If anything about this scandal is absolutely certain, Ailee has bounced back relatively unscathed. Based on the immediate reactions of international fans, K-pop Idols, and Korean fans, public opinion on the scandal is nearly unanimous. Most are supportive of Ailee continuing with her activities as scheduled, commenting that she is very confident in herself for doing so.
1. [+3,291, -330] I like that she’s confident… of course, I wanted a better excuse than the lingerie model lie but… I guess that’s the company to blame for their lack of creativity
2. [+2,720, -194] It’s not like she’s a criminal or anything, it’s good to see her keep her head up high
3. [+2,352, -113] It’s the nature of being a celebrity. You shouldn’t dream of becoming one without thinking of the risks involved… Your private life is no longer yours if you want to achieve popularity. Overcome the risks and you’re rewarded with massive amounts of money.
4. [+2,114, -128] Good to see that she’s not hiding but out and confident
5. [+946, -35] Yeah, I prefer this than Jiyeon saying it’s not her even if it kills her
6. [+500, -60] Seungri’s still out on TV even after getting his picture taken after sleeping with a girl. Ailee has nothing to hide, continue to promote as you are. The man who leaked the photos will cry tears of blood soon. You are amazing, Ailee.
7. [+354, -35] In this day and age, we’ve all seen more graphic content. Nothing to be ashamed of, Ailee. Fighting!
8. [+318, -26] Such a different response compared to Jiyeon and IU ㅋㅋㅋ But then again, their excuses about taking her clothes off because she was hot and visiting the sick were just unbelievable… Whatever, Ailee’s a great singer so it doesn’t matter.
This sentiment was further confirmed when Ailee attended the Melon Music Awards, where she won not just the “Top 10” award, but the overwhelming support of the audience.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZOpvlNtXrAQ]
Not all worked out in Ailee’s favor, however, She has been removed from several of her recent CFs. and despite the strong support for the singer, the response to the CF issue was more or less accepting of those companies’ decisions. One netizen wrote, “You can’t really deny that her image was impacted by this…,” while others spoke out in support of the companies that decided to retract Ailee’s involvement in their advertising campaigns.
YMC, in a follow-up statement, explained that they would be pursuing legal action against the source of the leaks. Though not explicitly mentioned, a legal suit is likely to be taken against Allkpop, as YMC is reported to have hired American lawyers.
Around the same time, Allkpop’s CEO, Johnny Noh, held an exclusive interview with Asia Econ, to clarify and discuss Allkpop’s extent of involvement in the scandal. He reasserted his company’s claims of reaching out to YMC beforehand, and that Allkpop bears no connection with the original release of the photos. Below is just a selection of his comments from that interview; Noh also mentions that in response to YMC’s push for legal action against Allkpop, his company is possibly planning to counter.
1. How did this happen?
At the end of June, we received an offer in our tip box regarding nude pictures of singer Ailee. When we called him, we were able to find out that he was a foreigner living in Toronto, Canada. He asked for $3,500 for the pictures. We told him, “Leaking the photos will cause big problems later.” He replied to us, “I’m scared of that as well. I’ll stop here.”
2. Did you contact YMC?
It was an important matter so we directly contacted a YMC staff member. They actually told us that we were making it up and when we asked why, they accused our staff member, Ailee’s ex-boyfriend, of trying to sell the photos to Dispatch. They said that if this was to become a problem later, they’d take legal action so we were free to do whatever we wanted.
3. Did you check with her ex-boyfriend?
After we found out, we asked him and he denied it. He said he looked into the matter out of his own curiosity but that was it. He has nothing to do with this leak. We checked with him over a hundred times.
4. But the pictures were eventually uploaded on allkpop.
On the 10th, we received another tip in our tip box. When we researched the link, it was uploaded by someone from Toronto, Canada. The picture had already been uploaded in July and again in October. We decided that the pictures were already released to the world.
5. YMC claims that Ailee sent those photos to her ex-boyfriend for his help. There are suspicions that he is involved in this for business/monetary reasons.
That’s an unfounded accusation. We’ve already discussed with him about the picture several times. The means in which the pictures were acquired is completely different. This scandal is putting us at a great loss as well. Our server was down because of the influx of page visits and our advertisements were cut off.
The story complicated, however, when Dispatch disclosed the audio recording of ex-boyfriend attempting to sell the pictures to them, which matched the written transcript. SBS later released a phone interview with the accused leak source, the ex-boyfriend from Allkpop, and to no one’s surprise, the audio was compared.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120048108″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
These “amateur” comparisons led to netizens concluding that the two ex-boyfriends in question were really the same person. In response, Allkpop confirmed that the ex working at Allkpop was the voice in both the Dispatch and SBS audio. While no explicit statements were made about Daniel Lee being that boyfriend, it has been generally assumed that he is the person involved.
In a later interview, the ex (or Lee) stated that while he did make the phone calls to Dispatch, he did not intend to leak or sell the photos. According to the ex, the call to Dispatch was made in response to an email Allkpop received regarding those photos [the email evidence Allkpop released in their first statement]. He claimed he wanted to see if it were possible to sell those photos to the Korean media as the tipster had allegedly done. The ex-boyfriend apologized for causing a misunderstanding and that “[he] did not leak the photos.”
In short, the events surrounding the leak of the photos has become he-said-she-said chaos. Little information exists (apart from proliferating rumors) as to who, when, where, or why anything involving the photos occurred as it did. At this point, the only thing that is confirmed is that Daniel Lee, or more accurately, the ex-boyfriend, called Dispatch about selling the photos, though this does not technically implicate him for releasing the photos to the public. With all of the conflicting statements running around, we can only wait till the formal legal dispute takes place to truly uncover the facts.
(YouTube, Netizen Buzz)