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OP-ED, Original Features

[OP-ED] Recent Competition Show Scandals Raise Questions About Famous Youth

By Patrick_Magee   Tuesday, March 21, 2017   31,808   954   44



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In recent years, one of the hottest trends in the Korean music market has been the reality competition show. From 'Show Me The Money' and 'Unpretty Rapstar' to 'Produce 101,' viewers have loved seeing K-pop and hip-hop artists rise through the ranks and establish their careers by competing alongside their peers. With the high viewership these shows receive, a magnifying glass is placed on the actions of all involved - the production companies, music labels, judges, and especially performers. Recently, this has brought a string of controversies to light, which prompted questions about whether or not these competition-driven performers were ever ready for prime time.

For a quick recap, the most recent string of reality star controversies started around February with "High School Rapper" contestant Jang Yong Joon. As the show began, it emerged through netizen research that Yong Joon had a history of unsavory social media posts and behavior during his earlier teenage years. Allegations arose with screenshots that showed him bullying, bargaining for sexual favors, and even bad-mouthing his own mother. Once it also became clear that Jang Yong Joon was the son of politician Jang Je Won, the family became surrounded in controversy and debate. Both Yong Joon and his father issued apology statements, which culminated with his departure from the show.

Later in February, another High School Rapper contestant - Yang Hong Won - became the target of netizen questioning for his past behavior. Claims that he had stolen bikes and bullied others came to light, and the show's producers were forced to issue an apology on his behalf. Unlike Jang Yong Joon, he did not leave the show, though it's clear the allegations had an effect on the public's perception of him.

As for other competition show scandals, several have recently emerged from the Produce 101 camp well in advance of the show's second season kickoff. Contestant Jo Kyu Min got a lot of heat from netizens and V.I.Ps after it was revealed that he was a paid G-Dragon impersonator in China. He hit back, claiming that his barrage of social media posts mirroring G-Dragon's (as well as several TV appearances in which he was featured specifically as an impersonator) were essentially the result of producer influence. He concluded "I know it's love I don't deserve," but remains on the show at this time.

Another Produce 101 contestant, Hang Jong Yeon, became the topic of heated discussion when allegations that he forced a classmate to masturbate in public (among other forms of bullying) were spread throughout the press. In his case, the accusations were too extreme to simply play off, and he stepped down from the show before its first episode aired. Perhaps the most shocking part of this is not his departure, rather, the acknowledgment by his label (and thusly himself) that some of the accusations were true in the form of a meeting with the victim.

These scandals all share the common feature of past actions coming back to haunt performers and have raised a variety of concerns about the relationship between production companies and contestants. For one, it seems that background checks were either less-than-thorough or ignored entirely. Although it's clear that each show has its own vetting process, this might not have accounted for events that were lost to time - that is, until netizens were presented with a reason to speak up via the public exposure of these contestants.

Another commonality among these scandals is the fact that they occurred prior to contestants' participation in their respective shows. They were marks of past behavior that might have been corrected or at least taken seriously as an ongoing issue to work on. With some controversies arising from contestants' actions that took place as early as elementary school, one can't help but wonder if netizens and viewers are holding contestants to an unrealistic standard of behavior for such a growing-pain driven life period. Although nothing excuses the contestants' actions, and accountability is important, it's possible that netizens were "reopening old wounds" and meddling with issues that had already been addressed on a smaller scale.

To the cynical, this string of events might sleep like a rather sloppy handling of show production duties - or, worse yet, a deliberate ploy to generate press for the shows in question. This argument is a little bit complicated, given that contestants who receive this level of heat usually leave their shows. Additionally, the motto of "all press is good press" doesn't necessarily hold true for the K-pop world. Most readers of this site are familiar with how netizens can build up and break down a star on a moment's notice. Having a reputation for questionable behavior, even if it's from technicalities and misunderstandings (word to Park Bom), usually hurts you permanently in K-pop.

It's hard to pin these issues on any one cause. Most of them occurred prior to fame, although it's understandable when onlookers argue that they represent behavior that might occur after fame is established. For producers and labels, this is not a good look; in fact, it's a bad investment. For fans, it can mean a combination of wasted time (when the artist can't debut or promote) and frustration (defending said artist). The only certain notion is that if scandals continue to happen at this pace, it should be one of the most interesting years K-pop competition shows have ever seen.

SEE ALSO: 10 Scariest Sasaeng Stories

  1. misc.

TWICECOASTER Wednesday, March 22, 2017

i said bom is a druggie and got disliked wow i didnt even lie

2NEWANZ TWICECOASTER Thursday, March 23, 2017

Drug is also used as medicine , medicine is also used as drugs , but both on the medicine and drugs just used in small quantities , have'nt you passed your high school ?, your family must be very poor because they even can't afford your high school fee , poor you , next time , do some research before bashing someone , if you lie , who cares?? NOBODY , even nobody ask you to say bom is a druggie and confessed that is not a lie , stupid , confessing to yourself ? Just go to the hell and die peacefully there , one more , who's the girl in your profile pic ?? She's pretty

SeokjinBTS TWICECOASTER Friday, March 24, 2017

Don't shame TWICE atleast, if you care 1% about them. Don't measure an artist by the looks, her talent is what makes her amazing.

