Korean pop stars Jung Joon-Young and Choi Jong-Hoon were sentenced to six and five years in prison, respectively, after a South Korean court found them guilty Friday of gang-raping unconscious and drunk women.
Joon-Young was also found guilty of filming the crimes and distributing the footage in a group chat, which allegedly included other K-pop stars.
According to the Washington Post, this is the latest scandal to rock the K-pop industry, a lucrative music genre that rose to global fame for its clean image pop and feel-good vibes, but the numerous k-pop stars have also become ensnared in sexual violence and abuse scandals that have shocked their heavily-female dominated audiences.
Judge Kang Seong-Soo told the court Friday that Jung’s victims were “drunk and unable to resist” and that he “filmed them nude and having sex and then spread it on a group chat.” The judge also added, “We can’t imagine the pain the victims might have felt who found out later.”
Jung and Choi, both 30, are also banned from working with minors and must undergo 80 hours of anti-sexual violence training.
Both men have denied the rape charges and insisted that any sex with the alleged victims was always consensual.
The scandal, known as “The Burning Sun” scandal in the Korean media, is named after a Gangnam nightclub controlled by another K-pop star Seungri of the group “Big Bang.”
The crimes were uncovered after chat-group messages emerged online. The messages appeared to show up to 10 k-pop stars involved in bribery, violence against customers, procuring prostitutes for VIPs, Rape, drug trafficking, and drug use, according to the Seoul police. Seungri is also accused of illegal gambling.
The judge said that Jung and Choi treated their victims as “sexual objects” to be exploited and that the two men “should assume social responsibility in proportion to their fame and wealth.”