A new six-part series for BBC Radio 4’s Intrigue podcast strand, Burning Sun, will explore the sex scandals that brought down some of the world’s biggest K-pop stars, in a tale of depravity, power and excess – hidden behind a facade of wholesome pop music beloved across the globe.
Co-created and presented by investigative journalist Chloe Hadjimatheou, Burning Sun pieces together – for the first time – this remarkable and shocking story. Chloe speaks to the key players who fought to expose these crimes, and documents the explosive fallout. The series goes on to explore how misogyny has driven a wedge between men and women that some believe is causing a crisis for South Korea itself.
In 2019, some of the world’s most popular music stars were found guilty of sharing secretly filmed sex videos, others of rape. Korean heart-throbs, used to being mobbed by adoring female fans, had been videoing themselves committing acts of terrible abuse and sharing them on group chats with each other. And in the nightclub “Burning Sun” frequented by celebrities – and co-owned by one of them – police investigated allegations of misconduct against women. The club was closed down, and Burning Sun became synonymous with these sex scandals.
The team go on to explore how these cases highlight an ‘epidemic’ of spy-cam crimes, where women are filmed without their consent walking up metro stairs, in public toilets and during sex.
The series was made with a South Korean production team, and nearly all the interviews in the series were in Korean, and are voiced by actors.
Co-creator and presenter Chloe Hadjimatheou says “This is an astounding story we have been working on for years. It’s taken a long time to build trust with the main players – women who helped shed light on scandals that very nearly never saw the light of day. It’s about how in one of the most futuristic and technologically advanced places on earth, women are still fighting for their most basic of rights, and it’s caused a fault line in South Korean society.”
Commissioning Editor Daniel Clarke says “With K-pop now a global phenomenon, this important series takes us on a really disconcerting but ultimately fascinating journey into how a terrible scandal came to light, exposing some of the world’s biggest music stars.”
Intrigue: Burning Sun starts on Monday 26 June. The full boxset will be available as part of BBC Radio 4’s Intrigue strand on BBC Sounds from Monday 26th June, with episodes broadcast weekly at 20:00. A TV documentary is due to be released soon.
BBC Radio 4