[Update] CNBLUE’s Yonghwa apologizes for involvement in preferential admissions scandal, FNC gives statement

It’s been revealed recently that CNBLUE‘s Yonghwa is the idol whose admission to graduate school is under investigation by authorities.

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Things started with a report that police were investigating a case where an anonymous idol was allegedly admitted to Kyung Hee University‘s graduate school program thanks to preferential treatment.

On January 16, SBS News reported that in October of 2016, idol star A was accepted into Kyung Hee University’s graduate school despite not participating in the official interview process. Police are now investigating the acceptance due to the suspicion of special treatment. According to reports, A did not only fail to attend the official interview, but he also did not attend the supplemental interview. It’s said A’s aunt, who is a professor at the institution, and the graduate school’s administrative office are being investigated. A’s agency has stated he applied to Kyung Hee University’s graduate school due to his aunt’s advice, and the label assumed A was officially interviewed when A’s aunt came to the agency. Reportedly, A temporarily withdrew from the university after his acceptance and is still on a hiatus from schooling.

The anonymous idol’s company CEO was contacted and provided a statement.

The label CEO was contacted for a statement, and the CEO said, “He applied to the graduate program under the professor’s recommendation, and the professor said they would interview him at our office since they were coming to the neighborhood. It is a university that has a lot of celebrities and the university had a hard time filling up its class, so we thought the professors were going around for the students. We were also told that the interview was not very important. It’s not that hard to go get interviewed at the school. We did not ask for preferential treatment in that way, and we never thought to.” On why the idol was rejected on his first try, the label CEO explained, “When he first applied, he accidentally checked the box for the special application instead of the regular one, and was disqualified. We made a mistake on submitting the application.”

A report by Star Today revealed that CNBLUE’s Yonghwa was the idol in question, and FNC Entertainment responded by confirming the report and issuing a lengthy statement.

Hello, this is FNC Entertainment. We are Yonghwa’s label and we will apologize for the controversy around the Kyunghee University graduate school interview. Recently, Yonghwa and a staff of our label were investigated because of the issue around Yonghwa being accepted to the Kyunghee University’s Applied Arts’ graduate doctorate program. (The Applied Arts school is a school that studies and fosters applied music’s content production abilities.) Yonghwa was recommended multiple times by the school, and applied to the Kyunghee University’s Applied Arts’ graduate doctorate program in January of 2017 during the additional acceptance round. Popular celebrities such as idols have their schedules planned by the label since they are busy due to concerts and other things, and celebrities move according to that schedule. Similarly, the label took care of Yonghwa’s application including filling out his forms, submitting them, and contacting the school. Both the label and Yonghwa believed that he was undergoing the normal application process until the situation became problematic. Yonghwa believed that the individual interview was the regular process, and he attended the interview as the label scheduled. Yonghwa was investigated by the police because of this issue. The label and Yonghwa did not have any objectives of getting preferential treatment and breaking the school rules; we are very sorry for causing a controversy. After the issue became problematic, he is currently taking a break from the school. Additionally, Yonghwa applied to the Applied Arts’ graduate masters program in fall of 2016, but was denied admission due to a mistake on his application. However, the school continued to recommend to the label that Yonghwa should apply to the additional application because the school was lacking students, so Yonghwa applied in January, 2017. We heard from the professor that the school was trying to gather more students, and that they were trying to get even just one more student to fill up the classes. The professor wished for Yonghwa to apply to the school, to help the school. There was no competition and all the students who applied through the additional application in 2017 were accepted. Yonghwa was not accepted unfairly into a difficult process, and he has no reasons to do so as a popular celebrity. (If he knew that it was unlawful for him to be personally contacted for an interview and that he was supposed to get interviewed at the school, he would have attended by making time, and we would not have done something that would be such a critical damage to his image as a public figure.) The label will take all responsibility on this situation, and we apologize once again for the trouble.”

Like with the situation involving Yonghwa, his mom, and the stocks, it just seems fishy that responsibility for things that intimately involve Yonghwa are consistently being passed off to others, in this case to his aunt and his company. No word on what the police investigation has concluded yet, but just based off FNCE’s statement, they’re not denying anything as much as providing an excuse.

On that note, I would also like to make a statement at this time.

Thank you.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t necessarily make him a terrible person or whatever. However, given the importance of this issue in Korea, I understand the reaction.

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Update

Yonghwa has posted a handwritten letter of apology.

“First and foremost, I sincerely bow my head in apology. Whatever’s the reason, whatever’s the truth, I know it’s all my fault and I am deeply reflecting. Whatever you say about me, I will accept it all. To my family, members, and fans who have always believed in me, I’m very ashamed and genuinely sorry for disappointing you all. Whatever I say, whatever I post, I understand that it may be difficult for it to get through to you, but once again, I want to apologize. I’m sorry for taking up your precious time with this letter.”

It’s quite vague, but at least it takes responsibility.

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It’s important to realize that the reason people are upset is not so much about Yonghwa in isolation, but the fact that what’s happening in his case is representative of how the system works. Plus, this appears to be a particularly brazen example of the status quo at play.

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