The drama surrounding the 2nd season of “Produce 101” is far from over.
Even before the show started, several contestants were called out for bullying and various other scandals. While some of the contestants proved that they were innocent or apologised for their mistakes, Maroo Entertainment’s Han Jong Youn left the show due to his past. Mnet themselves also underwent a controversy for the alleged mistreatment of their participants.
Now, 3 more trainees are in hot water.
Ha Min Ho, from The Vibe Label, has been facing backlash for personally contacting his fans to allegedly form sexual relations with them. The trainee apparently contacted his underage fans via Instagram’s direct message and struck up conversation with them, in hopes of inviting them over to his house.
While some were merely innocent conversation, Ha Min Ho were more explicit in his attempt with others. He was also accused of changing his Facebook, which he also used to message fans, name from Haro to Yoo Seon Ho, in a bid to try to shift the blame to his fellow trainee.
The screenshots of the messages are as follow:
Soon after the scandal broke out, a Twitter user claiming that she was Ha Min Ho’s ex-girlfriend and former classmate exclaimed that he sexually harassed and bullied her in middle school. She also uploaded photos of their yearbook to prove her identity.
Her message reads:
“I am someone who was sexually harassed, verbally harassed, and bullied by Ha Min Ho during our 2nd year of middle school. I went to Seoun Middle School, and I dated Ha Min Ho at that time. He was influential at school and had the power to harass anyone at his will. Purposefully bullying and singling people out through Cyworld (Korean blog site) wasn’t a big deal to him, and he carried things too far with the dirty jokes in a boys-only chatroom.
The whole time I was dating him, he always told me, ‘let’s meet after school in an empty classroom,’ and everyone knew that those words meant that he would force kisses on me and touch me in unwanted ways. So when I broke up with him because of his excessive requests, I had to hear the never-ending whispers about me being a slut when I walked down the hall.
You may think that what I went through wasn’t much, but there are countless people who have experienced the same sexual harassment and bullying. We were unable to say anything because we had no evidence (Ha Min Ho himself deleted the Cyworld, Facebook, Kakao Story accounts with the evidence in it). His friends from middle school are using this fact to renew his image and keep anyone from speaking up. If any other victims see this post, I ask them to please bring to light more evidence, and if Ha Min Ho sees this post, I ask him to sincerely apologize to the victims and step down from the program.
Because of Ha Min Ho, I even considered suicide. I never got an apology, and because of this trauma, I was unable to go to a co-ed high school. Normal daily life became impossible for me, and I got so desensitized to sexual harassment that I had problems realizing that it was happening to me.
Because of this, I feel let down and nauseous that he is being consumed as a character that calls for sympathy in ‘Produce 101.’ The program’s main consumers are female, and I know that the trainees debut based on viewer votes. I am writing this in hopes that people will realize how powerless it makes me feel to see him use his power as a male to hide his misdeeds and trick the viewers in order to debut.”
Ha Min Ho has since decided to leave the show and his label. The statement released by his label did not address either issues, but said that the former contestant is “deeply reflecting on the scandal”.
They continued, “As for changing his name to ‘Yoo Seon Ho’ and leaving, it was not to target Cube trainee Yoo Seon Ho, but a misunderstanding caused by joking with friends.”
As for Kang Daniel and Kim Dong Bin, both trainees were accused of foul play. In the latest stage of the show, fans were given the chance to assign the concept for the trainees. The contestants weren’t allowed to inform fans of their desired concept, so as to not influence the result.
However, the 2 trainees have allegedly told fans to vote for their desired concept, which caused fans of other trainees to get mad over unfair situation. Kang Daniel used Instagram to inform fans of his choice while Kim Dong Bin’s fan union used Twitter to pass on his message.
Kang Daniel has since apologised for his mistake, but he is still under fire for using his Instagram. According to program rules, trainees are not allowed to post anything on their social media accounts, and those who flout the rules would be forced to halt training.
Kim Dong Bin’s case is a little ambiguous, as his fans were informed of his choice by the trainee’s father. The father has since asked his fan union to delete the tweet.
Meanwhile, 38 trainees have been eliminated from the show, the more notable ones being JJCC’s Kim Chan Yul and Choi Ha Don. With the departure of Ha Min Ho, it means that 59 trainees will be left to battle it out as the final 11.