Agencies end relationships with troubled stars: Entertainment companies are distancing themselves from slew of controversies
On early Tuesday morning, Jung released a statement through Makeus Entertainment - his agency at the time - admitting to the accusations against him, saying he would step away from public life.
“I admit to all my sins,” said Jung. “I took videos of women without their consent, shared [the videos] through chat rooms, and did so without guilt. It was an immoral deed that’s worth all the criticism and the actions were imprudent. I kneel before the women who will have to face the ugly truth as this case comes to light, and also to everyone who is disappointed by [my actions].”
He will be “stepping down from all the [television] programs and canceling all scheduled events.” And although he did not use the word “retire,” he alluded to his retirement from the entertainment industry by saying, “I will not just be taking time off, but letting go of everything I held on to as a celebrity and looking back on all of my illegal and immoral deeds.”
“I will be participating in all of the [police] investigations beginning on the morning of [March] 14 and face punishment for what I did,” he said.
Following his apology, his agency released an official statement saying that they terminated their contract with Jung as of Wednesday. “We heavily feel our responsibility for what happened because of an artist at our company. And we will be doing our part to see that Jung Joon-young sincerely participates in the investigation and trials, as he said in his apology,” the statement read.
A few hours later, YG Entertainment also announced they ended their relationship with Seungri after he stated he would be retiring from the entertainment industry on Tuesday.
“We give our sincere apologies to the fans and everyone else for the series of controversies and rumors, which began with an assault case in the club that Seungri had a stake in,” read a statement from the agency. “After Seungri made his retirement announcement on [March] 12, YG has decided to end our contract with Seungri on his wishes.”
“We admit that we should have taken more care as a management company for our artists. We feel the necessity to change the system within YG [Entertainment], and we promise you that all of our staff members will be doing our best in doing so,” the agency said.
Although Jung only recently signed his contract with Makeus Entertainment in January, YG Entertainment’s contract with Seungri goes back 13 years, to when he made his debut in 2006 as a member of boy band Big Bang. The agency has been criticized over the years for being negligent in managing their stars (Big Bang members G-Dragon and T.O.P have both been caught smoking marijuana) and the Seungri case increased calls for change.
Meanwhile, celebrities who have been rumored to have been a part of the now-infamous KakaoTalk chat rooms with Seungri and Jung are coming forward to deny their involvement, with some even warning that they will take legal action against people who spread false rumors about them. In early reports, it was revealed that other celebrities were also present in the KakaoTalk chat rooms when Seungri solicited sexual services for his foreign investors and Jung shared his illegal videos.
On Tuesday evening, FNC Entertainment announced that its singers - Lee Jong-hyun from boy band CNBlue and Choi Jong-hoon from FT Island - had only been acquainted with the two controversial stars, but that they had nothing to do with the ongoing cases.
“They kept in touch with [Seungri and Jung], but they were in no way related to the cases,” said the agency.
“Choi Jong-hoon went in for questioning as a witness when the police requested his cooperation, but not as a suspect. The police tentatively concluded that his connection to the stars was irrelevant to sex solicitation and other cases. Additionally, while Lee Jong-hyun had been in touch with Jung Joon-young for a long time, [his relationship with the singer] is not related to the current case.”
Rapper Zico, who joked on television in 2016 that Jung’s phone was “golden,” uploaded an Instagram post on Wednesday. The caption read: “The telephone incident I mentioned on the program has nothing to do with this case. All I saw on that phone was a list of [Jung’s] phone numbers, and it’s been a while since he and I contacted each other. I will be taking legal action against [anyone who posts] false and malicious comments.”
YouTuber Josh Carrott, known best for his channel “Korean Englishman” also explained that although he had been friends with Jung, he had nothing to do with the ongoing case. Lee Hong-gi, another member of FT Island, had casually mentioned on Tuesday that he wasn’t the anonymous Lee in the chat room during a live streaming session with rapper DinDin.
A more firm stance came from the agencies of female stars who were rumored to have been recorded by Jung in the course of his illegal actions. While some of the stars who have been mentioned in the circulating rumors denied any relation to the singer, three of the country’s biggest entertainment companies warned that they will be taking strong legal action against people spreading lies. SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment said on Tuesday that they will report anyone caught posting or spreading malicious contents to the police, and YG Entertainment followed on Wednesday with the same statement.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]