In a groundbreaking investigation, BBC Radio 4’s Intrigue podcast strand presents a gripping six-part series titled Burning Sun, delving into the dark underbelly of the K-pop industry. Co-created and presented by investigative journalist Chloe Hadjimatheou, the podcast exposes the sex scandals that led to the downfall of some of the world’s biggest K-pop stars. Hidden behind the facade of wholesome pop music adored globally, this tale of depravity, power, and excess unfolds in a shocking narrative.

Burning Sun sheds light on an alarming chapter in the K-pop phenomenon, piecing together the remarkable story that has never been fully told before. Chloe Hadjimatheou dives deep into the heart of the scandal, interviewing key players who fought tirelessly to expose these heinous crimes and documenting the explosive aftermath. The series goes beyond the scandal to explore how misogyny has created a rift between men and women, posing a crisis for South Korea itself.

The year 2019 witnessed the shocking revelations that rocked the music industry. Several beloved Korean heartthrobs were found guilty of sharing secretly filmed sex videos, while others faced accusations of rape. These idols, accustomed to the adoration of their passionate female fan base, were exposed for committing acts of unspeakable abuse, sharing the evidence through private group chats. Additionally, allegations of misconduct against women emerged at the notorious nightclub “Burning Sun,” frequented by celebrities and co-owned by one of them. The club’s closure and the association with these sex scandals forever tarnished the name of Burning Sun.

The Burning Sun series goes further to shed light on the wider issue of “spy-cam crimes.” These insidious acts involve the covert filming of women without their consent, capturing moments of their lives in public spaces, such as metro stairs, public toilets, and even during intimate encounters.

In collaboration with a South Korean production team, Burning Sun features interviews conducted predominantly in Korean, voiced by actors to ensure accurate representation and understanding of the cultural context.

Chloe Hadjimatheou, co-creator, and presenter of Burning Sun, expressed her astonishment at the magnitude of the story they have been diligently working on for years. She emphasised the importance of building trust with the courageous women who played a pivotal role in exposing these scandals, shedding light on issues that could have remained hidden indefinitely. Hadjimatheou described how, despite South Korea’s reputation as one of the most technologically advanced nations, women still find themselves fighting for their most fundamental rights, creating a deep divide within the country.

Commissioning Editor Daniel Clarke emphasised the significance of this series in light of K-pop’s global influence. He described Burning Sun as an unsettling yet captivating journey that unravels a scandal of immense proportions, uncovering the truth about some of the world’s biggest music stars.

Intrigue: Burning Sun is set to premiere on Monday, June 26, with subsequent episodes broadcast weekly at 20:00 as part of BBC Radio 4’s Intrigue strand. The full box set will also be available on BBC Sounds starting from the same date. Furthermore, viewers can anticipate the release of a TV documentary on this scandal in the near future.