Prosecutors have sought jail sentences for the producers of Mnet’s Produce series charges of manipulating votes.
The final trial was held on the morning of May 12 at the Seoul Central District Court. Prosecutors demanded a three-year prison term and a total of 36 million KRW (approx. 30,000 USD) in fines from producer Ahn Joon Young.
In addition, Kim Yong Bum (CP) was sentenced to three years in prison. Lee, an assistant producer, was sentenced to two years in prison, whereas five executives and employees of the agency were sentenced to one year in prison.
The prosecution said, “Despite calling the viewers the ‘national producers’ to choose the final members to make their debut, they though of manipulating the votes. They thought of the viewers as unimportant.”
They also added, “The reason why the ‘Produce’ series gained popularity is because they felt vicarious satisfaction in the fairness of the [system] that supports hard-working trainees whose ranks rise in recognition of their skills regardless of whether or not they have agencies and the sizes of these agencies.”
“Nowadays, not only do the broadcasts reflect public opinion, but also create public opinion and lead the public,” the prosecution added. “With this incident, we hope that broadcasting and media outlets never forget their responsibilities and play a good role in society.”
Meanwhile, Mnet’s Produce series is Korea’s first idol producing show directed by Ahn Joon Young. It previously created I.O.I, Wanna One and IZ*ONE.
Immediately after the end of the show, however, controversy erupted over allegations that Produce X manipulated the votes. In July, police launched a full-scale investigation into the Producer series at the request of Mnet.