While Ahn Joon Young had previously admitted to manipulating all season of ‘Produce 101’ to some extent, including changing two members in the top 61 in the first season, he did not say he changed the final results that led to the creation of I.O.I. However, others at CJ E&M may have according to a recent report.
According to the written indictment that the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office submitted to the National Assembly on December 3, the prosecution charged Ahn Joon Young (producing director of the “Produce” series) and Kim Yong Bum (chief producer) with conspiring to interfere in the business of selecting, training, and debuting CJ ENM’s idol groups. This was phrased in a way that suggested that Ahn Joon Young and Kim Yong Bum were acting on their own and that CJ ENM was the victim. However, the media outlet reported that another production staff member changed the rankings of I.O.I members, suggesting that this is not a problem of individual staff members but a structural problem at CJ ENM. According to the written indictment, Ahn Joon Young came up with a shortlist of trainees in February 2016, during the first season of “Produce 101,” and manipulated the voting results to remove two trainees who had ranked within the Top 61 and to replace them with two trainees who had been outside the Top 61. He gave the manipulated results to the broadcaster, who did not know about the voting results. This is the only thing Ahn has been accused of with regards to Season 1.
The recent report cites the indictment from prosecutors and says staff did intervene during the final vote of that season.
Media Today obtained a copy of the prosecution’s explanatory statement for nonindictment, in which prosecutors stated that the “Produce 101” production staff manipulated votes for the live broadcast of the Season 1 finale in April 2016. This included both online votes cast before the finale and text votes sent during the finale. They changed the votes and manipulated the rankings so that one trainee who had ranked in the Top 11 (“A”) was removed and one trainee who had not ranked in the Top 11 (“B”) was brought in. This was not included in the written indictment that prosecutors sent to the National Assembly. In the explanatory statement for nonindictment, the prosecution said, “The defendant (Ahn Joon Young) was the main producing director for “Produce 101″ Season 1. He admits that during the finale, where the final members to debut were chosen, the voting results were manipulated so that the rankings of ‘A’ and ‘B’ were switched and ‘B’ was able to debut with I.O.I. However, the defendant says that he was busy editing footage during the live broadcast and taking care of transmission business and was not involved in the process of tallying up votes. He strongly denies having manipulated the votes for the final rankings.” The prosecution continued, “At the time, ‘Produce 101’ Season 1 was being managed by former CJ ENM chief producer ‘Han’ and main writer ‘Park.’ The defendant claims that they were the ones to manipulate the votes during the finale and that he was not involved in the business, and we accord with his statement of the situation.” This is why Ahn was not charged with manipulating the final rankings of Season 1 in his official indictment. A source from the truth commission on the “Produce 101” Season 1 case stated through a legal representative, “Some of the charges were recommended for nonindictment, so we checked the explanatory statement for nonindictment and found that one member of the final 11 in Season 1 had their rankings changed. Seeing as manipulation took place as early as Season 1, it seems that they had no interest in doing the show properly from the very beginning. We asked the prosecution about investigations into the CP of Season 1, but they did not respond.” A source from the truth commission on the “Produce 101” Seasons 2-4 case stated, “PD Han was the main producer of Season 1 and bears no small amount of responsibility for this case. He needs to be thoroughly investigated so he can take responsibility. In this situation, we are failing to see the serious responsibility and compensation that CJ ENM promised they would take. CJ ENM needs to take responsibility soon.”
So basically it was one member in the final group who was switched in and one member who was switched out.
Mnet didn’t have much to say about it in response.
Mnet responded to the report by stating, “We were not able to check the explanatory statement for nonindictment against Ahn Joon Young so we do not know the contents. We also have nothing to say about chief producer Han.”
While this reality seemed obvious to assume about earlier seasons, having evidence attached to it is another step entirely. But for me, the big takeaway is that prosecution believes that it’s not just rogue producers who were behind this, but corruption at CJ E&M (who woulda thought?) at large. Most of the readers of this site likely already assumed all this and I’ve written as much before, but it’s nice to see it officially being pursued even if you kinda know nothing will come of it.