uzorai Wednesday, March 22, 2017

to b honest for me to summarize this article in three words it will be "life goes on"

wvu92669 (Banned) Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

jyu219 Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Its a bit sad how certain artist is getting punished by the public for their immature actions in the past.Who are we to judge to anyone? Everybody makes mistakes in life, Life is about learning from our mistakes and getting a second chance. Their certain artist still performing and creating new music for their fans after dealing with MARIJUNA case. Yes, I absolutely disagree anyone getting bullied verbally or physically because of their family background, education, appearance, or etc, Who are we to judge anyone? Lets all stand together and give them a second chance to be successful with their career and accomplishing their dreams. Amen

shyloone jyu219 Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Exactly, some people think people should be punished for the rest of their lives for some stupid things that they did when they were younger, i dont condone any kind of bullying either, but sometimes, the actual person who bullies someone when they are younger, are also people who are crying out for attention and help,people do make mistakes when they are young, and some people do try to change, but people cant change there ways if other people keep trampling on them for the rest of their lives, Teenagers just like to act cool around their peers and so do stupid stuff to get not saying they should get away with it, but the past is pretty much the past, and if people cant move forward from there past and try to better themselves in the future, then what is the point of ever having a future,,,i will always stand by the person who always trys to make themself a better person for themselves, not for anyone else, just for themselves

jyu219 shyloone Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thank you for the reply, Absolutely agree with you.

methodman88 Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The producers were careless and ignorant. No one can stop the power of the internet. Everyone is entitled of free speech on the internet. And because of this and social media, and also the detective skills of netizens nothing nowadays goes unseen. But with bad publicity comes interest, with any sort of interest comes viewership. Simply all the producers have to do is apologize and they get away scot free. Rinse and repeat, any sort of scandal, ohh sorry we have to cut you and you deal with the consequences. We'll apologize too on our end and everyone lives to see another day. For those who impact other people in a negative way, bullying or violence or whatever, doesn't matter if you're a kid or an adult should always see some sort of punishment justifiably fitting to their crime. Bullying should be seen as a crime punishable as far up as imprisonment depending on how bad the bullying is. People commit suicide because they can't take anymore and they crack, so forgive me if it sounds a bit harsh but its also the truth.

SowonderfulBlue Wednesday, March 22, 2017

You know, I believe that people can mature and change, learn from their past mistakes. But I also believe in karma. Things like this don't just come about you if you treat people kindly. I'm sure some things are exaggerated out of spite, but there's obviously enough truth there whether it's a part of it or the whole. The bad things you may do/have done might not affect you immediately, but they'll come back to haunt you. Even if you've "been punished" or received your karma already, it doesn't mean it erases what you've done. Sometimes it will always return to you.

kentv Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I am surprised some enterprising netizens haven't formed a company that conducts background checks on trainees or potential trainees for the companies as clearly many of these companies or the normal private investigation firms they hire don't appear to be able to find information that is readily available to anyone who is willing to do a little digging.  It's an incredibly bad investment for a company to sign someone and waste time and money training them when they have something in their past that would make them dead on arrival when they publicly debut and possibly kill their group as collateral damage further increasing the damage.  A company may still decide to sign someone, but at least they can prepare for damage control if it was minor or better yet be up front before debut about what happened and what corrective measures/restitution was taken to resolve he situation satisfactorily.Young people sometimes make mistakes, but some of these things are pretty serious and one doesn't have a right to be an idol or actor.  That is a privilege.  If people auditioning knew that their brackgrounds would be checked more, maybe there would be fewer of these embarrassing episodes as people with serious issues in their past would have to be very upfront with their potential employer and have he talent to be worth the risk and image repair that will be needed.  It seems most of these companies are caught by surprise about their employees past issues, which is amazing in such a personality and image conscious industry.

shyloone Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I dont really care about peoples pass,  on shows like this, and realistically  i worry more about the people who go around digging up all this shit, to try and stop them from persuing what they come to do, well as you know , it might of worked on one on teen rapper, an they got him too leave the show, but good for Yang Hong Won for standing his ground, an not leaving the show, just because of others not liking his past, well did it occure to people that people try and change, and come on shows like this hoping for some life changes, there is such a thing you know, an i personally think he is going to be a definite finalist

RoAnon9935 shyloone Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And not all current idols have a picture perfect past we are expecting debuting idols to have, In the past Hong Ki from Ft Island talked about his past and I can't help but to think to myself he would be ousted today. He is a good person, just made some dumb ass mistakes

uzorai shyloone Wednesday, March 22, 2017

seriously my question is, "how do they always find out"

shyloone uzorai Wednesday, March 22, 2017

i think it starts of people see them on a show, and a person who obviously went to school with them or was friends of someone who went to school with them, say they know that person an then start putting stuff up about them on social media, some do it because they want to think its cool knowing the person, others do it just because they never liked the person, and dont want them to succeed in anything so they spread stuff all over social media sites about them, then it just continues and spreads... thats how a majority of those ones spread, as for finding out about older idols and that, the obviously are just stalkers, an hunt them down how ever they can

7amdowh Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Part of me is glad that these people are finally suffering from their wrong doing, party of me know that there is a fair chance that they are not their same old self, so this is unfair to them. I mean come on, elementary school? that's a child, a stupid kid, he will grow up and see the world differently.

7amdowh Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I don't think w have the right to judge them based on something they did as kids, something over 10 years ago.

fairypanda Wednesday, March 22, 2017

the image will always stick with them, that's the punishment from nature.

SeokjinBTS fairypanda Wednesday, March 22, 2017

But people can change. I'm sure they must be regretting what they did in the past, but they might have become better. I say we give them a chance.

fairypanda SeokjinBTS Friday, March 24, 2017

I could do that, you could do that, but not everyone, especially trolls

SeokjinBTS fairypanda Friday, March 24, 2017

I'll agree with you on that. Trolls won't change.

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