BIGBANG, one of the biggest names in K-Pop, have come a long way since their debut in 2006. Because they are one of the longest tenured K-Pop idols, they have also had their fair share of scandals throughout the years. Let’s take a look at a couple of BIGBANG’s scandals that they were able to bounce back from.
1. “LIES” Plagiarism Scandal
In 2007, BIGBANG released their the single “LIES,” and everything changed for the group. “LIES” became the group’s first major hit, topping all of the major charts, and it eventually took home the “Song of the Year” award at the 2007 MAMAs. Composed by G-Dragon, the track was also G-Dragon’s first major hit as a composer, and the success of the song helped establish G-Dragon as a major “producer-idol.”
A couple of months after the song was released, however, netizens started accusing G-Dragon of plagiarizing Japanese DJ’s FreeTEMPO and their track “Sky High” for “Lies”. G-Dragon stayed silent on the matter at first, but as the scandal started to get out of hand, BIGBANG’s agency (YG Entertainment) spoke up in G-Dragon’s defense. The agency had reached out to FreeTEMPO to get their opinion on the matter, and FreeTEMPO themselves denied that “Lies” was a plagiarism of “Sky High.”
2. T.O.P’s Rising Sun Scandal
In 2007, T.O.P appeared on a TV interview broadcast wearing a jacket that had patches designed with the Rising Sun Flag, on both sides of the chest. Similar to the Nazi “swastika” in Western countries, the Rising Sung flag is considered offensive in many Asian countries because the symbol was used as the war flag for the Imperial Japanese army.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, Yang Hyun Suk quickly issued an apology and put the scandal to rest. “I believe the issue began due to the fact that T.O.P, as well as the other staff, were not able to recognize the significance of the sign and point it out. We sincerely apologize for the incident as the fact that it was unintentional does not forgive the mistake. T.O.P is has been quite surprised and is deeply reflecting upon the unintentional incident. We will make an effort to prevent further mistakes through strict caution.” ㅡ Yang Hyun Suk
3. G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker” Plagiarism Scandal
In 2009, G-Dragon released his 1st solo album, “Heartbreaker”. Although the album was a huge hit, it was surrounded by controversy because many people felt that the title track, “Heartbreaker”, was a plagiarized version of Flo Rida‘s hit single, “Right Round.”
As the controversy started gaining traction, more and more netizens started believing the accusations. Finally, before the scandal got out of hand, YG Entertainment contacted Flo Rida and his representatives directly.
To deny any plagiarism allegations, Flo Rida flew to Korea, came to G-Dragon’s solo concert, and performed a remix of “Heartbreaker” with G-Dragon on stage. All accusations were since dropped.
4. G-Dragon’s Marijuana Scandal
Back in 2011, G-Dragon went on hiatus after he had tested positive for marijuana. Although the initial urine test came out negative, a hair test detected a weak positive for marijuana. Because the amount was minimal, however, and this was G-Dragon’s first offense, charges were eventually dropped.
G-Dragon opened up about the issue on an episode of Healing Camp, where he revealed what happened. He had been offered a puff of what he thought was a cigarette from a stranger at a party in Japan. After he realized that the cigarette was unusual, he threw it away. Because he had only taken a puff, the amount detected in the hair test was minimal, which then led to the charges being dropped.
5. Daesung’s Car Accident
On May 31, 2011, Daesung was involved in a fatal car accident. He had hit a motorcyclist who had collapsed on the ground from a prior incident, as well as a taxi that was parked next to the motorcyclist’s body. The taxi stopped after the driver spotted the motorcyclist fallen on the road. Daesung stated that he did not see the motorcyclist, and only saw him after he stopped his car to check the taxi driver’s safety. Unfortunately, the motorcyclist died from his injuries.
After an investigation was carried out, Daesung was not charged for the incident. Prosecution stated that there was no way to determine whether or not the motorcyclist was alive before he was hit by Daesung, as there was a high possibility that he had perished from his earlier crash just moments before. Although Daesung wasn’t charged, he took a year off from all activities for a time of self-reflection.
6. Seungri’s Sex Scandal
In 2012, an anonymous female went to Japanese media about her one night stand with Seungri from BIGBANG. Along with images of Seungri asleep in bed, she accused him of being rough during sex, and not kissing her once.
The situation was made worse when photos of Seungri and Japanese model Anna Kubo were seen in Hong Kong kissing, acting like a couple. This scandal was quickly dismissed, however, when YG Entertainment explained that the two had just finished filming for a Japanese drama and they were just close friends.
Seungri ended up going on talk show Incarnation to talk about the scandal publicly. Fans appreciated his honesty as he explained that this was his first scandal. He even admitted that people started looking at him as more of an adult after the photos spread.
7. T.O.P’s Marijuana Scandal
In 2017, while T.O.P was serving in the military, he was charged with using marijuana. A controversial trainee, Han Seo Hee, was initially charged with using the substance, when an investigation discovered that T.O.P had consumed marijuana with her on several occasions. After drug tests came out positive, T.O.P received a 10-month prison sentence suspended for 2 years and he was booted from his military service.
After the controversial incident, T.O.P released a public apology letter, showing remorse. He has since re-enlisted for his mandatory military duties as a public service worker at the Yongsan District Office, and has been keeping himself out of the spotlight, utilizing the time to self-reflect.