A lot has happened in 2018, while it doesn’t compare to how devastating 2017 and 2014 were, it was still a very challenging year for Kpop.
There were many milestones broken by 3rd generation Kpop groups, they achieved so much in 2018 and helped get more people into the hallyu wave.
On the other hand, there has been a series of events that shook the community and left some speechless, so today, I will be taking a look at some of the most shocking news I had to cover about Kpop in 2018.
The East Light Members Situation
The story broke out back in late October of this year, on October 18 specifically, news outlet Xportsnews reported that the members of The East Light have been verbally abused by Media Line Entertainment CEO Kim Chang Hwan and physically abused by producer “A” since 2015 until now.
Mind you the group has minor members. The East Light members are all young; the youngest is born in 2003 making him a minor, the oldest member is born in 2000.
The report goes on to explain that the members were slapped on their faces and the producer ‘A’ even allegedly used a baseball bat. It was so bad that the members had bruises on their buttocks and suffered bleeding, since then various Korean news outlets shared photos of the boys’ injuries.
It was even reported that CEO Kim Chang Hwan reportedly allowed these actions knowing what was going on. One member (Lee Seung Hyun) had to receive treatment because of physical and psychological pain. (Read the full initial report here)
Later it was announced that the former leader and member Lee Seok Cheol (older brother of Lee Seung Hyun) will attend a press conference to tell his and his brother side of the story. He broke down in tears and talked in horrific details about what had happened.
Here is the link to the full video with English translation for you to see.
In response to that press conference, the CEO released another statement in which he apologized again but said that he did discipline them but never committed verbal abuse or assault.
In response to that statement, JTBC news revealed a voice recording of him speaking about the subject in a phone conversation with Lee Seok Cheol. He told him that going public with the news will only hurt him and his brother who has suffered physical and mental damage due to the alleged abuse.
Later, a petition was created to help bring justice to the members of the band, the entire Kpop community of national and international fans joined hands to bring the issue to light.
On October 22, it was announced that their contracts were terminated by their agency. You can read the full statement here.
On October 26, the brothers visited Bangbae Police Station with their father (their legal representative) and their lawyer Jung Ji Suk to provide statements to the police as an investigation was started to dig up on the matter. The brothers are now in a lawsuit with the accused parties. (Read what they said here)
On December 20, it was revealed that the producer Moon Young Il who was accused of abusing the former members was jailed ahead of his trial.
However, things took a dramatic turn when on December 26 at 2 p.m. KST, Media Line Entertainment held a press conference to speak out against the reports made by the brothers.
The press conference was attended by CEO Kim Chang Hwan, President Lee Jung Hyun and former members Jung Sa Gang and Lee Eun Sung.
The press conference was met with mixed responses by netizens as it contradicts/downplays a lot of statements the brothers have made which were backed by photos, videos and even a voice recording of a conversation.
I’d recommend you read the Soompi.com translated press conference speeches to understand how they refuted the brothers’ claims.
The case is still developing and its not over yet!
Go Hara story with her ex-boyfriend
This is also a very complicated ongoing matter that got a lot of buzz in 2018.
Initially, it started out in mid-September when it was reported that Go Hara was being investigated by police for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.
The report claimed he tried to break up with her and she responded violently, photos of the ex-boyfriend bruises spread online as a result.
Following that chilling details of what was really going on really shifted perspective. A report by dispatch released on September 14 revealed some serious details about why the assault has happened. (Read the full report here)
According to Dispatch, the hairdresser (the ex-boyfriend) entered her home without her permission in a drunken state and caused a disturbance. They then got into an argument where things got heated and it got physical.
Police revealed they were unable to contact her boyfriend or her following the brawl and it was then revealed that she was hospitalized because of the matter.
The subject became more than just violence when Dispatch released a second exclusive report in which they revealed her ex-boyfriend actually tried to threaten to end her career with their sex tape.
The ex-boyfriend claims she knew of these tapes and even suggested they film them while she continues to deny she did.
In their exclusive report, footage of her kneeling and begging him not to release the tape were revealed. The ex-boyfriend had contacted Dispatch promising them a very lucrative scandal about Goo Hara if they responded. You can read the full exclusive report here.
Subsequently, the ex-boyfriend was fired from his saloon and an arrest warrant for him, however, it was rejected. Goo Hara sued him for a multitude of charges after the news of the sex tape broke out.
A petition that garnered more than 270,000 signatures went viral in support of properly punishing people like Goo Hara’s ex-boyfriend.
The ex-boyfriend ended up going public with his identity revealing his face; he is called Choi Jung Bum. He was investigated thoroughly by the police for the sex tape and the alleged assault while Goo Hara was also investigated.
He continues to claim through his lawyer that he didn’t mean to threaten her with the sex tape and continues to claim he’s the victim.
On November 9, it was revealed that their case was forwarded to prosecution with the recommendation of indictment. For Goo Hara’s case the prosecution recommended indictment for bodily harm while requesting indictment for Choi Jong Bum for bodily harm, blackmail, and sexual violence.
The case is still ongoing and there haven’t been any new developments yet!
The #DebtToo movement
A very strange movement started in South Korea that affected many idols, it had to do with famous Korean celebrities and their parents alleged fraud cases against other people.
