Burning Sun, a nightclub owned by Big Bang‘s Seungri, came under fire earlier following a report that a man was assaulted by security there after trying to help a woman who was being sexually harassed. The man also alleged that he was beaten by police.
In response, the club issued an apology for security’s response to the incident, firing the person responsible.
We understand that much doubt and controversy has arisen in relation to the Gangnam assault incident reported on MBC News at 8 p.m. on January 28, 2019. The incident occurred in the process of a staff member responding to a civil complaint from a female guest who said that she had been the victim of sexual harassment. We express our sincere apology and remorse as the representatives of the club’s management team for arousing criticism over assault by a club staff member. We will fully cooperate in the investigation process as necessary to allow for the thorough investigation of the truth related to the various doubts brought up in that report, including submitting all of the CCTV footage that recorded the details related to that incident to the investigative agency.
Also, regarding the person from the club connected to that assault incident, we are holding him responsible and have taken disciplinary action and dismissal measures. We will do our best to prevent this from happening again in the future through actions such as education for our club staff and the creation of manuals on safety and security.
After viewing the CCTV footage of the man being attacked by a group, this only seemed like a reasonable thing to do. Regardless of what they thought the guy did, I’m not sure how wailing on him outside the club in a gang beating was appropriate.
Additionally, assault against the police could be a reasonable charge to make.
Though one could definitely argue that everything in that altercation stemmed from him appearing to grab and take down an officer.
So at least the initial confrontation with authorities appears to have been instigated by the victim, which in no way justifies any later violence against him at the station, but also could call into question the accuracy of his claims.
Other than the assault incident, there were also a bunch of much more serious accusations floating around. Some people were claiming that the club was involved in drugs and turning a blind eye to sexual assaults, as well as being involved in some kind of police cover-up of this activity.
The victim of the assault at the club made the allegations.
A CCTV video from the club uploaded by Mr. Kim has become an issue of concern online. It includes a woman stumbling as she’s dragged through a hallway at the club, and there has been much speculation over the events taking place in the video. It was uploaded on YouTube on December 27 of last year. Mr. Kim described, “Less than 10 days after my incident occurred on November 24, a woman who was intoxicated by something was dragged by her hair by a Burning Sun guard down a VIP hall. The woman grabbed on to the computer and desk and seemed to be in need of help, but the staff ignored that. I received information that the woman reported this to the police, but the police let it pass and Burning Sun deleted the CCTV [footage].” He went on to state that he has heard that similar incidents occur twice a day, and that the police receives a large amount of money from Burning Sun, with the police and Burning Sun having an agreement where they do not enter the club under the pretext of it being a disturbance of business.
The club responded to these charges in a statement.
This is our explanation statement regarding the video in question.
There are additional videos from the same day as when she was dragged out. On December 1, 2018 around 1:35 a.m., an intoxicated woman (Thai) at a VIP table was causing a disturbance through actions such as unsealing alcohol at the table and secretly drinking it, and so actions were taken for her to leave. In the process of her leaving, she committed the first act of assault on the guard’s head. After our Burning Sun guard team called the police, they were waiting and a female Burning Sun guard was in charge. A staff member who was able to communicate with the foreigner (the male wearing a denim jacket) explained the situation in English but she became angry instead and she assaulted the female guard and sales team member. After the police arrived, we submitted the video in question to the police, the foreign guest was arrested, we received assault settlement money afterwards for the repair cost of the laptop, and the case was closed.
So basically they’re saying the actions of security seen in the clip was due to her being drunk, stealing alcohol, and being belligerent to staff, including assaulting one of them.
Additionally, the club shared the testimony of a female security guard, which corroborates the club’s version of events. She denies that the woman was being taken away to be sexually assaulted, and she included an apology letter from the woman to her.
Okay, so it does seem possible that security was simply dragging out a belligerent clubgoer. Now you can argue about the manner in which it is done, but given how clubs usually are, a person being kicking out after getting into an altercation with a bouncer is probable and perhaps likely.
Meanwhile, the person in charge of the club (who was the person fired), apologized for the assault but clarified that Seungri isn’t involved.
E-Daily has reported that Director Jang of Burning Sun shared further CCTV footage from the club with them and stated, “No matter what the reason, I apologize that violence was committed.” He went on to say, “As is seen in the CCTV footage, I witnessed Mr. Kim approaching female guests numerous times, and as civil complaints from guests increased I couldn’t let it pass. It’s true that there is ambiguity about ‘harassment’ due to the particular nature of it being a ‘club.’” He added, “Currently there are many articles with related search terms that say ‘Seungri club.’ However, not only was Seungri not at the club on the day of the incident, he’s also someone we do not see often. I want to say clearly that the assault was my mistake. I will submit the related materials such as CCTV footage to the police and sincerely undergo the investigation.” Burning Sun told E-Daily that Director Jang has left the business. They stated, “We feel apologetic about Director Jang’s overreaction; however a thorough investigation must be carried out about the sexual harassment of female [guests].”
Depending on what you believe, this could be simply the truth of the matter or evidence that it’s indeed being covered up and he’s the fall guy.
While it’s important to be cynical about explanations from the club, it’s also important to be skeptical about wild speculation. It’s entirely possible to me that the club was in the wrong for assaulting this man and deserves to be criticized harshly for that — and that the police also used excessive violence against him and deserve scrutiny themselves — but also that there isn’t a broader conspiracy where the police cover up a sexual assault ring run by the club or whatever else.
That’s not to say it’s not possible that there are more nefarious things going on beyond the assault, and honestly it wouldn’t even surprise me if there were, but at the moment I find it hard to rationalize any belief in that based on what we know so far.
Given how the story is developing, it seems prudent to just wait for more stuff to emerge, as that seems inevitable at this point.