Kim Geun Tae, a candidate for proportional representation of the People Party, and singer Lee Ki Kwang are confronting each other over the allegations of sajaegi, also known as chart manipulation.
On April 8, Kim Geun Tae held a press conference to raise suspicions of “chart manipulation” in the music industry, specifically pointing out Bolbbalgan4, Song Ha Yea, Lee Ki Kwang, GWSN, BADKIZ, Sohyang, Young Tak, Ali, Yoyomi and Ko Seung Hyung as singers who attempted sajaegi.
To which, Lee Ki Kwang’s agency, Around Us Entertainment, announced on April 13 that “Lee Ki Kwang decided to take legal actions against Kim Geun Tae today for defamation in connection with groundless false information that he was involved in illegal music chart manipulation.”
“Everyone, who works honorably in the current music industry, knows that sajaegi is something that must be eradicated. However, we believe that it should also be eradicated to use internet and public opinion to hastily mention the singer’s real name and to give the public the perception that such statement is true, hurting the image that the artist has built up in good faith,” they explained the reason behind the lawsuit.
They also added, “Once again, we clearly state that there was no illegal chart manipulation in connection to the artist. If we are investigated for the case, we will gladly submit all necessary data and cooperate.”
Kim Gun Tae wrote on his Facebook that he visited the Central District Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul on April 10 and submitted the ‘Request for Public Interest Investigation for a Fair Society’ and evidence to investigate Creativer, the chart manipulation group, as a defendant.
In particular, he expressed regret over Lee Ki Kwang’s stance to take a legal action, saying, “I want to make it clear that the essence of this issue lies in the unjust actions of illegal chart manipulators,” and added, “If Lee Ki Kwang has never taken part in such illegal marketing, he has a clear responsibility to vindicate himself.”
Highlight’s fandom was also enraged. They wrote, “Kim Geun Tae, a candidate for proportional representation of the People Party, made a public statement that Lee Ki Kwang is involved in the illegal chart manipulation, which is false and groundless.” They went on to say, “The People Party should correct the false information they spread as soon as possible if it is not a show created for the sake of hot issue ahead of the general elections to minimize the damage being done to the innocent artist. They also need to restore any damages done by their false statement.” Then they finished by saying, “We will not tolerate the operation of injustice. We strongly urge the People Party to carry out the obligations with responsibility for what they started,” calling out for a responsible attitude to the People Party for their ‘sajaegi remarks.’