Idol School‘s executive producer charged with manipulating votes pleaded not guilty in court.
During the first hearing, Mnet’s executive producer Kim’s lawyer stated, “It was wrong to give ranks that were different from viewers’ evaluation. But he has no legal fault.” Kim is accused of manipulating the results of viewers’ votes in Idol School, which aired from July to September 2017.
Kim’s lawyer claimed that since Kim’s job was to rank and tally the votes, manipulating cannot be considered “obstruction of business” and that the fraud charges cannot be held against him due to legal issues.
He then added, “The viewer ratings were dismally low, and the number of votes we received was so small that there was distortion. As such situations continued, I felt pressured to save the program, and that’s why I increased the ratio of online votes. We tried to raise the viewership for the benefit of the company, so you can’t say that we disrupted the company’s business.”
One of Mnet’s directors, who was indicted along with Kim, also denied his charges, saying, “As a manager, I take responsibility for the vote/ranking manipulation. However, I don’t remember that I discussed with executive producer Kim about who we should pass or fail.”
On a side note, producer Ahn Joon Young, who was put on trial for manipulating the rankings in Produce 101, was sentenced to two years in prison in the first trial and is currently getting ready for his second trial.