The Seoul District Court sentenced Ahn Joon-young PD to 2 years in prison and Kim Yong-bum CP to 1 year and 8 months in prison, while each was given a fine of 37 million KRW for the manipulation of the voting of Mnet's 'Produce' survival show series on the 18th of November.
Mnet broadcasting station brought official apologies to those who suffered from the vote-rigging. Yet names of the contestants in whose favour decisions were made were not disclosed due to the damage it could cause them and their agencies. Mnet has given assurances that the trainees that were chosen were not aware of the vote manipulation. They also added that they are already in the process of compensating the victimized trainees and fixing the problem.
Alongside the fines for the responsibility of the controversy PD's, the Korea Communications Standards Commission imposed fines on all seasons of the ‘Produce’ series that were manipulated - “Produce 101,” “Produce 101 Season 2,” “Produce 48,” and “Produce X 101.”
The scandal in the K-pop industry involving vote manipulation during competition shows at Mnet started in 2019. This station broadcasted and produced survival shows, where trainees contested to be in the lineup of a K-pop band, and the final decision was based on the votes of the audience. These series brought to the public popular K-pop groups such as Wanna One, IZ*ONE, and X1.
After the broadcasting of the Produce X101, viewers and supporters noticed that there had been manipulation of the text votes after they compared the announced vote totals of the winning members. They filed a lawsuit against Mnet and the producers of the Produce 101 series, and as a result, Ahn Joon-young and Kim Yong-bum were arrested. The whole scandal affected the career of the X1 boy group, as it was disbanded, and the IZ*ONE girl band is still suffering from public opinion as they continue promotions despite the controversy. They will take part as performing artists at the annual '2020 MAMA' and have a comeback scheduled on the 7th of December.
This situation made K-pop fans furious all over the world, as they supported all the trainees and the made-up bands and felt sorry for those who were eliminated and unable to debut.
Seoul Court reveals Produce 101 trainees kicked out by Ahn Joon Young vote rigging— mes #TeamPinky (@OH_mes2) November 18, 2020
Season 1 - Kim Suhyun, Seo Hyelin
Season 2 - Seong Hyunwoo, Kang Dongho
PD 48 - Han Chowon, Lee Kaeun
PD X 101 - Timothée Anzardi, Kim Kookheon, Lee Jinwoo, Koo Jungmo, Lee Jinhyuk, Keum Donghyun pic.twitter.com/NdMGObWQHz
"in IZ*ONE's Case we will have to watch with Our eyes to see how much Mnet keeps its promise to take responsibility for the end."— Izone is my universe 🌌 (@IZONEPERMANENT1) November 19, 2020
Victims need compensation and healing. Wounded IZ*ONE also needs healing. The healing is written from cheering and encouragement. pic.twitter.com/jiJKiWJcRX