In response to the recent controversy surrounding Mnet and its popular K-pop reality programme, Produce X 101, angry local viewers have banded together to file a formal legal complaint against the programme on the grounds of possible vote manipulation.
Produce X 101 is a survival audition show, whose top performers are based on votes made by the trainees participating and the public. Recently, after airing its final episode and announcing the winners of the programme who will be making their debut in the K-pop boy group, X1, viewers noticed some strange coincidences in the number of votes shown in the show. This led to South Korean broadcast company, Mnet apologizing and releasing a public statement regarding the accusations of vote manipulation.
However, it looks like viewers are not satisfied with the show's response to the controversy. On 1 August, a representative from a Seoul-based law company, MAST Law & Consulting announced that 272 viewers of the show will be filing a lawsuit against programme. These viewers reportedly paid to vote via text messaging for their favourite contestants during Produce X 101's finale show.
"Today, a total of 272 ‘Produce X 101′ viewers will be filing a formal lawsuit and legal complaint against [the show] regarding suspicions of vote manipulation at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office at 11am," the legal representative's public statement said.
In the complaint, viewers are also requesting a thorough investigation to be carried out by the police, which producers of the show already agreed to prior to the complaint.
In their complaint, the viewers stated, "The above voting results appear far too unnatural to be the result of the one-week online voting and the text votes, of which there were over 1.4 million. It seems reasonable to suspect that the released voting results might be different from the actual voting results."
Furthermore, they went on to say, "If [the show] had simply released the raw data of the voting results from the beginning of this controversy, there would not have been any problem. As the producers have admitted that there were errors in calculating the total numbers of votes, it is their duty to prove that [it was error and not vote manipulation] with convincing evidence.
Accordingly, we urge the prosecutors' office to thoroughly investigate the matter and deliver a strict punishment."
Mnet has not responded to the lawsuit at this point in time.