The general producer of MBK Entertainment and Pocketdol Studio’s CEO faced charges for manipulating votes on Produce 101 in favor of their trainees.
As reported from legal sources on January 22, MBK Entertainment’s general producer Kim Kwang Soo, and CEO of Pocketdol Studio, Park Kyu Heon (a subsidiary of MBK), were sentenced by the Seoul Central District Court to a fine of 10 million won each (approximately $9,100).
The nearing end of a long controversy
Kim Kwang Soo and Park Kyu Heon, both summoned on obstruction of business charges. Both of them faced punishment for buying 10,000 IDs between March and April 2016.
They also made the MBK Entertainment employees used the borrowed IDs. This is for voting and escalated the three trainees’ ranking from the agency.
As a result, it reached about 89,228 fraudulent votes cast. This covered the third and final rounds of voting during Produce 101’s first season.
— Soompi (@soompi) January 22, 2021
According to the court, the defendants used unlawful methods to raise the rankings. This is for their agency trainees on the audition program.
To achieve this, they obtain false IDs en masse and compelling the company’s trainees and employees. This is to give their votes, thus made an impact on the rankings.
The defendants not only failed to foster a transparent, clear, and just business culture. Also, they used false options and illegal methods to sow distrust even though both planned and produced audition-style programs themselves.
The voting manipulation’s limited effect on the results
However, the voting manipulation did not affect the final selection as the court ruled that although it had a limited effect on the rankings.
The court stated that the impact of the defendants’ manipulation of votes has little impact on the agency trainees’ rankings.
Yet, it did not affect the final lineup of the idol group members. In the sentence, the court considered that the defendants acknowledged misconduct and had no records of criminal offenses in the past five years.
The case is different from the Produce voting manipulation case, including the producing director of the series, Ahn Joon Young, and the chief producer, Kim Yong Bum, sent to the Supreme Court in November 2020.
Image courtesy of Mnet Official/YouTube Screenshot