Burning Sun scandal: BBC doc tells story of reporters & victims, reveals Goo Hara’s key role

In a bit of a surprise, the BBC revealed today a documentary on the Burning Sun scandal called Burning Sun: Exposing The Secret K-Pop Chat Groups that mostly centers the perspective of two female journalists: Park Hyo Sil and Kang Kyung Yoon.

If you followed along with it at the time, you’re likely already familiar with a lot of the details the documentary provides. If not, then it’s definitely worth a watch as a starting point, not unlike the BBC’s Johnny Kitagawa documentary. And much like with that documentary, it does also add to the public understanding of things, especially due to the interviews with reporters involved and victims as well.


One of the new stories was that of journalist Park Hyo Sil, who broke the story on Jung Joon Young back in 2016 when his girlfriend accused him of molka. In the wake of the victim’s retraction and the police dropping the case (which she spoke about in 2021), the reporter reveals being vilified and inundated with abuse that led to a lot of personal turmoil, including her belief that it led to two miscarriages.

The documentary also goes into how Jung Joon Young was cleared, which was that after he refused to give his phone to police forensics, handing it to a private company instead. The police rushed through the investigation, didn’t look at the phone themselves, and took the forensics company’s word for it on what was on the phone. They later reveal a phone call between Jung’s lawyer the forensics company, as the lawyer basically pressures the company into telling police what they want to hear. That combined with the later police corruption stuff … makes it suspicious to say the least.

Later, a lawyer for KBS — the broadcaster where Jung Joon Young starred on 2 Days 1 Night — reportedly leaned on the victim, warning her that if she couldn’t prove her accusations then she could go to jail, which scared her into not pursuing the case.

Update: KBS has issued a denial of this and said they are requesting changes from the BBC.

Update Again: BBC has issued an apology to KBS.


The documentary then fast forwards to 2019, when a whistleblower from the private forensics company leaks the content of Jung Joon Young’s phone to reporter Kang Kyung Yoon. The reporter thought she would be getting the truth about Jung Joon Young’s ex-gf, but finds a lot more, which kicks off a larger investigation into molka and police corruption.

In terms of new information, while KARA‘s Hara helping out had been mentioned before, I had not known that she was important to Kang Kyung Yoon’s investigation into the matter, as she helped her confirm the involvement of somebody with authority backing the group chat*.

*Also, I just want to say that while in retrospect it seems really easy to turn in a friend or family member who does something terrible — and everybody online would be heroes in their own mind — in the moment it’s extremely hard to accept reality at times, and the fact that Hara stepped up here is honestly incredible, especially knowing the potential for blowback.

After that, Kang Kyung Yoon was able to publish her stories about Jung Joon Young, Choi Jong Hoon, and BIGBANG‘s Seungri, which blew the top off the scandal.

The documentary also talks about Seungri acting like a ringleader of the group, including unseen videos of him.

Nothing revealed about him seemed new besides that, however it’s just further reinforcement that he was lucky to only get charged with what he did because that’s all they could prove.


Another thing the documentary provides is a voice for the victims to speak about what they endured, with one in particular recounting her story in terrifying detail.

It goes on to say that she went to the police at the time to report rape, but that because of the picture she was forced to take, the police dismissed her claims.

The documentary also briefly talks about the victims who came forward, not knowing if they were on the videos or if they were spread, and the consistent fear that they lived with over that.


Perhaps most ominously, a club employee says much of the same is happening today, it just doesn’t make headline news.

Honestly, I had expected this to be more of a recap for a wider audience than anything else, but there was a lot shown that either more effectively reinforced what was already reported on or even breaks new ground due to speaking directly with those involved.

Overall, worth a watch regardless of your familiarity with the case.



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