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Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Burning Sun’ trends online after docu exposes K-pop’s dark side

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A new BBC documentary titled Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-Pop Chat Groups has brought back anger about the upsetting Burning Sun scandal from 2019 in Korea. It talks about two Korean female journalists who investigated and uncovered corruption and abuse.

The sex scandal centered around the Burning Sun Club, a nightclub in Seoul owned by former K-pop star Seungri. The club became notorious for allegations of sexual assault, prostitution, and the distribution of illegal videos that involved big names in the Korean entertainment industry including Seungri, Jung Joon-young, Choi Jong-hoon, and Yang Hyun Suk.

The BBC documentary highlights the investigative work of Park Hyo-sil and Kang Kyung-yoon, who uncovered secret online chatrooms where K-pop idols and other celebrities allegedly shared explicit content and bragged about illegal activities.

It also sheds light on the bravery of the journalists who faced online harassment and death threats for bringing the story to light. It also exposes the collusion between some celebrities and the police force, who allegedly turned a blind eye to the crimes.

The “Burning Sun” scandal had a devastating impact on the careers of those involved exposing Seungri, along with other celebrities like singer Jung Joon-young, who were sentenced to prison for their roles in the scandal.

The event also sparked a national conversation about gender inequality and the dark side of the K-pop industry, where immense pressure and a culture of wealth and privilege allegedly led some celebrities down a dangerous path.

The documentary also showed the late K-pop idol Goo Hara’s immense role in giving key details in the scandal.

Reporter Kyung-yoon said Hara gave that important missing piece in her report shedding light on the hilarious crimes of the Burning Sun club.

“I still remember her voice clearly when she called me and said, ‘I’m Ha-ra’. She told me that she wanted to help. Koo Ha-ra and Choi Jong-hoon had been close friends since their debuts, and she had some kind of connection to Seungri and Jung Joon-young. She told me that she saw their phones and saw ‘so many strange things’ and that I was right,” explained Kyung-yoon.

However, after sharing these details, Hara took her own life on November 29, at the age of 28. The incident took place within a mere two months following the tragic passing of K-pop artist Choi Jin-ri, also known as Sulli, who was discovered dead in an apparent suicide on October 14.

Sulli was a close friend of Hara, whom the latter described as her little sister. Koo herself was a victim of molka, perpetrated by her ex-boyfriend Choi Jong-bum. He had blackmailed her with a video of their intimate encounter in September 2018, resulting in his sentencing to a year and a half in prison in August 2019. However, the sentence was suspended for three years.

Following the tragic death of Hara, Jung was sentenced in prison for six years while K-pop idol Seungri was given a three-year sentence in August 2021 by a military court.

Recently, Seungri was released from prison last year in February while Jung was set free in March this year.

Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-Pop Chat Groups can be watched on BBC Korea’s Youtube channel.


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