Not long after accusations of malicious editing, girl group survival reality show Produce 101 has been embroiled in another controversy.
The Mnet program has been allowing trainees from unregistered entertainment agencies to appear on air, according to a government agency.
In total, six of the 46 agencies with trainees on the show have not registered with the Ministry of Culture, a government department. Meaning, the six entertainment agencies either do not have proper websites running or have entered false information when applying for the show.
According to the Department of Arts and Pop Culture, a few of the contestants on Produce 101 are not signed under any of the currently registered 1714 entertainment agencies.
Although the names of trainees were not released, Korean news outlet STARin gave some hints. First is Trainee A, who gained popularity due to her dancing skills while another, referred to as Trainee B, received attention for her looks even after being cut.
"We confirmed that Produce 101 had been using trainees from unregistered agencies and asked Mnet to take appropriate measures," stated the government agency to STARin. "Although they haven't debuted yet, they must register with their local area government before appearing on TV."
However, the issue was not fixed within the past month. Some of the trainees from unregistered agencies were cut in the first round, but others are still appearing on broadcast.
"Introducing the trainees as members of an unregistered agency on the show and having them continue to appear may be a violation of the law," said The Korean Creative Content Agency (KCCA).
After the Produce 101 production team were informed about the illegality of their actions, they told the unregistered agencies to register as soon as possible.
In response, the KCCA mentioned that they received the applications and will finish processing them by March 15.
Out of the 101 contestants on the show, there are still 35 remaining. The next elimination is scheduled to be in episode 9, which will air on March 18.