Well … things have gotten even deeper, as they announced that they will investigate all four seasons of ‘Produce 101‘.
On September 2, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency held an open press conference and stated, “We are currently investigating the fourth season (‘Produce X 101’) of the ‘Produce 101’ series, and we are also looking into whether there were any unlawful practices in the preceding three seasons as well.”
The police stated, “We have conducted a search and seizure on information related to ‘Produce X 101,’ and as there are several allegations, we are currently looking through additional documents.” They added, “Some of the material we’ve required is related to the previous three seasons. We’re looking into it.” They emphasized, “However, as the investigation is still taking place, any information about raw voting data or final rankings (for the trainees) cannot be revealed at this time.”
Additionally, the investigation is also spreading to other Mnet shows like ‘Show Me The Money‘ and ‘Superstar K‘, though they are not investigating ‘Idol School’ yet despite gathering data.
On September 2, News1 reported that the police obtained voting data from “Show Me the Money,” “Idol School,” and “Superstar K” during their search and seizures of the CJ ENM offices in July and August. A source who chose to remain anonymous shared, “As far as I know, ‘Show Me the Money’ is also suspected of manipulating audience votes. It is known among several sources in the music industry that there was unlawful intervention in the audience votes.” Another source said, “Though [the series] has already ended, the police are expanding their investigation to include ‘Superstar K.’ Those who took part in producing ‘Superstar K’ at the time are being asked by the police for their cooperation.” The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated at a press conference on the same day that they do not have plans to investigate “Idol School” yet.
Well … things just keep getting worse for Mnet.
It’s reasonable to believe that the gigantic company will get away with this by blaming some employees or something, but it’s also hilarious that that being so lazy to even hide it is what has gotten essentially the entirety of their survival show empire into murky waters.
‘Idol School’ will now also be investigated by police.
Mnet’s 2017 survival program “Idol School” is reportedly also being investigated by the police for suspicions of vote manipulation. On September 6, it was reported by Sports Chosun that according to several sources from the entertainment industry, the police have officially begun to investigate Mnet’s “Idol School” for potential vote manipulation. According to the sources, the police called in for witness questioning several “Idol School” sources as well as the community of “Idol School” fans who raised suspicions of the show being manipulated. On the same day, a fan community of “Idol School” filed a criminal complaint against Mnet and its employees for suspicions of being co-principals in committing fraud and co-principals in instigating the destruction of evidence. According to Article 30 in the Limit of Applicability of Criminal Code, the act of being co-principals is “when two or more persons have jointly committed a crime,” and the act of being an instigator is when a person instigates another to commit a crime. If the person who is instigated consents to carry out the crime, the same punishment will be applied to both the instigator and the person who commits the crime. A legal representative of the “Idol School” fan community argued, “For a certain trainee, the number of realtime paid text votes (about 5,000 votes) that were sent in during the final episode of the show, which was verified through an event that viewers willingly participated in to prove that they voted, showed a great gap from the number of realtime paid text votes that were revealed during the episode (about 2,600 votes).” They continued, “If viewers had known in advance that there would be manipulation in the voting process of ‘Idol School’ and the process of counting the votes, they would have never participated in voting.” They also stated that this is enough to build a case for fraud. The legal representative also stated that if it is revealed as true that some members of the “Idol School” production team deleted the raw data due to an order from Mnet, by law this would be instigating destruction of evidence. They concluded, “While watching Mnet’s consistent attitude of avoiding responsibility regarding the repeated controversies, I wonder if this may not be just the simple mistake of a few people but rather the spread of negligence of media ethics throughout its organizational culture. We hope that all suspicions are resolved through detailed investigation.”