CJ ENM's CEO Heo Min Hwe has made his official statement on the 'Produce' series.
As announced, CJ ENM had their press conference on the manipulation of the 'Produce' series. The CEO's statement was as follows:
Hello, this is CJ ENM's CEO Heo Min Hwe.
I bow my head in apology for making everyone disappointed because of the controversies around Mnet. I feel especially pained when I think about the pain that the trainees received when all they did was put all of their passion into their dream of debuting. I am sincerely sorry. I also am sorry to the fans and viewers who supported the program through various means with their precious time, including by voting through texting. This is all our fault, and I take responsibility as the CEO. I am sorry once again.
I know that there is no action that we can take to right the disappointment and pain that you all have received. However, we are trying to at least right the wrong from now on and do our best to fix the pain that the viewers received.
First of all, we will definitely take responsibility to the trainees who were victimized through the audition program ranking manipulation on programs such as 'Produce' and other Mnet audition programs. We will, of course, pay the financial damages, and also support their future activities. We will be talking in-depth with the relevant people to do what is necessary to right the wrongs.
We will also be letting go of all the profits from the programs that are manipulated, as well as the future profits. We believe that will amount up to a fund about 30 billion KRW ($25.9 million). This fund will be given to an outside, independent company to use for the K-pop industry and its growth. I will let you know the details of how this fund will work once we have figured it all out.
We will also take actions necessary to make the broadcasts more transparent and fair. We will be incorporating a 'Viewer Committee' that outside content experts participate in to make the production of programs more transparent. We will also be reconfiguring the broadcast ethics of the company and strengthen the education on that matter. We will be diligently fixing and monitoring actions such as watching wrongdoings happen or throwing away basic ethics by chasing views.
We promise to diligently participate in the current investigations so that there is not a drop of suspicions. We will also be taking strict action inside the company according to the results.
All the fault with this situation is on us, and we will do all we can so the IZ*ONE and X1 members can resume their activities. We are taking in account of the psychological pain, pressure, and all the fans who want them to continue promotions, and we will do our best to cooperate so they can promote again. As I said before, Mnet will not be receiving profits from either group.
Also, we will be taking quick action to pay damages to anyone who was harmed by this. This is our fault, and not the fault of the debuted artists or the trainees. I beg you to protect them so that there are no other victims.
I apologize once again to everyone who loves Mnet.
He was also asked about the status of the action trainees. He answered, "The trainees can be divided into two classes. There are the beneficiaries and the victims. The victims are the trainees who should have debuted but did not, and the beneficiaries are the ones who debuted but should not have. We cannot yet tell who is in which yet. When it is confirmed later, we will be paying damages to the victims."