Two more K-Pop stars quit, their agencies said, as a scandal over illicit sex videos and other offences rippled further across South Korea’s music industry.
Yong Jun-hyung, 29, left boy band Highlight — formerly known as Beast — after he admitted watching videos of singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young having sex with women taken without their consent, his agency said.
Hours later, managers for Choi Jong-hoon, 29, a member of boy band FT Island, announced his retirement saying that he would be questioned by police later this week over “suspicions” he was involved in the scandal.
Choi is believed to have been a member of a online chatroom where Jung shared the footage — as is mega K-Pop star Seungri.
Both Seungri and Jung announced their retirements from showbusiness earlier this week.
Jung, 30, was questioned by police on March 14 over the videos, while Seungri — a member of boy band Big Bang with a range of business interests — was also interviewed for allegedly providing prostitutes to his potential investors.
Both men apologised to “all Korean citizens” when they reported to police and promised to co-operate with the inquiries.
Yong received the footage directly from Jung, watched it and had an “inappropriate conversation” with him, his agency Around Us Entertainment said in a statement.
South Korea has been battling a growing epidemic of so-called ‘molka’, or spycam videos — mostly of women, secretly filmed by men.
As well as secretly filming women in schools, toilets and offices, ‘revenge porn’ — videos taken of sexual relations without the other partner’s consent — is believed to be equally widespread.
According to Han Sol, an activist at Flaming Feminist Action, such videos have long been watched and shared by South Korean men as a form of entertainment and a way to strengthen their “brotherly ties”.
Yong, who has also worked as a record producer and actor, had previously denied allegations that he had been involved in the ongoing K-pop sex scandal, which has threatened to overturn the industry’s “wholesome” image.
For South Korean women’s activists, the scandal, including the latest revelation, is unsurprising.
Thousands of women protested in Seoul last year on several occasions against spycam and revenge videos, as part of the country’s growing #MeToo movement.
“This case just shows that male K-Pop stars are no exception when it comes to being part of this very disturbing reality that exploits women,” women’s rights activist Bae Bok-ju said.