How to watch the Burning Sun documentary in the US

Daisy Phillipson
Jung Joon-young at a press conference

With the documentary out now, here’s everything you need to know about how to watch Burning Sun if you’re in the US and the true story behind it. 

There are many new true crime documentaries to dive into this month, from the Ashley Madison exposé on Netflix to the explosive reveals about Bob Durst in The Jinx Season 2. 

One that may have flown under the radar is the latest episode of Eye Investigations, titled Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-pop Chat Groups. And for good reason, as it’s a BBC production. 

But don’t fret, as there are ways to watch it in the US. Here’s how to stream the Burning Sun documentary and what it’s all about. (Warning: Some may find this content distressing.)

How to watch the Burning Sun documentary in the US

The good news is the Burning Sun documentary is available to stream in its entirety on YouTube after the BBC uploaded it on Sunday, May 19. 

Check it out below: 

Normally, American users would need to use a VPN or download the Beeb’s Google Chrome extension and create an account to access TV shows and movies on BBC’s streaming service, iPlayer. 

You can, of course, still watch Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-pop Chat Groups using either of these methods  — but it’s much easier to simply stream it on YouTube. 

The reason it’s available to all viewers is because it’s produced by BBC World Service’s international investigations team, BBC Eye.

What is the Burning Sun documentary about?

Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-pop Chat Groups examines sex scandals involving prominent K-pop stars, the two South Korean journalists who helped to take the abusers down, and the battles they faced along the way, highlighting a need for change in society’s view of sexual abuse and the impact of fame and power. 

As said by Seoul-based entertainment journalist Kang Kyung-yoon, “I feel that what’s happening in this industry is like a microcosm of our society. Money, power, women, sex… The more I work in this field, the more I see the bottom of the pit.”

The true crime documentary also introduces viewers to Park Hyo-sil, another Seoul-based reporter who paid the price for writing about K-pop singer and TV star Jung Joon-young. 

In 2016, he was accused by an ex-girlfriend of molka, a term used to describe the use of hidden cameras to take voyeuristic images and videos of another person, often to blackmail or threaten the person being filmed. 

During the police investigation, it transpired that Jung wouldn’t give his phone to the police and instead left it with a private forensics company on the advice of his lawyer. 

Image of Jung Joon-young
Jung Joon-young gave his phone to a private forensics company

“It became clear the investigation was rushed with the intention of simply closing the case,” said Park. The victim was warned that if there was insufficient evidence, she could receive a harsh sentence for false accusations and so she withdrew. 

In the public’s eyes, Jung became the “victim,” the accuser faced scrutiny, and Park was trolled with relentless phone calls and “obscene images.” But, what Jung didn’t know was that a carbon copy of his phone data had been made. 

Three years later, the data was leaked, landing on the desk of Kang. The files contained a group chat between the singer and a number of his male friends on the app KakaoTalk between 2015 and 2016. 

The evidence implicated other K-pop stars, including Choi Jong-hoon, the former leader of band FT Island. In the messages, they described women as “sluts” and other derogatory terms, and contained explicit videos and images of unconscious women. 

According to Kang, Jung, Choi, and others also discussed how they had gang raped an unconscious woman, with the reporter saying, “My heart still hurts when I think of that.” Other exchanges suggested they were being protected by a higher up in the police. 

The Burning Sun documentary looks at the journalists’ fight to get the truth out there, and how Choi and Kang’s subsequent arrests sparked a movement that saw other survivors coming forward.

For more true crime, check out what Pillowcase Murders is all abouthow to watch the Alison Botha documentary, and the sinister true story behind Netflix’s The Asunta Case. You can also find new movies headed to streaming this month.

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