After initially denying the allegations that he was part of the infamous KakaoTalk chats, Highlight’s Junhyung now admits he viewed some of the sexually explicit videos shared on the chat. On March 14, 2019, he announced that he has left the group formerly-known-as-Beast.
In an Instagram post, Junhyung announced his leave while admitting his role in viewing the videos. His message reads:
Hello, this is Yong Junhyung.
Primarily, I sincerely apologize to the members and all fans who must have had a difficult time because of me for the past few days.
When I received the call from my agency to confirm the validity [of the news] right after the SBS 8 O’Clock News aired on [March] 11, I did not understand the point of the issue clearly and only said that I was not in the chatroom. As a result, the agency took my side and said in the official statement that the reports are false, but this was information relayed inaccurately by me. The reason I said [the chat] was from 2016 while talking with the agency to release an official statement is that I no longer have the chat records with Jung Joon Young in my KakaoTalk, so I was not able to check the date accurately. I also apologize for causing further confusion due to this.
In the KakaoTalk messages with Jung Joon Young from late 2015 reported by the news, we drank the night before and went home, and I asked him how he is doing the next day. Jung Joon Young told me that he got caught after sending illegal video footage to someone, and I responded, “You got caught by her?” I did not receive a video at the time, but I did receive a video at a different instance. In addition, I participated in inappropriate conversations regarding it. All of these actions were very immoral, and I was foolish. I treated it as not a big deal without thinking that it is a crime and illegal act, and it is also my fault for not firmly restraining [Jung Joon Young].
I participated in a witness interview regarding this matter. I said everything that I know without any lies, and I cooperated with the investigation. While receiving the witness interview, I saw exactly what conversations I had in the past, and I was embarrassed and could not help but feel horrified.
I never participated in the illegal acts of taking hidden camera footage or circulating it. In addition, I have maintained a relationship of only greeting each other occasionally with Jung Joon Young since late 2016. However, although I knew of what was happening during that time, I thought of it as not a big deal and acted at ease. I was a silent bystander about this severe issue where several more victims may have arisen due to my actions.
I am very sorry to have not been able to repay the overwhelming love and as I betrayed the trust of the members and fans who have trusted me due to this issue. I realize the severity of this matter, and I do not want any further harm to be done to my fans and members who must have been disappointed because of me, so I will leave the group Highlight as of March 14, 2019. I will live while reflecting on myself again and again. I once again apologize sincerely.”
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안녕하세요 용준형입니다. 먼저, 요 며칠 저로 인해 힘든 시간을 보냈을 멤버들과 모든 팬들께 진심으로 사과드립니다. 저는 11일 SBS 8시 뉴스가 나온 직후 회사의 사실여부 확인 전화를 받았을 때 논점을 잘 이해하지 못하고 제가 단톡방에 없었다는 내용만 전달하였습니다. 그래서 회사 입장에서는 저의 편을 들어 공식 입장에서 보도 내용이 맞지 않다고 얘기를 하였으나, 제가 잘못 전달한 내용이었습니다. 공식입장을 내기 위해 회사와 얘기를 하던 중 그 일이 2016년이라고 말씀드렸던 건, 정준영과의 대화 내용이 제 카톡에 남아있지 않았기 때문에 그때 당시 날짜 확인을 제대로 할 수가 없었습니다. 이 또한 많은 이들의 혼란을 가중시킨 점, 사과드립니다. 2015년 말 당시 카톡 내용 관련해서 뉴스에서 보도된 저와 정준영과의 대화 내용은, 그 전날 같이 술을 마시고 집에 들어간 후, 그 다음날 안부를 물어보다가 정준영이 그런 일(불법 동영상 촬영물을 다른 사람에게 보내다 걸렸다는) 이 있었다며 얘기를 했고, 거기에 제가 “그 여자애한테 걸렸다고?” 라고 답변을 한 것이었습니다. 그 때 동영상을 받은 적은 없지만, 다른 동영상을 받은 적 있습니다. 뿐만 아니라 거기에 대한 부적절한 대화도 하였습니다. 이 모든 행동들이 너무나 부도덕한 행동들이었고, 제가 어리석었습니다. 이것이 범죄이고 범법 행위이라고 생각하지 못하고 안일하게만 생각했고, 그것을 단호하게 제지하지 못한 점 또한 제 잘못입니다. 어제 저는 이 사안과 관련하여 참고인 조사를 받으러 다녀왔습니다. 제가 알고 있는 모든 것에 대해서 거짓 없이 이야기하고, 수사에 협조하였습니다. 참고인 조사를 받으면서 과거에 제가 어떤 대화들을 했는지 정확하게 보게 되었고, 부끄럽고 참담함을 금할 수 없었습니다. 단 한번도 몰카를 찍는다거나 그것을 유포한다거나 하는 등의 범법행위는 하지 않았습니다. 또한, 2016년 말부터는 정준영과 서로의 안부를 간간히 물어보는 정도의 관계만 유지했습니다. 그러나 저는 그동안 그런 사실을 알았으면서도 너무나도 쉽고 안일하게 생각하였고 행동하였으며, 여태껏 그런 저의 행동으로 인해 다른 수많은 피해자들이 생길 수도 있는 이 심각한 문제에 대해 묵인한 방관자였습니다. 이제껏 보내주신 과분한 사랑에 보답하지 못하고 이런 일로 저를 믿고 있는 멤버들과 팬분들의 신뢰를 저버리게 되어 정말 죄송합니다. 저는 이 사안의 심각성을 깨닫고, 또 저로 인해 실망하셨을 팬분들과 멤버들에게 더 이상 피해가 가는 것을 원치 않아, 2019년 3월 14일자로 그룹 하이라이트에서 탈퇴를 하겠습니다. 반성하고, 또 반성하며 살겠습니다. 다시 한번 진심으로 사과드립니다.
