Ex-AOA leader Jimin’s bullying issue latest in FNC Entertainment’s controversies

From left: AOA’s Shin Jimin, CNBLUE’s Jonghyun and FT Island’s Choi Jong-hoon (Instagram/Facebook) 

The departure of Shin Jimin as leader and member of K-pop girl group AOA due to bullying allegations by former member Mina has given focus on their agency, FNC Entertainment. 

AOA’s issue is the latest in a string of controversies that the agency has faced since last year when two of its artists from CNBLUE and FT Island became involved in sexual controversies. 

Early last year, then Big Bang member Seungri was investigated regarding the Burning Sun club in Gangnam, Seoul after a man complained that he was assaulted by the club’s exec and security in November 2018. 

As an offshoot of the Burning Sun issue, singer Jung Joon-young was investigated after Korean media outlet SBS reported that it obtained 10-month long chat messages on Kakao wherein he uploaded sex videos to chat rooms that included Seungri, CNBLUE’s Lee Jonghyun and FT Island leader Choi Jong-hoon.

In March 2019, FNC Entertainment said Choi Jong-hoon left FT Island and retired from the entertainment industry because of the controversy and after chat messages showed that there was an alleged cover-up after he was caught driving under the influence in 2016. The messages showed that he allegedly asked a police officer to cover up the DUI incident so it would not be leaked to the media. 

Jonghyun, who admitted watching Jung Joon-young’s sex videos and making inappropriate comments about women, left CNBLUE in August 2019 after a YouTuber Park Min-jung exposed direct messages he sent to her on Instagram. 

He said that “I still would like to announce my withdrawal from CNBLUE. I also expressed my intention to leave the group in my discussion with the members since I feel sorry that they have suffered damages because of me. I feel so ashamed and embarrassed to disappoint fans who believed me,” according to Ten Asia. 

Meanwhile, Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were charged with sexually assaulting women on two occasions in January 2016 and March 2016, and distributing illegally filmed videos of women on KakaoTalk chat rooms in 2015. 

On Nov. 29 last year, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Jung Joon-young to six years in prison and Choi Jong-hoon to five years for the quasi-rape charges. Jung Joon-young was also convicted for distributing the illegal sex videos. They appealed their sentences. 

On May 12 this year, a Seoul appeals court decided in their favor. Jung Joon-young’s sentence was reduced from six to five years while Choi Jong-hoon’s jail time was lowered from five to two and a half years after submitting to the court an agreement with the victim.

FNC Entertainment is also home to K-pop groups SF9, N.Flying and Cherry Bullet, actors Jung Hae-in and Lee Dong-gun, and famous entertainer and TV host Yoo Jae-suk.