The world of K-pop has been shaken to its core after Big Bang member and superstar Seungri announced his retirement from show business on Monday (11 March) after being charged by police with sexual bribery.
South Korean police are still in the midst of investigating allegations against Seungri of drug use and illegal sexual services, but it seems like fans are divided on whether the singer-entrepreneur is a villain or maligned angel.
28-year-old Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung Hyun, posted on his Instagram page saying that he had decided to retire from entertainment due to the seriousness of the allegations against him. “I will sincerely submit to the investigation on this matter, and reveal truth to all the allegations,” he wrote.
Police began investigating after SBS funE recently reported, based on what appeared to be leaked text messages from Seungri, that the singer asked an employee to find escort services for potential investors for his businesses. He is known to be involved in various enterprises, the most notable of which is the Burning Sun nightclub in Seoul.
Other allegations that have been made against Seungri in the past few weeks include the use of date rape drugs at Burning Sun, and that staff at the club bribed police.
Police last week interviewed the celebrity for more than eight hours and tested him for drugs, the result of which was negative. The results of a second drug test using a hair follicle have yet to be released.
Seungri’s management agency, YG Entertainment, earlier said it denies all allegations and will undertake legal action pertaining to the issue.
In related news, another K-pop singer is now being investigated by police over a sex scandal, after Jung Joon Young was reported to have illegally filmed sex videos and shared them with people in a KakaoTalk mobile chat room, including Big Bang member Seungri.
Fans have taken to social media to express their views of Seungri’s alleged crimes, and they have formed opposing camps on the issue, with one camp vilifying him while loyal fans continue to maintain his innocence.
Many fans of boy group Big Bang, who are collectively called VIPs, expressed dismay that the group wouldn’t be complete without Seungri. Seungri is the youngest of the five-man group; the other four members are currently serving military conscription.
One alleged fan of Big Bang even threatened to commit suicide if Seungri was found guilty:
— potato (@PurplexDragon) March 11, 2019
Some fans say that the public shouldn’t judge Seungri until he is proven guilty by the legal system, while others believe that there is sufficient evidence of his crimes and think that he should be punished.
Detractors of Seungri also say that his supporters should spare a thought for the alleged female victims who were subjected to sexual assault.
Twitter hashtags have sprung up around the opposing camps: #ProtectSeungri for his supporters, and for his critics, #SeungriRetirementParty.
Here are various reactions on the Internet to Seungri’s shock retirement:
Seungri of BIGBANG decided to retire from K-POP industry. This is one of the most heartbreaking news that I’ve ever heard. To all the VIPs let’s stay strong and protect our dear Seungri. It’s sad but I think he need this. Let’s respect his decision and wait. #PROTECTSEUNGRI💛
— YG TREASURE BOX GLOBAL (@treasureboxyg) March 11, 2019
feels guilty? more like he IS GUILTY 🤣🤣hope he enjoys prison
— Sana (@Shawnbay_) March 11, 2019
Big Bang is 5 FOREVER 😭💔
Please don’t leave Big Bang. Please don’t leave us. 💔
We love you. We still trust. And we will continue to support you, Riri 😭#protectseungri #SeungriYouHaveUs #SEUNGRI pic.twitter.com/4RCpyWB9SY
— ari_chan_ (@_ikonic_VIP_) March 11, 2019
Vips telling me i have no respect on my mentions for tweeting #seungriretirementparty girl you’re defending a sexual assaulter who disrespected women omg dumb bitches are upon us
— ً (@whatsaftershave) March 11, 2019
— вαву / BTS is COMING (@DaeguwuShine) March 11, 2019
— 🐞 (@doneyahh) March 11, 2019
Idk why do people love targeting Bigbang 😓 I can’t imagine this hate! All the witch hunt is crazy af! I hope everyone remains strong. Sending all my love and prayers 🙏🏻 #ProtectSeungri
— ✨🔥JunDong97sBabies🔥✨ (@JunDong97sBaby) March 11, 2019