It was made big with Rapper Microdot, whose parents were accused of fraud. Initially, he responded to the fraud reports firmly and through his agency promised to take strict legal action towards those who spread rumors about his parents’ alleged fraud at the time.
Turns out the online post that was made by a netizen accusing his parents of fraud had truth to it. An investigation was then re-started and subsequently the rapper had to issue an apology and step down from many variety show appearances.
On November 29, the Cheongju District Prosecutors’ Office announced they were considering taking legal procedure to extradite the parents who were being suspected for hiding and running off overseas after borrowing a large sum of money from acquaintances.
Microdot was not the only one affected by this; so many other stories began spreading online of other Kpop idols parents who allegedly took money from people.
Rain, MAMAMOO’s Wheein, rapper Dok2, Girls Generation Tiffany and actor Ma Dong Seok were some of the biggest names to be affected by this. Each idol/actor released a statement explaining their side of the story.
Many celebrities affected by the #DebtToo movement had revealed they were either done paying or still paying off for what their parents’ did. You can read more about it here.
The shocking truth behind one idol from a rising Kpop group took fans by storm!
A report came out citing that TST’s Kyeongha was charged with violating the Act of Juvenile Sex Protection on May 31.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 3 years’ probation, and 40 hours of sexual abuse classes on May 31st. (Read the full story about it here)
He is currently 21 years old but the incident happened back in 2014, he had forced himself on a female “A” and sexually assaulted her.
How did it all start?
These reports started back in April 2017 when a woman accused him of that on a Facebook post. His agency continued to deny those claims and submitted for appeals to the sentencing he received.
Eventually, back on June 11, his agency revealed he would be leaving the group in order not to harm the rest of the members. The agency shared plans to continue appealing until the end. They also apologized to fans who were hurt by the matter.
Kyeongha debuted with TST in January 2017; he was born back in 1998. You can read the exact official statement released by his agency announcing his departure from the group here.
The death of 20 year old idol Kim Dong Yoon
Kim Dong Yoon, who was known for his appearance on the YG Entertainment’s competition show MIXNINE, suddenly passed away on July 27.
He was a part of the group Spectrum. His agency released an official statement that reads,
“The bereaved family, Spectrum members, and WYNN Entertainment family are struck by the sudden news and are grieving for the deceased who suddenly passed away. The funeral will be held quietly in according to the wishes of the idol’s family.”
Fans were struck by the sudden news. The agency didn’t clarify what happened or why the idol suddenly passed away and the exact cause of his death has not been revealed by the family members either.
SPECTRUM debuted on May 10, 2018, under WYNN Entertainment with 6 members.
He was the rapper of the group; he was born on June 3, 1998. He was the only member of his group to pass the auditions of MIXNINE and got pretty popular but was eliminated.
HyunA and Hyojong situation
Although not as severe as the rest of the topics I talked about above, the situation surrounding the couple HyunA and Hyojong (E’Dawn) made headlines throughout the second half of 2018 angering fans in the process because of how simple dating revelation could seriously affect two idols well-being.
The entire ordeal highlighted a serious issue within the Kpop industry and community that doesn’t always welcome dating news with arms wide open.
It all stared back in August, 2018 when their former agency Cube Entertainment denied they were dating after reports came out saying so. The couple then went on to (personally) reveal they were dating to news outlets.
The first shock became that they had been dating for two years. Fans of Pentagon (Hyojong’s former group) and HyunA suspected something was going on between them but didn’t know they had been dating for so long.
The issue started to unfold when some Pentagon’s fans didn’t react nicely to the news. Some even demanded he be kicked out and others shared they had felt betrayed by him. (Read the full story about that here)
Subsequently, Triple H (a sub-unit they had been promoting in with Pentagon’s Hui) had to end promotions. HyunA and Hyojong promotions were also cancelled by their former agency Cube Entertainment.
After more than a month of speculations, on September 13, Cube Entertainment confirmed they would be terminating their contracts with both idols through official statement citing “broken trust.”
However, in the same day they retracted their original statement and provided a new one that reads,
“We are simply negotiating with HyunA and E’Dawn leaving the label, but it’s not been confirmed yet. It’s a matter that should be discussed carefully with the artists opinions in mind as its also important. The withdrawal has not been decided yet.”
What made fans furious was that some news outlets claimed that HyunA and Hyojong found out they were being kicked out by the label through the news before the agency retracted their statement.
Fast forward to October 15, Cube Entertainment confirmed HyunA’s departure from the agency. In a personal letter revealed by news outlet ‘Hyundae News’ she talked about her side of the story and how much she was hurt in the process.
In her letter she wrote,
“As you know, my only sin was working my body to the bone for Cube entertainment until now.”
You can read the full letter here!
On November 14, Cube Entertainment confirmed Hyojong’s departure from the group and the agency in an official statement to the press.
Netizens and fans reacted negatively to the way the idols were treated after they revealed they were dating. This entire simple dating-news revelation ended up blowing up in their faces in the worst way possible.
Hyojong and HyunA haven’t signed with a new label yet, they remain free-agent. Although they confirmed to their fans through instagram they would be meeting them next year through various projects, they’re still have not signed with a management agency.
They have been regularly (almost on daily basis) uploading dance covers, photos of their dates, sweet kisses and much more to their instagram. The general public share sentiment towards them and hope the best for them!
So, how do you feel about these shocking stories of 2018? Which one shocked you the most?