytime soon. I hope their fans also understand their pain.

Q: What do you plan to do next?

Kang: Some say the sex video scandal is aimed at watering down the ongoing investigation into the Burning Sun club that is snowballing into a large corruption scandal involving drugs, prostitution, tax evasion and the authorities. Separate from the Burning Sun scandal, the sex video scandal itself is a serious social issue that should be reported properly. I’ll continue to investigate it.

Q: The latest scandal comes after years of growth of K-pop.

Kang: Many K-pop stars have earned money and power in recent years as K-pop has become immensely popular around the world. But some of them are using their reputations to abuse women or cause other social problems. We may have become too lenient to their wrongdoings in the name of Korean Wave.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)