2022 has been monumental for K-pop, with groups reaching new heights and putting South Korea on the map, and BTS is leading this wave.
While K-pop is experiencing significant levels of success at present, many disturbing things are happening behind the scenes. Scandals in the K-pop industry are not rare, with BIGBANG's Seungri's Burning Sun controversy being one of the most high-profile cases ever to come out of K-pop.
2022 has seen its fair share of controversies in the K-pop industry.
3 K-pop scandals in 2022 that shocked the world
1) Mingyu's supposed pro-conservatism stance
SEVENTEEN's Mingyu was embroiled in a political scandal in 2022 when he uploaded a picture of himself wearing a red hoodie on his Instagram. This would not have been a problem if it didn't happen immediately after the Conservative Party came to power in South Korea, dethroning the rule of the Democratic Party by a very close margin.
Red is the color of the Conservative party, and their ballot number is two. Many K-pop idols also avoided showing the peace sign since that could be mistaken for their support for the Conservative Party.
At this time, uploading an old picture of him wearing red was seen as him supporting the Conservatives, causing K-netizens to lash out. Although he later deleted the picture, the damage to his reputation was done.
2) Kim Garam's alleged acts of school violence
LE SSERAFIM has been embroiled in scandals since its debut, and one of the main reasons is its member Kim Garam. Garam has been accused of being a bully in school by her fellow school-mates. It has been revealed that she has had a history of school violence, for which she also received disciplinary action.
Source Music denied these allegations and threatened to pursue legal action against the accusers, however, Garam's accusers refused to back down, making K-netizens believe there must be some truth to the scandal. Apart from bullying, she has also been accused of being an underage smoker, drinker, and gang member.
She is currently on hiatus to focus on her mental well-being, but it hasn't been clarified how long she will be stepping away from the group. School bullying allegations are taken very seriously in South Korea, and it often results in the member being removed from the group, as was seen in the case of Soojin from (G)I-DLE.
3) QUEENDOM 2 being rigged
One of the most prominent controversies of 2022 was the votes on QUEENDOM 2 being rigged. QUEENDOM is a Mnet survival show where female K-pop idols and soloists participate to win the hearts of fans. Mnet has had a history of rigging votes, which goes back to their first idol survival show, Produce 101.
In recent years, they have been getting a lot of flak for manipulating and rigging the rankings of the idol and have had to pay a hefty fine for the same as well. So it did not come as a surprise when K-netizens found discrepancies in the rankings of the final result on QUEENDOM 2.
K-netizens believe that if Spotify's total digital performance rankings were considered, the first place would belong to LOONA instead of WSJN. The rankings would look drastically different, with LOONA in the first place, VIVIZ second, and WSJN a distant third.
Fans believed that Mnet discriminated against LOONA from the start since the group could not participate in the first round of the competition due to a Covid-19 diagnosis. Mnet released a clarification statement, however, not many were satisfied with the answers, and the controversy remains unresolved.
Scandals can ruin a K-pop group's reputation and an idol's career. Sometimes these scandals are fake, made up by anti-fans to stir up controversy. However, in the age of technology, this excuse is also used to bury the misdeeds of idols.