Popularity comes at a price, and K-pop scandals are one result of the attention and limelight enjoyed by K-pop idols. K-pop is becoming one of the biggest music genres in the industry, and inasmuch, has millions of fans.
The K-pop scandals of 2021 shocked the entire fandom. From Soojin leaving (G)I-dle to BIGBANG Seungri’s imprisonment, many cases left everyone with their jaws on the floor.
Respective measures were taken against the offenders, while on the other hand, many were proven innocent. In a nutshell, 2021 was a difficult year for K-pop enthusiasts, music agencies, and many K-pop idols.
Here is a list of the 5 biggest K-pop scandals of 2021 that shocked the K-pop fandom.
5 Biggest K-pop scandals of 2021
1) BIGBANG Seungri's imprisonment
A member of the popular boy band BIGBANG, Seungri was sentenced to three years in prison in August 2021 for his primary role in the Burning Sun Scandal, which created havoc across the nation.
The singer was inducted with nine charges in military court, including embezzlement, violation of specific economic crimes, and violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions act, though he denied all charges except for violations of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act.
For his transgressions, he was charged with a fine of 1.5 billion won. Undoubtedly, the case is the biggest K-pop scandal of 2021.
2) Soojin leaving (G)I-DLE
(G)I-DLE member Soojin became a trending topic in February 2021 when online posts allegedly confirmed that she had bullied other students in school. The singer went on a hiatus in March. However, the matter worsened when actress Seo Shin Ae shared that Soojin had bullied her during school.
Months later in August, Cube Entertainment officially announced that Soojin would be leaving (G)I-DLE. They apologized for the concerns that the controversy spurred and later confirmed that (G)I-DLE will act as a five-member group henceforward.
3) Kris Wu arrested over r*pe allegations
In August 2021, Global Times, an English-language newspaper (People's Daily), reported that Chinese-Canadian star Kris Wu has been arrested over the accusation of r*pe. Kris Wu Yi Fan made his official debut as a K-pop idol with EXO in 2012 under SM Entertainment. Though he parted ways with the agency in 2014, his contract is valid till 2022.
Kris Wu was detailed by the Chinese police force after 19-year-old student Du Meizhu accused him of s*xually abusing her and others, including minors.
The artist has denied all the allegations. However, his career went downhill after his detainment, and he was also sidelined out of future projects and deals. It became one of the most shocking K-pop scandals of the year.
4) Stray Kid's Hyunjin accused of school violence
Another K-pop scandal in 2021 that shook the K-pop audience emerged in February 2021. Stray Kid's Hyunjin was accused of school bullying and verbally accusing his classmates during middle school.
In February 2021, multiple comments started popping online critising Hyunjin for his actions in the past, and how the netizens could not believe that he would become a celebrity. The main victim, called A, wrote online that Hwang Hyun Jin tried to outcast him through verbal abuse.
As a result, JYP Entertainment made Hyunjin sit out of all Stray Kids activities before his return in July after completing volunteer work. Out of all the K-pop scandals, it has become the one to receive the most support from fans.
5) SEVENTEEN's Mingyu accused of bullying
Like Stray Kids' Hyunjin, SEVENTEEN's Mingyu was accused of being a bully in school. In February 2021, several posts started popping online claiming that Mingyu had participated in school bullying and s*xually harassing a victim in the past.
While most of the claims, after thorough scrutiny, were proven false by Pledis Entertainment, the agency took time to overlook the other posts made to the news after the initial allegations.
Mingyu went on a hiatus for two months and made a formal apology in April before resuming his activities. Due to SVT's popularity, it became one of the most-talked about K-pop scandals of 2021.