Jung Joon-young retires, doesn’t quite capture the full picture.
Imagine the TRL-shattering backlash that would have occurred back in 2004 if a member of the Backstreet Boys and a guy from Good Charlotte were both brought down in the same sex tape scandal. That comes close to translating the scandal that is currently rollicking through Korea and it’s K-Pop scene, but doesn’t quite capture the full picture.
Bubbling for weeks, the scandal hit it’s crescendo this week as both Seungri, 28, a member of one of the most successful male K-Pop bands of all time, and Jung Joon-young, 30, the lead singer of a rock band, radio host, and frequent celebrity reality television participant, both announced that they would be effectively retiring from show business immediately after a scandal broke involving attempts to lure investors through the use of prostitutes and a secret group chat that involved the dissemination of photos and videos of women in sexual situations who were not aware they were being filmed. Concurrently, police are investigating the situation and the two could eventually face charges. Seungri, reportedly, will not be allowed to leave the country in the meantime.
To understand the magnitude of the scandal, however, you have to go back to the beginning of Seungri’s careers. He’s not just some member of any K-pop group, but a founding member of Big Bang, a band dubbed the “Kings of K-pop” whose popularity helped to expand the reach of South Korea’s cultural offerings beyond their borders. Indeed, Big Bang was amongst the first K-pop bands to sell out a solo arena show in America and were the first boyband from the genre to top Billboard’s World Digital Songs charts. While rapper G-Dragon would prove to be the band’s breakout member (he’d go on to collaborate with American acts like Diplo, Flo Rida, and Missy Elliot), Seungri stood out as the band’s youngest member, a strong vocalist, and a frequent choreography of the band’s early dance moves.