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8 Worst Kpop Scandals In History

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

The Burning Sun Scandal. Car accidents and many more.

Idols go through multiple scandals during their career. It’s only a given that the Kpop idols will fall into the hole of scandals.

But what are the worst Kpop scandals out there?

It took me exactly 43 hours to research all these Kpop scandals and put them into a list.

Let’s get started.

8 Worst Kpop Scandals in History

1. Burning Sun Scandal

BIGBANG’s former member Seungri got himself into one of the biggest Kpop scandals to ever exist. It started on January 28th, 2019.

A video went around of a guy getting beat at the Burning Sun club. This video was recorded from a CCTV camera, whereas the guy in question said he was beaten by the security guards.

However, since he couldn’t prove it. He was taken to the police station, while all of this was happening it started to garner attention.

More and more people started looking into this case, and that’s when it all went wrong.

Because of all the attention it got, the police started investigating the case, and while digging deeper and deeper it looked like there was a whole operation behind it.

This is where Seungri, Joon Young, and multiple celebrities got involved. [1]

Even though it looked like they were just guests there, it actually wasn’t. From leaked text messages, which showed professionally operated escort services it escalated extremely quickly.

All of this, still happening in 2019.

Fast forward to March 3rd, 2019. The CEO of the infamous club “Burning Sun” admitted to have accepted bribery.

It was mentioned that he has been paying different police officers to keep it on the “low”. Considering the Kpop stars involved, it looked like this case was going to be one of the biggest scandals to ever exist. 

And you can probably guess what happened…

Everything got released, and it started to gain international coverage. This is when the whole world was watching Korea.

From multiple celebrities to running a professionally operated escort service, all within the “Burning Sun”. It looked like the people involved were all high-rankings, meaning people that have a lot of power and money.

On January 27th, 2020 the case started picking up some progress. Multiple employees were sentenced to jail, for drug trafficking, and more.

Seungri was accused of using the prostitutes for himself and trafficking them to other high-ranked people. Now, this is when it gets twisted for most people because Seungri was not directly involved with all the allegations.

That’s why the court appealed his sentence from 3-years to 1-year and 6 months. [2]

2. AOA: Bullying Jimin

September 9th, 2021.

Dispatch reveals the entire story behind the AOA bullying scandal. It’s a 128-minute chat history between the AOA members and what was happening. [3]

Now, people have said that the bullying has been happening for more than 10-years. Even though there’s no direct proof this is true, most people tend to believe it.

Let’s dive deeper into the story.

If you look back at July 2020. This was where AOA Mina has accused the initial bullying accusations.

Of course, Jimin denied those accusations and that’s when it started to get a lot of attention. Almost every citizen in South Korea knew about it.

Even though there was no direct proof that they were harming each other, it still looked like the country sided with Jimin. Considering the leaked text messages, it’s understandable that this has happened.

Later on, they both agreed to apologize to each other, and they both “kinda” accepted the apology. 

Ever since the scandal, Jimin has returned to Social Media. It’s been 18-months and for the first time, the hate has calmed down.

3. APRIL: Bullying Lee Hyunjoo

The bullying of Lee Hyunjoo.

It started on February 2021. A former DSP Media group started talking about the allegations within APRIL.

While this was happening almost no one knew about this.

There was no news around APRIL, only until someone mentioned this. The agency also didn’t know about this, so they started looking into it. And this is a huge deal for a group like APRIL, they have been around for many years.

Almost everyone in South Korea knew about this group, which sparked even more controversy. The agency in question released a statement about the bullying. And it indeed did happen.

Fast forward to March 2021.

Another member from UNI.T spoke up about the former member Lee Hyun Joo, and of course… you’ve probably guessed it.

It sparked even more attention from the outside world. It’s another Kpop idol getting bullied, but it’s not something that should be taken lightly. Especially, since it has real consequences.

More people from other Kpop groups started speaking up for Lee Hyunjoo. 

It went so far that APRIL Naeun had to drop out of an upcoming SBS drama called “Taxi Driver”. That’s how big it has gotten, she basically got replaced by another actress.

As of February 2022, the official police has dropped all allegations. 

4. BIGBANG: Daesung’s Car Accident

One of the lead singers of BIGBANG a well-known group under YG Entertainment got himself into a car accident.

Daesung drove the car himself and went as fast as 50 miles per hour, but it was only allowed to 40 miles per hour. And this is where it went wrong.

It was a huge scandal looking back. The whole country was talking about Deasung and it’s important to mention that BIGBANG was already extremely famous back then.

It could have ruined his whole career, but luckily it didn’t.

Considering the amount of hate he got, it was extremely hard to deal with. Now, of course, idols are known to be young, rich and famous.

So it’s inevitable that they drive western cars. 

It didn’t affect his career significantly, but whenever there’s a Kpop scandal it gets brought up. So it does follow him, even after 10+ years of happening.

The victim, in this case, was found dead on May 31st, 2011.

With so many people in South Korea and many rising idols, YG Entertainment has officially banned idols from driving themselves.

It’s been known for a long time now that idols are not allowed to drive. Now it’s not known if this is the case because of the scandal, or it’s just a rule out of protection.

5. Red Velvet: Wendy’s Injury at SBS

Red Velvet’s Wendy was rehearsing at SBS Gayo Daejon 2019.

