‘Gangnam Style’ rapper PSY is now being implicated in a worsening South Korean corruption scandal. Here are the potentially damaging associations following the ouster of Park Geun-hye.
One of South Korea’s greatest cultural exports may have been implicated in a broad-reaching corruption network, according to details now surfacing. The associations are surfacing alongside the ouster of president Park Geun-hye, and a dissolution of her entire administration.
As Park Geun-hye steps down, wafts of dirty dealings, associations, and crooked cronyism are bubbling to the surface. And mixed into the sewage is PSY, whose celebrity status in South Korea remains legendary.
PSY first became an international celebrity in 2012 with ‘Gangnam Style,’ with YouTube viewing records that still stand today. The singer’s follow-up track, ‘Gentleman,’ remains the fastest-growing music video of all time.
Since that point, PSY has been performing, speaking, and releasing new music, while retaining elevated status in South Korean pop culture. But that celebrity status may have introduced PSY to some seedy elements of South Korea’s political culture, as well.
PSY remains free of any charges. But associations with Choi Soon-Sil, Park’s close ally, remain a focus. Park later blamed Choi Soon-Sil for masterminding and executing a complex corruption network, one that included entertainment corners. Specifically, Representative Ahn Min Seok of the Democratic Party of Korea first accused Choi of infiltrating the Kpop and hallyu worlds via his sister, Choi Soon Deuk.
Specifically, Choi Soon Deuk and her daughter, Jang Si Ho, are accused of infiltrating the ranks of South Korea’s entertainment elite. That may have included PSY, as well as his label, YG Entertainment. Specifically, the Representative spoke of a ‘giant agency and its artist,’ which led Korean news outlets to connect a rumored relationship between Jang Si Ho and PSY.
Other Agencies Implicated
YG Entertainment has denied any implication, including charges that they employed Jang Si Ho. Meanwhile, YG Entertainment has been surging over the years, thanks to other signings like 2NE1 and Big Bang. Those artists remain clear of accusations.
Separately, Korean rocker Lee Seung-cheol has also been accused of associating with Choi. Specifically, the allegations are that the rocker met Choi as a member of the Korean celebrity soccer team. But Seung-cheol’s management group, Jin & Won Music Works, has also denied any involvement. “We swear, we’ve never met or known Choi Soon-sil and Choi Soon-deuk,” Jin & Won Music Works declared.
Other agencies and labels may be tied into the ongoing investigation. That is, if they aren’t already battling investigations.
And the benefits of roping South Korea’s powerful entertainment world into politics are obvious. But this goes far beyond the Korean peninsula, with Kpop making growing waves throughout the world. Just recently, Kpop superstars BTS announced a sold-out worldwide tour, one that touches Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
Back to the South Korean imbroglio, Lee Seung Chul has also denied any substantial associations. But Korea’s Culture Ministry is now investigating allegations of corruption. At present, the results of that investigation appear to be ongoing.
Choi’s close associations and extreme level of influence over Park has led to nationwide protests and even violence. Whether PSY’s connections are substantive remains unclear. Additionally, the exchange of political favors remains speculative.
And, could take months to understand given the current political fog.