Mnet producer Ahn Joon Young and CP Kim Yong Beom, who are serving prison terms after being convicted for fraud by manipulating the rankings of the 'Produce 101' series during the first trial, were also sentenced to prison in an appeals trial. On November 18th, the Seoul High Court sentenced producer Ahn and CP Kim to two years in prison, along with 37 million KRW (~$33,400) in fines and one year and eight months in prison, respectively, maintaining their sentence from the first trial.
The appeals court ruled that the original decision was justified, stating, "They have deceived the viewers who voted using paid text messages by manipulating the votes even though the final contestants were already decided. This interfered with the broadcasting company's work and deceived the viewers." Producer Lee, who participated in the manipulation, was fined 10 million KRW (~$9,000), the same as the first trial.
The court explained the reason for the sentence, saying, "Kim Yong Beom is responsible for acquiescing the manipulation as a general producer, and Ahn Joon Young is responsible for actively participating in the ranking manipulation as the main producer and receiving favors from the entertainment agencies." Officials at entertainment companies who were fined in the first trial were sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to do community service.
The court stated, "This incident has significantly affected the fairness of the broadcast program, and some trainees have been deprived of the opportunity to appear on the show and make their debut." They stated those who suffered the most from this incident were trainees who were unfairly eliminated by ranking manipulation. The court revealed the names of those who were affected by vote-rigging for the first time on this day.
According to the report, twelve trainees were wrongfully eliminated after the vote manipulation. Some of the trainees who were unfairly disqualified include Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Hye Rim, Sung Hyun Woo, Kang Dong Ho, Lee Ka Eun, Han Cho Won, Anzardi Timothee, Kim Kook Heon, Lee Jin Woo, Goo Jung Mo, Lee Jin Hyuk, and Geum Dong Hyun.
The court stated, "Although material compensation is important for the victims, the start of the real compensation is to reveal the fact that these trainees were unfairly eliminated." As a result, CJ ENM/Mnet will have to make a direct compensation and apology.
However, the appeals court did not disclose the names of those who were helped by the manipulation and qualified in place of those who were unfairly disqualified. The court stated, "The trainees whose rankings were manipulated in favor were not aware of those facts. There is a high possibility they might become scapegoats," revealing the reason why the court did not want to release the list of the trainees who qualified through the vote manipulation.