SEOUL: South Korea's K-pop culture is one of the country's most lucrative soft power exports and has drawn a massive audience of young people internationally, especially in other Asian markets. While the industry mostly projects a wholesome image on stage and screen, a series of scandals, public personal breakdowns and untimely celebrity deaths this year has drawn attention to the darker side of the culture. Choi Jin-ri was better known as her stage name Sulli.
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While the industry mostly projects a wholesome image on stage and screen, a series of scandals, public personal breakdowns and untimely celebrity deaths this year has drawn attention to the darker side of the culture. June: Yang Hyun-suk, founder of YG Entertainment, which managed Seungri and other K-pop artists, stepped down from his duties as chief producer, in the aftermath of drug and sex scandals. October: Choi Jin-ri, a former member of girl group f x who went by the stage name Sulli, died in apparent suicide. She had spoken out against cyberbullying, having become the target of criticism after she spoke out about not wearing a bra in the conservative K-pop industry. November: K-pop singer Koo Hara was found dead in her home. Police found a handwritten note in which she expressed despair. She had been subjected to vicious attacks online about her relationships with men, local media said. November: K-pop musician Jung Joon-young was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a woman and distributing a video showing the act. Choi Jong-hoon, 30, a former member of South Korean boy band FT Island, was sentenced to five years prison for the rape of the woman. Both men were members of online chat groups that shared secret sex videos and made jokes about drugging and raping women, the court said.
The Straits Times
Actress-singer Sulli, who was found dead at her home on Monday Oct 14 , will have a private funeral. Her agency, SM Entertainment, said the venue will not be disclosed in order to keep fans and reporters away. Asking the media to accept this arrangement with a "generous heart", it added that her family wants "Sulli's last journey" to be "beautiful". According to the Seongnam Fire Department, the year-old former member of South Korean girl group f x was already dead when paramedics arrived on the scene. It had sent an ambulance to her home when it received a call from Sulli's manager at 3. He could not contact her after they last spoke the day before. The paramedics noted that she showed signs of cardiac arrest and the case was handed over to the police. Cameramen film outside a house of Sulli, a former member of top South Korean girl group f x , in Seongnam on Oct 14,
Korean singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young left , Seungri, a former member of the K-pop boy band Big Bang center , and Choi Jong-Hoon right , formerly of rock band FT Island, have been questioned by police in relation to criminal investigations linked to leaked group chat messages. Since then, women across different industries have slowly started to talk about their personal experiences of abuse and harassment. Now, a leak of explicit group chats involving several high-profile men in entertainment has led to calls from the public to reinvestigate incidents of a similar nature where men were not prosecuted. However, for the first time, women in South Korea are seeing concrete results for their efforts to get their voices heard through social media, and there is the hope that perhaps, this time, the men involved — and others before them — will actually be held accountable for their actions. At the end of February, a reporter from South Korean broadcaster SBS FunE got a hold of explicit videos and messages from a group chat on South Korean messaging app KakaoTalk that involved several high-profile men in the entertainment industry allegedly arranging prostitutes for foreign investors, recording explicit videos of women without their consent, and distributing the footage in the chat.