A wave of sexual assault cases has swept South Korea but the lucrative K-pop industry remained relatively untouched. Two cases this month, though, have begun a reckoning
For many South Koreans, the admission by a young man that he secretly filmed himself having sex with women and shared the footage with other men was yet more evidence of a culture of misogyny and sexual abuse that has put the country at the epicentre of Asias #MeToo movement.
The sordid details of the mans alleged misconduct sounded familiar in a society struggling to cope with a voyeurism epidemic especially in a week when two men were arrested for allegedly filming 1,600 guests across 30 South Korean hotels with spycams but with one crucial difference. The latest allegations of sexual misconduct involve some of the best-known figures in K-pop, South Koreas most successful cultural export.
In the space of a week, allegations surrounding the singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young and Seungri, a member of the internationally popular boyband Big Bang, have snowballed into overlapping sex and corruption scandals that have exposed K-pops dark underbelly and prompted a backlash among all but the most obsessive fans.
Jung said he would retire from showbusiness and admitted that he had shared with members of a chatroom footage of him having sex with several women without their knowledge. Members of the chatroom allegedly included Seungri, who is alleged to have run an illegal prostitution ring out of nightclubs in Seouls trendy Gangnam district. The 29-year-old singer has denied the allegations.
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