Thirty-year-old Jung Joon-young was arrested this week in Seoul for sharing explicit videos of women filmed without their knowledge or consent.
Jung, just one of the many personalities of the popular K-pop phenomenon, admitted to the allegations and apologized for his actions. He had also been dropped by his management company.
“I am truly sorry...I bow my head in apology to the women who were victimized by my actions,” he said in a statement outside of court.
Jung is accused of being a member of an online group that shared such explicit photos and videos. If found guilty, he and other members face fines of up to 30 million won or imprisonment for their crime.
Another accused member of that group, Seungri, said he was quitting entertainment.
“I just cannot bear causing any further damage to people around me, while being hated and criticized by the public and being treated as a nation’s enemy during the investigation,” he said.
News of the cases surely comes as a shock and disappointment to millions of K-pop enthusiasts worldwide, including the Philippines. It’s a billion-dollar industry that capitalizes on the “wholesome” images—cultivated and maintained by handlers—of its stars and the adulation of its fans.
Then again, some people have difficulty distinguishing personas from the actual persons behind them. This failure often results in frustration after the “idols” are revealed to have feet of clay.
It’s a similar theme in the context of Philippine elections. Officials get voted into office on the strength of their popularity or the “package” that they appear to be. Meanwhile, Filipino voters have such low standards that it is enough that their choices are compassionate toward them—without really knowing whether the compassion is genuine or just for show.
In this election season—one of entertainment and blind idolatry—may the people find themselves at least able to tell that the kind of people the candidates are is not necessarily the same as the kind of people they purport to be. Perhaps expecting them to act intelligently based on this awareness, however, may be too much to ask.