Produce PD Ahn Joon Young was sentenced to two years in prison back in 2020 for his role in Mnet’s voting manipulation scandal, but his existence is causing controversy again due to a report that Mnet had rehired him recently to work in Mnet’s music business division.
On April 3, an official from Mnet confirmed, “It is true that PD Ahn Joon Young has rejoined [the company] again after resigning from the company last year. As for the specific timing, it is difficult to confirm.”
There has been some confusion over the timeline in regards to this, but my current understanding is that he was still with Mnet throughout his prison sentence, resigned from the company in 2022, and now is being rehired by them (hence the “again” wording).
After the news generated negative backlash, Mnet parent company CJ ENM released an apology, calling rehiring Ahn Joon Young an inexcusable mistake … but also not saying whether he would be fired or not.
We would like to sincerely apologize to everyone who was disappointed with Mnet’s past round of recruitment.
The decision to hire PD Ahn Joon Young was an inexcusable mistake. Our decision to give him an opportunity to make up for his past mistakes did not meet the standards of justice and fairness that is a given in society.
We would like to apologize to the many people who love Mnet and to the executives and the employees who have been quietly working with the pride of being at the best contents company.
For the past four years, we have established a voting management system that is separate from the production side to improve the fairness of our audition programs. We have also increased our transparency throughout the voting process by strengthening our monitoring of the votes and the inclusion of the viewer committee.
However, we will humbly accept our shortcomings related to our recruitment standards and we will quickly add supplementary additions to the problems that were raised to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Please continue to send us your support, encouragement, and criticism as we work to restore fairness and trust in our company. We have deeply reflected on the disappointment that we have caused to many people, and bow our heads in apology.
They told another outlet that they are discussing Ahn Joon Young’s future, so definitely nothing concrete yet.
Normally I wouldn’t even include half of this corporate speak statement, but the latter parts of it seem important from the standpoint that they appear to be justifying retaining Ahn Joon Young by explaining that they are taking additional measures to make sure that a situation like his does not arise again.
To anybody who followed this case and was understandably skeptical that Ahn Joon Young just happened to come up with this scheme all by himself that also just happened to favor specific companies and benefit Mnet/CJ ENM greatly, well him being covertly retained and rehired by a giant corporation despite the risk of backlash for them sure seems to fit the narrative that he was more of a fall guy for widespread industry shenanigans.
The damage control now that this has come out should be interesting since this all boils down to Mnet/CJ ENM being surprised they got caught, and any action they take from here will just be them weighing whether he’s worth the public relations cost.