Shocking K-entertainment moments

The Korean entertainment industry is no stranger to scandals and appalling revelations. Here are 16 of the most shocking K-entertainment moments that will leave you shook. 

1. Jinni leaving NMIXX

Shocking K-entertainment moments - NMIXX Jinni
Image credit: @nmixx_official via Instagram 

It was supposed to be just another Friday on December 9th, until fans of NMIXX were greeted by a sudden announcement by JYP Entertainment that member Jinni of NMIXX would be terminating her contract and leaving the group.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - NMIXX Jinni
Image credit: @nmixx_official via Instagram 

This announcement seemingly came out of nowhere as it had only been less than a year since NMIXX debuted, and they just had a comeback recently as well. Jinni had also participated in many of their promotions and activities prior to this announcement, and that’s not typically how members who are about to leave their groups were treated.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - NMIXX Jinni
Image credit: @nmixx_official via Instagram 

Lastly, fans pointed out that Jinni had also trained for 6 years prior to debuting, and she had repeatedly expressed her desire to try hard to fulfil her idol dreams. So, this sudden announcement to leave NMIXX was strange to say the least. 

JYP’s had made their stance clear that they would not reveal the reason behind members’ leaving groups to protect their future careers, so we will never know the truth unless Jinni herself reveals it.

2. Chuu’s removal from LOONA for “abuse”

Shocking K-entertainment moments - LOONA Chuu
Image credit: @loonatheworld via Instagram 

Chuu’s removal from LOONA was not a surprise, as Blockberry Creative’s (BBC) antics regarding Chuu the past year had fans wishing that the idol could be freed from her negative treatment. While her sudden removal is shocking enough, it was BBC’s statement that was the real shocker.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - LOONA Chuu
Image credit: @chuuo3o via Instagram 

BBC’s announcement cited verbal abuse of staff as a reason for Chuu’s removal, which made fans concerned and outraged. While we have learnt from past K-Entertainment scandals that things might not always be as they seem, the thought of Chuu, arguably one of the sweetest idols out there, being abusive, is atrocious to say the least.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - LOONA Chuu
Image credit: @chuuo3o via Instagram 

The benefit of doubt for BBC was further diminished as many brands Chuu had worked with, as well as staff of BBC, came out in droves to express support for Chuu on social media. The common thread amongst all the support for Chuu was that she was the sweetest person in the room and would always keep the needs of the staff above her own.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Hyunjin LOONA
Image credit: @loonatheworld via Instagram 

The LOONA members were also seemingly taken back by the statement BBC issued. Most notably, Hyunjin sent unabashed messages on Fab, a paid social media messaging app, citing how her heart hurts and implying that it was due to the announcement. Other members Gowon and Yeojin have also implied support for Chuu during separate fan calls.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - LOONA Chuu
Image credit: @chuuo3o via Instagram 

In this instance, it is heartening to see fans of LOONA all rallying to support their idol and calling out BBC’s statement regarding her removal. The bright side is that Chuu has now signed with a new company, BY4M Entertainment. 

9 other members of LOONA have also reportedly filed for injunction against BBC to have their contracts terminated. BBC has denied the news. Fans also rallied to boycott LOONA’s comeback in January 2023 to let BBC know their frustrations with the mistreatment of Chuu and the group.

For more context on Chuu and BBC, check out our video here.

3. Ravn gaslighting accusations

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Ravn ONEUS
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

Fans of ONEUS were surprised one October morning when they found out that member Ravn was accused of gaslighting and cheating, much like Lucas was a few years ago.

Tales of his exploitation were posted online by a supposed ex-girlfriend, who detailed how they got together. She also talked about the things they did together, such as getting her to pay for things because he didn’t want to get caught, and how he also had another girlfriend at the time.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Ravn ONEUS
Image credit: @official_oneus via Instagram 

In response, his company, RBW Entertainment, said they would be looking into the matter, and Ravn, not wanting to implicate his members, voluntarily left ONEUS.

4. Hyuna & DAWN’s breakup

Shocking K-entertainment moments - hyuna and dawn
Image credit: @pnation.official via Instagram 

In 2018, fans of Hyuna and Pentagon were shocked when Cube Entertainment announced that Hyuna and then-named Edawn had their contracts terminated. Even the idols themselves found out about their termination through the media announcement.

Following that, Hyuna and DAWN paved their own way in K-pop, and became the first idols to not only openly date, but promote together, fighting the stigma of idols having a relationship and happiness. They were arguably the biggest power couple in the K-pop industry and stood as the bastion of hope for fans that true love still exists.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - hyuna
Image credit: @hyunah_aa via Instagram 

However, on November 30th, Hyuna shocked fans everywhere when she announced on Instagram that she and DAWN had broken up. This news was considered even more sudden given the fact that they had just announced their engagement earlier in the year.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Hyuna and Dawn
Image credit: @hyojong_1994 via Instagram 

But even after the breakup, they remain as good friends and supportive of each other. DAWN had come out to threaten legal action against one anti-fan who fabricated lies about their breakup, showing that he will always have Hyuna’s backs.