Also on March 14, Around US Entertainment released a statement:
Some time at the end of 2015, Yong Junhyung met Jung Joon Young at a drinking gathering. The next day, while contacting each other 1:1 via Kakao Talk, he was informed that Jung Joon Young filmed illegal, hidden camera footage. Afterward, Junhyung admitted that he viewed this hidden camera footage, and he and Jung Joon Young went on to exchange inappropriate remarks about the footage.
We learned of the facts stated (above) through Yong Junhyung’s witness questioning. After realizing the severity of this situation, Junhyung took part in his questioning diligently, and he is now in a deep state of reflection for his past inappropriate actions, as well as for the disappointment that he undoubtedly caused many due to his immorality.
He is also aware that this incident is not one that can be forgiven, and he feels greatly apologetic toward fans of Highlight for breaking their trust and repaying their love with disappointment. In order to take responsibility for his actions and prevent further damage to the group’s image, Junhyung will leave Highlight as of March 14, 2019.
Even when Junhyung became involved in an unfavorable scandal, we were unable to obtain the clear facts right away and released a hasty statement, causing confusion; for this, we apologize. We will take caution so that such incidents do not occur again. We apologize one more time to fans who cherish Highlight.
SBS News 8 released some of the text messages earlier in the week where one of the celebrities involved was a “singer Yong.” Junhyung and Around Us Entertainment both denied he was “singer Yong.” Initially, the company released the following statement denying the allegation:
We are writing because of the news reveal of singer Jung Joon Young’s KakaoTalk chatroom which SBS’s News 8 made a report on March 11 about. We understand that people are saying that ‘singer Yong’ that is shown in the contents of the conversations from the group chatroom is Junhyung. Yong Junhyung has no connection to the filming or sharing of illegal videos and has never been in a chatroom where Jung Joon Young’s illegal camera videos were shared.
Additionally, we have confirmed he has never been in a chatroom with him at all. We directly confirmed the conversation shown on the news was a one-on-one conversation between the two when Jung Joon Young was having a hard time due to personal matters. Regarding the simulated group chatroom screenshot that was shared in the news, we plan to verify with SBS News for authenticity. It is true that Jung Joon Young is his friend, however, being caught up in the matter simply for being friends has made everyone who knows Junhyung feel wronged. We will take strict legal action in case of damage to our artists’ reputation if the spread of false information continues to be spread. We hope that fans, will be able to relax and we ask for your continued interest and support for the five members of HIGHLIGHT.”
On March 12, Junhyung wrote a denial message on Instagram.
Hello, this is Yong Jun Hyung.
Although I’m also taken aback, I decided to personally write this message for the many people who may be worried or even angry. I was very surprised when today’s news claimed I took part in or was somehow connected to the recent scandals. The fact that I was even mentioned in these scandals made me reflect back on myself. The reported story that was put together while excluding contexts is not true at all, and I wasn’t even aware that these events were happening before the reports came out today.
I’m sure people may think I’m making a mistake saying I didn’t really know. I will make sure to be more careful in everything I do from now.
From Yong Jun Hyung
With his admission, the celebrities involved in these chats is now up to four: Junhyung, Jung Joon Young, Seungri, and FTIsland’s Jonghun. More may be revealed in the coming days. Additionally, further indications of police corruption have also been revealed, so the case is constantly developing and changes daily.
Meanwhile, Junhyung still plans to enlist in the coming months. He is also cooperating with the police.
All parties are considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.
— Olivia Murray