In September, BABYMONSTER will debut. Will the public’s gaze towards Yang Hyun Suk change?
Yang Hyun Suk, the overall producer of YG Entertainment, faced suspicion due to trainee Han Seo Hee’s statement about ‘unwilling punishment’ during the 4th appeal trial on charges of retaliation and coercion. Although it was difficult to immediately determine the truth of her statement amidst other questions during the witness testimony, Han Seo Hee trembled as she reiterated that she didn’t want punishment for Yang Hyun Suk.
On August 25th, Yang Hyun Suk attended the 4th appeal trial for the violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Specific Crimes (retaliation threats, etc.), facing Han Seo Hee who had turned into an adversary from a long-standing connection.
Back in 2016, when Yang Hyun Suk was still at YG, he was prosecuted for instigating and coercing Han Seo Hee,m to cover up the drug use allegations against iKON’s B.I. He was acquitted in the first trial and the case was appealed to the second trial by the prosecution. Han Seo Hee’s disclosure that Yang Hyun Suk said, “(In the entertainment industry), killing you isn’t a big deal,” created a significant impact. Yang Hyun Suk consistently denied this during the investigation, but regardless of its truth, it had already dealt a blow to his image.
During the first trial’s determination phase, the prosecution imposed a 3-year prison sentence on Yang Hyun Suk. However, the court sought to overturn this by saying, “Considering various circumstances, it was not sufficiently proven that Yang Hyun Suk’s statement caused fear in the victim.” Disagreeing with this, the prosecution repeatedly argued that the initial trial court had misinterpreted facts and legal principles.
In subsequent appeal trials, the prosecution claimed that Yang Hyun Suk had engaged in persuading or pressuring the victim in YG’s office, with the assistance of agency personnel. The prosecution asserted, “The defendants’ actions in this case cannot go without criticism. Kim Han Bin (B.I) was involved in drug-related crimes such as LSD, and the defendant attempted to cover up Kim Han Bin’s crimes.” During the 4th trial on August 25th, the prosecution continued with Han Seo Hee’s witness testimony to confirm the truth of her statements.
Ultimately, Han Seo Hee expressed her reluctance for Yang Hyun Suk’s punishment, but claimed that Yang Hyun Suk told her, “Change your statement. I’m not going to kill you here.”
While questions remain about Han Seo Hee’s changed stance, the prosecution is expected to request the second trial court to issue a verdict similar to the first trial, based on her testimony. However, given the victim’s unwillingness for punishment after the first trial’s acquittal, it’s less likely that the court will accept the prosecution’s request. The court has announced that it will make a decision on the next trial date, set for September 27.
If a second trial also results in acquittal, Yang Hyun Suk can practically remove the label of retaliation and return to his professional activities.
As the leader of YG, one of the Big 3 music labels in Korea along with SM and JYP, Yang Hyun Suk has produced numerous popular idols such as Big Bang, 2NE1, BLACKPINK, Winner, and iKON. He has faced significant challenges, being embroiled in various scandals that impacted his reputation. While he was involved in controversies like the Burning Sun scandal and allegations of overseas gambling and sexual misconduct, he managed to reach a state of innocence. However, the current retaliation threats related to B.I’s drug case have dealt a blow to his ethical standing.
Regardless of the outcome of the prolonged trial, Yang Hyun Suk is poised to make a comeback as the head of YG. He has already announced the final debut members of the upcoming girl group BABYMONSTER. Despite the trial not being fully concluded, his return to the industry seems inevitable, with his role as a producer gaining momentum once again.
Anticipation from fans, both Korean and international, towards YG’s new girl group BABYMONSTER is high, especially after about 7 years since BLACKPINK’s debut. Even before their official debut, BABYMONSTER’s pre-debut song ‘DREAM’ surpassed 40 million views on YouTube and reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot Trending Songs chart. Their potential to compete with other 4th to 5th generation girl groups is high.