5. Garam bullying and removal from Le Sserafim

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Le Sseraffim Garam
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

When Garam was announced as a member of Le Sserafim, what was supposed to be hype from fans suddenly turned sour when people allegedly from her past came out with proof to accuse her of being a bully and of engaging in delinquent behaviour during her middle school days.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Le Sseraffim Garam during her high school days
Image adapted from: theqoo

According to the allegations, Garam cursed and swore at juniors constantly. She would also block off paths when she was filming Tiktok videos. 

These accusations were uploaded with photos of Garam posing in front of a blackboard filled with drawings of genitalia, and Garam holding a cigarette, and more, as “proof”.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Le Sseraffim Garam
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

When the allegations first came out, HYBE stated that they would not remove Garam from LE Sserafim, and that they would conduct their own thorough investigation. However, they eventually went back on that statement and removed her from the group shortly after, making Kim Garam’s career as a K-pop idol the shortest ever at only 18 days.

6. V and Jennie dating

Shocking K-entertainment moments - BTS V and Blackpink Jennie
Image credit: @dailyfashion_news via Instagram 

During the Garam bullying situation, another HYBE artist was embroiled in another shocking scandal. A photo was posted on social media that allegedly showed BTS’ V and BlackPink’s Jennie in a car on a date in Jeju.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - BTS V
Image credit: @thv via Instagram 

Jennie and V had also recently visited Jeju, lending credibility to this allegation. It also did not help that HYBE stayed silent on this matter, and YG Entertainment’s statement was that they had no statement. 

Shocking K-entertainment moments - blackpink Jennie
Image credit: @jennierubyjane via Instagram 

Many more photos of Jennie and V in various scenarios, such as being in a salon together or taking a mirror selfie, we uploaded. However, many fans debated whether those photos were faked. 

There were also other fans who argued that this piece of news was purposely fabricated to distract the public from the Kim Garam bullying case that was happening at the time.

7. Mashiro and Yedam leaving TREASURE

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Yedam and Mashiro from TREASURE
Image adapted from: @yg_treasure_official via Instagram, @yg_treasure_official via Instagram 

Back in May 2022, YG announced that Yedam and Mashiro would be taking a hiatus from TREASURE activities, to the chagrin of fans. 

They said that Yedam would be studying music to improve his production skills, while Mashiro would be taking time to recover and spend time with his family.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Yedam and Mashiro from TREASURE
Image adapted from: @yg_treasure_official via Instagram, @yg_treasure_official via Instagram 

However, in November, YG made another announcement that Yedam and Mashiro would be leaving TREASURE and have their contracts terminated, citing that they wished to support them in their desired endeavours. 

While fans of TREASURE may not have been pleased that their favourite group won’t have their original lineup, they are supportive of the two members in pursuing their dreams and taking care of themselves.

8. Song Ji-A and her fakes

Shocking K-entertainment moments - song jia from single's inferno
Image credit: @dear.zia via Instagram 

Coming hot off her Single’s Inferno appearance, it seemed as though Song Ji-A was ready to take over the world. However, some hawk-eyed netizens noticed something strange about her clothing and did some digging, only to find that the branded clothes Song Ji-A wore in her Instagram posts and on Single’s Inferno were fakes.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - song jia from single's inferno
Image adapted from: Netflix

The most striking example was this Chanel top, where netizens found differences in the logo between what she wore and what was on the original. Her wearing fake goods contradicted the luxurious image that she was known for, as well as her aspirations of owning her own fashion brand. 

Because of this controversy, she deleted all her videos from her Youtube channel and took a social media hiatus, and only returned recently.

9. Lee Seung Gi & HOOK

Shocking K-entertainment moments - lee seung gi
Image credit: Namu Wiki

Being one of the most well-known names in the Korean entertainment industry, Lee Seung Gi has experienced his fair share of astronomical success, thanks to his talent and hard work as a singer and personality. 

It was hence a rude shock for everyone when Dispatch released the results of their investigation revealing that Lee Seung Gi, whose singing career spanned a successful 18 years, had been paid KRW0 for all his years of work.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - lee seung gi
Image credit: @leeseunggi.official via Instagram 

Dispatch also revealed the full extent of psychological gaslighting he had been subjected to, where staff and executives called him a “minus singer” and said his singing career was not profitable. He was also made to pay for his own expenses such as food and parking, as the CEO of HOOK made the manager ensure that Lee Seung Gi did not use the company card.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - lee seunggi
Image credit: @leeseunggi.official via Instagram 

In the end, we can be thankful that a slip-up from an employee, whom Lee accidentally received the tally of how much profit his album had generated, as well as the investigation into HOOK by the police, were able to bring this abuse to light.

