Founded in 1996, YG Entertainment has been home to some of the biggest K-pop acts of the past few decades including Psy, Big Bang, 2NE1 and Blackpink. Earlier this year, however, the company was rocked when police in Seoul, South Korea charged Big Bang’s Seungri with operating a prostitution ring at a popular nightclub called Burning Sun, where he was also on staff as a publicity director. From there, the scandal widened to include multiple artists and allegations that ranged from drug use and trafficking to police corruption, bribery and sexual assault.
“For the past 23 years have I devoted half of my entire life to grow YG [Entertainment],” Yang said in a statement. “But today I am leaving all my duties at YG. YG being stabilized as soon as possible is what I am hoping from the bottom of my heart. Last but not least, I believe the truth beneath all the rumors and what is currently being reported will be probed thoroughly.”
Recently, Yang has been accused of trying to cover up allegations that B.I., the lead singer of YG outfit iKON, used illegal drugs. Authorities in South Korea are reportedly also investigating claims that Yang provided prostitutes to potential investors. YG itself is also under investigation for tax evasion, while it’s believed the company fostered a corrupt relationship with local police, who knew about illegal activity but weren’t actively investigating it.
The fallout from the Burning Sun scandal has caused YG’s stock to plummet, while Seungri was ultimately forced into retirement for his role. The other big artist involved was singer Jung Joon-young, who also retired after admitting he filmed women without their consent and shared the footage with others.