She practiced a few times and the staff told her that the stairs were still there. When she rehearsed again… you’ve guessed it.

They weren’t

Wendy fell down and got injured. The fall was from a height of 2 meters, which could cause a lot of problems.

Think about it from her perspective. Her whole career could have been ruined because of this small mistake. Luckily, she recovered. However, as you can see rehearsing can be very scary. Even if you think everything is fine, there’s still a very small chance it can go wrong.

This doesn’t happen very often, but there were more cases like this.

Some of them just haven’t gotten to light. That’s why Wendy’s scandal was so big, mainly because she’s a huge star and she couldn’t do anything about it.

When you can’t do anything about it, it gets even scarier. So, make sure that your idols are always safe when they’re performing.

Look out for them, and make sure the staff checks up on them multiple times a night.

6. YG: Yang Hyun Suk’s Gambling Scandal

Yang Hyun Suk’s gambling scandal was huge back in 2020. The CEO of YG Entertainment got himself into huge trouble.

He flew to Las Vegas several times to gamble, and this was all happening between 2015 and 2019. 

You might not know it already, but gambling in Korea is illegal, unlike the United States there are very strict rules against gambling in Korea.

This could be one of the reasons why Yang Hyun Suk wanted to try something new. According to Soompi he gambled with four other individuals for an estimated amount of $335,000. [4]

It’s a huge amount of money, even for a CEO that’s not a small amount.

Idols earn a very average salary in the early days of their career, and the amount that he gambled with was multiple times that.

Now fast-forward to now he’s fined quite a big amount of money and is still being investigated.

7. IKON: BI Drug Scandal

IKON’s former member BI was sentenced to four years of probation.

The reason being?

Purchasing marijuana in 2016. This was a huge Kpop scandal back then, and ever since he has gone solo.

He wasn’t sent to jail, mainly because he “wanted” to use drugs but he didn’t.

That’s why the public was so harsh on him. An idol using these kinds of illegal substances sets a very bad example for their fans.

Even though he didn’t use it, he still left IKON.

Because being attached to a drug dealer is and was still a bad reputation to the group. Considering that he didn’t actually smoke marijuana we personally think that he shouldn’t have left IKON.

He was the leader and center of the group, which was a huge bummer. However, he has been releasing music again and is getting back on track.

So, the fans should keep supporting Kim Han Bin no matter what. The entertainment industry is sometimes too harsh on idols, while they don’t even have their own life together.

8. BLACKPINK: Jennie’s Laziness

There has been a video going around of Jennie’s laziness. This was huge on Korean SNS (social media).

Thousands of people commented that she should do a better job and not take down the whole group. But behind the scenes, it was never like this.

No one knew about Jennie’s problem and what actually happened.

The people just hated her for no particular reason… just to hate basically. But it all turned around when Jennie revealed that she had an ankle injury.

This was the reason why she couldn’t dance as well as she’d liked to. 

As you can see… only because of one video going around it has become a huge scandal ever since. And if you think about it, she couldn’t stop the hate.

Even to this day she’s still getting hate for no reason. Looking back the K-netizens shouldn’t have been so harsh on her without knowing the full story.

That’s why as fans we should never take any conclusions without knowing the full story.

What Are Kpop Scandals?

Kpop scandals happen from time to time. These are outrageous behaviors that idols are involved in. These scandals could be anything from sexual violence, smoking or swearing.

These days Korean society is less prone to blowing it out of proportion. Even though there are still cases where many fans get upset whenever an idol gets into a scandal.

A very famous example of this is “dating”.

Dating for idols is very uncommon, mainly because they have to maintain their image of being an idol. Now in this case we’re talking about Jennie form BLACKPINK where she dated Kai from EXO.

This dating scandal blew up and they got a lot of hate from it. Especially, in the early days where people weren’t used to it.

Now, luckily it has gotten better over the years, and idols have 

Why Are Kpop Scandals blown out of proportion

Kpop scandals are mostly blown out of proportion because the fans idolize the idols.

This is where fans get overprotective and think the idols are their friends, while in reality… they aren’t. So make sure that you know the difference between Kpop idols and your friends.

There should always be a fine line between those groups.

However, there are times where fans get too protective of their idols, and every little thing that happens get’s huge attention.

It gets shared on multiple social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. That’s why it’s important that the idols make it clear that they’re idols.

Supporting the idols is no problem, but don’t think they’re your friends, family or even close. That’s just the truth, and when a scandal happens most fans lose their mind.

They think that the idols will disappear and won’t be able to perform, while in reality, it’s actually not bad (in most cases).

Are All Kpop Scandals True?

No, not all Kpop scandals are true. 

There are tons and tons of rumors going around every single day.

Not all scandals are true, however, when a famous company like Dispatch releases a scandal.

It’s most likely that it is actually true. Now, the majority of the time it needs to be confirmed by the idols agency/company. But if you look at the history of Dispatch almost all of the scandals they specifically released were all true.

But because there are tens of different news outlets in Korea, it’s hard to believe which ones are actually true. That’s why you shouldn’t believe any scandal unless it has been confirmed by a reliable source.

Like the idols themselves or the agency, they signed with.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the 11 Kpop scandals, which one do you think is the worst. All Kpop idols will be at least once in a scandal throughout their career or at least relate to it.

There’s not much they can do, mainly because they’re idols themselves. The spotlight will always be on them and it’s the life they’ve signed up for.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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