10. OMEGA X being abused by their company

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

When a fan tweeted about their experience seeing OMEGA X members getting berated by someone outside an airport, no one was ready for the expose on the extent of abuse that the group has had to face that would unravel in the following days.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

The abusive behaviour was corroborated by another fan whose mother saw them get screamed at at the airport in South America, prompting suspicion that OMEGA X was not being treated well.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X
Image credit: @omegax_official via Instagram 

As these accounts made their rounds around the Internet thanks to Twitter, SPIRE Entertainment came out to say that the screaming incident was of a disagreement that got out of hand.

The OMEGA X members then finally spoke out on the abuse they had been receiving from SPIRE Entertainment’s CEO, such as being forced to drink alcohol, being groped by the CEO herself or having to reply instantly to her messages at any time of the day or face punishment.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

As more footage of OMEGA X’s abuse were released, outraged fans were further incensed when they found out that OMEGA X were forced to fund their own plane tickets home after SPIRE stranded them in the US after their tour. Some members, who could not buy their tickets, even had to beg their parents for money.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X's Yechan
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

The SPIRE Entertainment CEO was also found to have had a known crush on the maknae of the group, Yechan, while he was still underage.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - OMEGA X
Image credit: @omega_x__for_x via Instagram 

OMEGA X has since filed for termination of their contract and their IPs. They also had to receive treatment for what they had gone through, as many members developed panic disorders as a result of the abuse. As of January 2023, the group has successfully suspended their contracts with SPIRE Entertainment.

11. CLC disbandment notice

Shocking K-entertainment moments - CLC disbandment
Image credit: @cube_clc_official via Instagram 

CLC was a girl group that made waves with their girl crush concept and forced their way into our playlists with legendary hit songs such as Hobgoblin and No. Unfortunately, despite these successes, Cube was very obviously not providing them with the opportunities and support these girls needed to succeed even further.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - CLC Yujin
Image credit: @official.kep1er via Instagram 

While CLC’s fans have been living in resentment for this unfair treatment since 2020, it still broke everyone’s hearts when member Yujin said in an interview during Girls Planet 999 that Cube had told the members that they would no longer provide them with any more activities, effectively disbanding them.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - CLC Elkie
Image credit: @cube_clc_official via Instagram 

Cube had made this intention known as early as 2021, when member Elkie had also filed for termination shortly after releasing Helicopter.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - CLC Sorn, Yeeun, and Seungyeon
Image adapted from: @cube_clc_official via Instagram, @cube_clc_official via Instagram, @cube_clc_official via Instagram 

Other CLC members such as Sorn, Yeeun, and Seungyeon, had taken their turns leaving Cube as their contracts expired, prior to the disbandment announcement. 

With so many years of neglect, Cube’s announcement of the disbandment of CLC came as a relief to fans everywhere. 

Shocking K-entertainment moments - CLC
Image credit: @cube_clc_official via Instagram 

But instead of a proper disbandment acknowledgement, the event was just a footnote on another announcement that the CLC fan cafe, CLC U CUBE, would be going offline. 

This lackadaisical attitude towards CLC shocked fans who were already jaded at how CLC was treated. 

12. Park Min Young dated Kang Jong Hyun

Shocking K-entertainment moments - park min young
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

During filming for Park Min Young’s K-drama, Love In Contract, Dispatch revealed that actress was dating Kang Jong Hyun, a businessman who has a sketchy history.

Kang Jong Hyun, said Dispatch, had been convicted of fraud twice, and seemingly came out of nowhere with the funds to acquire 3 companies amongst a myriad of shady business deals and moves.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Bithumb
Image credit: bithumb

One of the companies Kang supposedly owned was Bithumb, a Korean cryptocurrency exchange company, which was suspected of embezzlement. In relation to these charges, Park’s company, HOOK entertainment, was raided too. 

This was also the catalyst that led to Lee Seung Gi asking for his accounting history and unravelling HOOK’s abuse.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - park min young
Image credit: @rachel_mypark via Instagram 

In response to the dating rumours, HOOK simply announced that Park Min Young and Kang Jong Hyun had dated but had broken up.

13. Kim Sae Ron crashing into transformer on DUI

Shocking K-entertainment moments - kim sae ron
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

Driving under the influence of alcohol is, unfortunately, still a social plague in Korea today. K-entertainment fans are also sadly no stranger to idols committing this dangerous crime. 

Shocking K-entertainment moments - kim sae ron
Image credit: @ron_sae via Instagram 

However in May 2022, actress Kim Sae Ron was arrested for possibly one of the worst DUI cases that year. 

