HIGHLIGHT's Yong Junhyung Leaves K-Pop Group Amid Ongoing Sex Crimes Investigation


Yesterday Jezebel reported on the various sex crime investigations that have overwhelmed the K-pop music industry this week: On Sunday, BIGBANG’s Senguri was booked during a police raid at a nightclub in Seoul for allegedly suppling “drug-addled” women to potential investors for paid sex. That led to charges against Korean singer-songwriter and TV personality Jung Joon Young, who plead guilty to filming women in sexual situations without their consent, and sharing those videos with others. According to Billboard, on Thursday, Yong Junhyung, rapper in the group HIGHLIGHT (formerly BEAST), is the latest idol to be effected by the investigation. He announced his exit from the band after revealing he had received explicit videos from Young.

Junhyung shared the following statement via Instagram (translation via K-Pop news site Soompi):

“In the KakaoTalk [text] messages with Jung Joon Young from late 2015 reported by the news, we drank the night before and went home, and I asked him how he is doing the next day. Jung Joon Young told me that he got caught after sending illegal video footage to someone, and I responded, “You got caught by her?” I did not receive a video at the time, but I did receive a video at a different instance. In addition, I participated in inappropriate conversations regarding it. All of these actions were very immoral, and I was foolish. I treated it as not a big deal without thinking that it is a crime and illegal act, and it is also my fault for not firmly restraining [Jung Joon Young]…
I never participated in the illegal acts of taking hidden camera footage or circulating it. In addition, I have maintained a relationship of only greeting each other once in awhile with Jung Joon Young since late 2016. However, although I knew of what was happening during that time, I thought of it as not a big deal and acted at ease. I was a silent bystander about this severe issue where several more victims may have arisen due to my actions. I am very sorry to have not been able to repay the overwhelming love and as I betrayed the trust of the members and fans who have trusted me due to this issue. I realize the severity of this matter, and I do not want any further harm to be done to my fans and members who must have been disappointed because of me, so I will leave the group Highlight as of March 14, 2019. I will live while reflecting on myself again and again. I once again apologize sincerely.”

Also on Thursday: Kang Kyung-yoon, the reporter who originally broke the Seungri news after she acquired texts from 2015 between him and prospective clients, spoke to K-Pop Herald. She reiterated that the women in the videos “had no idea about the filming and the offenders filmed and shared the videos for fun as if it were a game,” and were “considered just a means for sexual desire.” She stated that she has begun to receive “hate emails from some angry fans of Seungri,” adding, “I understand their affection for the singer. But this is a serious sex crime. There are victims and their pain will not go away anytime soon. I hope their fans also understand their pain.”

Judging by the number of K-pop idols who’ve made public statements in the last five days alone, this is just the beginning. At the very least, it’s some form of accountability—a rarity in the hyper-controlled world of K-pop, where controversy is often snuffed out before it can reach public consumption.

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