The recently released nude photos of Ailee have taken the K-pop world by storm for the last twenty hours. Here’s what you might’ve missed.
Last night, Allkpop posted an article containing undated nude photos of Ailee, all stamped with Allkpop’s watermark. The article received widespread attention and scrutiny, to which Allkpop staff member Matt Kim and 6Theory CEO Johnny Noh tweeted in response:
The photos were traced back to an AnonIB forum thread where an anonymous user had posted them in June.
Shortly thereafter, Dispatch released a transcription of their correspondence with Ailee’s alleged ex-boyfriend dating to July of this year. He claimed to possess nude photos of Ailee and wanted to sell them to Dispatch.
Ex-Boyfriend: I have several photos of Ailee. I was wondering if you were interested in them.
Dispatch: What kind of photos are they?
Ex: She’s completely naked in them. She’s not wearing anything; front, back, nothing…
Dispatch: How did you get them?
Ex: I got them from Ailee herself.
Dispatch: Ailee gave them to you directly? Why?
Ex: I was her ex-boyfriend.
Dispatch: Did you receive the nude photos via [mobile] messenger?
Dispatch: And now you want to go public with them?
Ex: That’s the plan.
Dispatch: Selling pictures you personally received could get you into trouble. You shouldn’t offer them to the media.
Ex: I see. You’re different from other media outlets. I’ll contact elsewhere.
Dispatch. The point is that what you’re doing is dangerous.
Ex: It’s not illegal.
Dispatch: It is illegal. This is her personal life so you could be sued. And any media outlet that does buy those photos from you is wrong. It’s best if you don’t do it.
Ex: Yes, I understand.
Ailee’s management agency YMC Entertainment released a statement explaining that the nude photos were camera test shots that were taken while Ailee was in the United States after she received an offer to become a lingerie model.
However, the agency that had requested the nude shots was later discovered to be a fraudulent operation targeting female college students. Nevertheless, due to the complexity of the operation’s internet-based activity, the police were unable to make any arrests with regard to the situation.
Following this event, Ailee went to see her then-boyfriend (who YMC identifies as having worked for Allkpop at the time) to discuss the situation. Ailee was persuaded by her boyfriend to send the photos from the shoot to him. YMC continued by saying that they would seek legal action against the person who circulated the photos.
Several hours later, 6Theory Media (Allkpop’s parent company) posted a response letter of their own clarifying their methods of acquiring of the photos as well as the alleged involvement of 6Theory vice president Daniel Lee in the scandal. 6Theory claims that a Canadian tipster emailed 6Theory in June offering to sell nude photos of Ailee.
The tipster explained over a phone conversation with 6Theory that s/he “didn’t have access to Sports Seoul or Dispatch but would be willing to contact them if [Allkpop] didn’t break the story.” Claiming to be serving as a middleman for the original owner of the photos, the tipster offered $3500 USD for the full set of photos.
Allkpop initially replied that they were not interested, and the tipster told them that s/he would be contacting another media agency. Following this exchange, Allkpop claims to have contacted YMC Entertainment informing of the information they had received from this tipster, and told YMC that they would be willing to disclose his/her contact information if YMC were to pursue legal action. However, Allkpop reports that YMC disregarded the matter.
Nevertheless, Allkpop informed YMC that they would not post anything with regard to the photos unless the photos themselves were posted on the internet by a third party, and claimed that as their “job and duty as a news site,” they would then be obligated to write and post the story.
On November 10th, Allkpop received an email containing a link to the AnonIB forum post containing the nude photos of Ailee. Allkpop suspects that this email came from the same tipster who had contacted them in June, as the IP addresses of both emails traced back to the same ISP in Toronto. Following this, Allkpop made the decision to run the story, claiming that “it is [their] policy to report on the truth.”
In addition, Allkpop clarified that while 6Theory VP Daniel Lee did date Ailee in the past, he did not post the photos.
Since then, notable K-pop idols who have had friendly ties with Allkpop in the past such as G.NA, Jay Park, f(x)‘s Amber, miss A‘s Min, U-Kiss‘ Kevin and Super Junior‘s Siwon have unfollowed Allkpop’s Twitter account. Several artists under Muzo Entertainment (whose roster is primarily composed of Korean-Americans) also spoke out publicly against Allkpop’s handling of the matter:
— johnnyphlo | 쟈니플로 (@Johnnyphlo) November 11, 2013
— Goni Kim (@gonimusic) November 11, 2013
Korean media outlets have been following the news closely, and Korean netizens are responding in kind. Many seem to be less concerned about the nude photos themselves; instead, the bulk of the attention (and the blame) seems to have been placed on the alleged photo-leaking ex-boyfriend:
[+6,911, -349] If this is true, it’s Ailee who’s the victim here… and her ex who’s the criminal [+642, -37] I heard her ex-boyfriend released. What an utter ba$tard. [+618, -12] Is he crazy? How could he think of making money off of the nudes of his ex-girlfriend? I highly doubt he’s a normal human being [+135, -10] Ailee did nothing good herself but that ex is the one with the problem for using his ex girlfriend’s picture for money. Ailee’s a talented artist so I’m upset she’s involved in something like this. Find strength. [+96, -19] The problem in this entire scandal is her ex-boyfriend. No need to direct the hate to Ailee.. she’s a talented artist as well. [+87, -13] I can’t believe her ex-boyfriend used her to make a quick buck [+43, -2] She’s not sane to send her boyfriend nudes but if anyone’s in the wrong, it’s the ex… This is a crime through and through. [+42, -6] Such trash… The person deserving of hate is not Ailee but him [+38, -4] I hope Ailee comes out confident.. and I hope that people will stop caring about things like this so other trashy men like him in the future have no market for it [+28, -7] He obviously tried to make some cash by soliciting Korean media outlets but it was an international site that ended up buying it. Ailee is the victim. Let’s make that clear here.
Because the controversy surrounding Ailee, YMC Entertainment, and Allkpop is constantly developing and much of the information and rumors circulating amongst the K-pop blogosphere has yet to be verified, we at Seoulbeats are awaiting confirmation of the facts before publishing our own analysis and opinions. For the time being, however, we will be keeping a vigilant eye on the situation and providing updates periodically.