BIGBANG's Seungri Retires From Entertainment Industry
K-pop star Seungri (Lee Seunghyun) of quintet BIGBANG has announced his retirement from the entertainment industry after being booked by Seoul police as a suspect in relation to allegations of the singer supplying prostitution services. The 28-year-old took to Instagram on Monday (March 11) to announce his decision.
“At this point, I think it would be best if I retire from the entertainment industry,” he wrote, translated via Soompi. “I decided on retiring from the entertainment industry as the issues that I caused a societal disturbance with are too major. Regarding the issues that are being investigated, I will be investigated diligently and reveal all the suspicions.”
At the end of January, allegations arose regarding a Seoul club that the star managed reportedly condoning sexual assault and supplying drugged sexual partners to customers. According to Variety, the case picked up again following the emergence of text messages at the end of February. Dating back several years, they allegedly showed that Seungri and several others had discussed supplying prostitutes to potential investors for the club and other business interests of the BIGBANG member. The situation resulted in a widespread investigation into illegal activities taking place in Seoul's club scene, the Korea Herald reported.
Seungri canceled a series of concerts following the release of the messages in February, and was questioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in the middle of the month. On Sunday (March 10), Yonhap reported that he was booked on charges of supplying prostitutes after a police raid on a Seoul nightclub, Arena. He reportedly faces up to a three-year jail sentence.
“To secure a warrant for the raid aimed at addressing suspicions, we have booked Seungri as a suspect," a police officer reportedly said. Several other people are also being investigated in regard to the case.
In his post, Seungri also thanked his fans before expressing his retirement as a way of protecting his long term act and the company he started his career with in 2006, writing, "I think this is where I stop even if it’s at least [to protect] the honor of YG and BIGBANG." Seungri ended the post by apologizing and expressing his thanks.
Bloomberg reported that YG Entertainment's stock price dipped as much as 14 percent as the news surrounding Seungri escalated. The company currently also houses the likes of BLACKPINK, Winner, and iKON. Other entertainment companies in the industry, including JYP Entertainment, which features many groups such as TWICE and GOT7, and SM Entertainment, home to numerous acts including EXO and Red Velvet, also saw shares drop.
The news follows ongoing strife for the iconic K-pop group, most prominently rapper T.O.P receiving a suspended prison sentence for marijuana usage in 2017.
BIGBANG has landed two albums on the Billboard 200 in the group's career; in 2012, Alive peaked at No. 150, while Made hit No. 172 in 2016. The group also saw four albums reach the top 5 of the World Albums chart (Made spent a week at No. 1). As a soloist, Seungri has launched two albums into the top 5 of the World Albums chart, including last year's The Great SeungRi, which peaked at No. 3 on Aug. 4
Billboard has reached out to related parties for statements regarding the matter.
승리입니다 제가 이시점에서 연예계를 은퇴를하는것이 좋을거같습니다. 사회적 물의를 일으킨 사안이 너무나 커 연예계 은퇴를 결심했습니다 수사중인 사안에 있어서는 성실하게 조사를 받아 쌓인 모든 의혹을 밝히도록 하겠습니다. 지난 한달반동안 국민들로부터 질타받고 미움받고 지금 국내 모든 수사기관들이 저를 조사하고 있는 상황에서 국민역적 으로까지 몰리는 상황인데 저 하나 살자고 주변 모두에게 피해주는일은 도저히 제스스로가 용납이 안됩니다 지난 10여 년간 많은 사랑을 베풀어준 국내외 많은 팬분들께 모든 진심을 다해 감사드리며 와이지와 빅뱅 명예를 위해서라도 저는 여기까지인거같습니다 다시한번 죄송하고 또 죄송합니다 그동안 모든분들께 감사했습니다