Multiple police reports were made about a car swerving dangerously on the road. It was also revealed that the car, which was driven by Kim Sae Ron, had crashed into an electric transformer and led to a blackout in Gangnam. She had also supposedly refused a breathalyser test and requested a blood test when she was apprehended.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - kim saeron
Image credit: @ron_sae via Instagram 

The actress and her agency have since come out with apologies and she had promised to compensate for the damages she had caused. She’s estimated to owe at least KRW20 million (~USD15,900 at the time of the incident) in damages.

14. Worker dies at PSY Summer Swag 2022

Shocking K-entertainment moments - PSY Summer Swag 2022
Image adapted from: @42psy42 via Instagram 

On top of being known for the song that first brought K-pop to the world, the Gangnam Style singer and the owner of P Nation, PSY, is also known for his show-stopping performances and concerts where he goes full out in an effort to entertain.

One of his most anticipated concerts was his annual Summer Swag concert, which was finally allowed to happen in July 2022 as COVID restrictions eased. 

Shocking K-entertainment moments - PSY Summer Swag 2022
Image credit: @42psy42 via Instagram 

However, this Summer Swag concert faced much backlash, especially since it required around 300 tons of drinkable water as part of the performance. Given that the concert took place during a drought in Korea, backlash was inevitable.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - PSY Summer Swag 2022 stage
Image credit: @42psy42 via Instagram 

It only got worse for PSY and Summer Swag when it was later reported that a Mongolian construction worker fell to his death while dismantling the concert stage during rainy weather. 

15. Soyeon disses MAMA

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Soyeon of (G)I-dle
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

Soyeon of (G)I-dle is no stranger to being an absolute savage. From scolding the evaluating audience in My Teenage Girl to calling out haters through her music, Soyeon makes waves with everything that she does.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - Soyeon of (G)I-dle
Image credit: @tiny.pretty.j via Instagram 

However, Soyeon’s savagery would join the ranks of legends at MAMA 2022. During her rap verse for their performance of My Bag, Soyeon called out MAMA for giving out “made-up awards”. Her verse goes as follows:

“What award will you give us this year, MAMA?
You know who we are the syndrome of the year.
We reject specially made awards.”

Many netizens compared her diss to G-Dragon’s, as the rapper did something similar back in 2014. Jin also called out chart-manipulation behaviour during BTS’s acceptance speech in MAMA 2018 as well. With this rap, Soyeon cemented her status of being one of the K-pop legends of her era.

16. BTS’s enlistment announcement

Shocking K-entertainment moments - BTS
Image credit: @bts.bighitofficial via Instagram 

BTS has contributed immensely to the global popularity of K-pop, spreading word of Korean culture and helping the South Korean economy. So, it comes as no surprise that their enlistment had been a hotly debated issue for years.

Having to enlist means prolonged periods of time without full group activities, which could lead to dwindling interest in the group. It also presents as a loss of profit for South Korea and their company, HYBE.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - BTS enlistment notice
Image credit: Bighit Music

After years of debating if BTS should enlist or be exempted from mandatory military service, HYBE announced on Weverse that BTS would be serving their duty as male citizens of South Korea. 

While the boys have made their intentions to serve clear for many years now, fans were still understandably shocked at having to deal with their idols entering the military.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - BTS Jin enlisting
Image credit: Weverse

Around the same time as HYBE’s announcement, Jin also withdrew his request for extension and enlisted on 13th December, 2022. In an endearing last gift to him, fans abided by his and HYBE’s wishes to not show up at the enlistment camp.

Bonus: 2nd generation K-pop groups

Shocking K-entertainment moments - KARA
Image credit: Namu Wiki 

While there have been many shocking things that happened in K-Entertainment in 2022 that shook us, we have to give a nod to some pleasant surprises that happened as well.

Shocking K-entertainment moments - KARA comeback
Image credit: @gyuri_88 via Instagram 

Many legendary 2nd generation K-pop groups returned to the K-pop scene in 2022, to the delight of fans everywhere. KARA came back with the amazing hit, When I Move, delighting old fans and gaining new ones. 

Many fans also got to relive their childhood times during MAMA 2022 as KARA took over the stage and delivered one of the best shows of the night.

Shocking K-entertainment moments that left us shook

While it’s easy to have on rose-tinted glasses when we look at the glitzy and glamorous K-entertainment industry, we shouldn’t forget that these celebrities are also human, like us. And just because they are much more scrutinised, any news of a scandal can come as a shock. We hope that by looking back on these moments, the industry and its stars can learn from these mistakes so history will not repeat itself. 

On a more positive note, check out these 9 Korean celebrity success stories, 14 Boys Planet contestants with industry experience, and 20 K-Pop idol reality shows.

Cover image adapted from: @dear.zia via Instagram, @thv via Instagram, @hyunah_aa via Instagram

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