Korean singer Jung Joon Young has released a statement in which he suspends his career and admits to filming women without their consent and sharing the footage with others. It is the latest in a series of sex-oriented crime investigations that are gaining widespread attention in South Korea.
“I admit to all my crimes,” Jung said in a statement issued late Tuesday night (March 12), translated by Soompi from Korea’s Herald. “I filmed women without their consent and shared it in a social media chatroom, and while I did so I didn’t feel a great sense of guilt.”
Jung, a singer-songwriter and popular television personality in South Korea, is the second high-profile male star to release a statement in a period of two days in relation to an ongoing investigation into sex-oriented crimes. On Monday, Seungri of BIGBANG took to Instagram to announce his retirement from the Korean entertainment industry after being booked by Seoul police on suspicion of providing prostitution services to potential investors for his businesses in a widespread investigation aimed to stop sexual assault and other illicit activities taking place at Gangnam-area clubs.
Text chatrooms between Jung and Seungri, as well as others, were made public as part of the investigation and later confirmed by police. They revealed that Jung and multiple other as-yet unidentified men who are associated with the Korean entertainment industry spread footage of women in sexual situations without their knowledge.
Yonhap reports that Jung is currently under suspicion by police of having secretly recorded and sharing videos of at least 10 women he slept with between 2015 and 2016. Jung has canceled all his planned work schedules and returned to South Korea on Tuesday from the States amid the allegations. The Korea Herald reports that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency booked Jung, also on Tuesday, in relation to the spread of illegal videos. Soompi reports that several others were also booked in relation to the situation.
“More than anything, I kneel and apologize to the women who appear in the videos who have learned of this hideous truth as the incident has come to light, and to the many people who must be angry at the situation over which they cannot contain their disappointment and astonishment,” Jung said in the statement. He also used the opportunity to apologize and say he would partake in the investigation. Jung also announced a complete suspension of his work in the entertainment world.
Beginning in January, the club Burning Sun, for which Seungri served as public relations director, and multiple entities surrounding it came under investigation of “illegal narcotics use, sexual assaults and corrupt deals with police officials,” according to Yonhap. The case grew out of reports of a man being assaulted by the club’s staff and later arrested by police after allegedly trying to help stop a woman from being sexually assaulted. The man, Kim Sang-kyo, spoke with MBC’s News Desk, which aired an interview and footage related to the situation on Jan. 29, and as weeks progressed, an increasing amount of information regarding corruption and crime unfolded, leading to the investigation.
The allegations come amid not only the investigation into illicit activities in clubs and the entertainment world of South Korea, but also the widespread profiligation of and outrage over spy cameras and illicitly filmed content of women and how legal forces in South Korea approach gender violence. Last year, Seoul witnessed thousands of women protesting the widespread use of illegal spy cameras filming women in both public and private places, known as molka, and footage being shared online without their knowledge.