Mnet's hit music survival show "Produce 101 Season 2" is currently at the centre of some controversy in regards to alleged discrimination of its contestants.
The show involves 101 contestants competing for the chance to debut in a new boy group, and everyone is divided into groups labeled A to F, which denotes who will receive training together. However, it has been reported that the grading system has been used as a form of measuring stick in regards to how the show treats its contestants.
According to new reports, controversy has arisen due to the grading system being used to dictate when groups eat, when groups are allowed to use the bathroom, and even when they can go home at the end of the day.
Reported industry insiders claim that "Produce 101" contestants have to use the bathroom in order of their grades, and this has meant that some may not even get the chance to properly freshen up at times.
“Since the group A trainees go first, the contestants in the lower groups sometimes don’t get to properly take care of their business. We understand the need to group the trainees because there are so many, but this is unfair.”
Claims have been made that this grading system extends to meals too, with those in a higher group getting preferential treatment for food and those in lower groups getting only a limited amount of food.
“The boys are maturing and growing, and they only have rice to eat. They have limited food, and they’re competing. The lower a contestant’s grade, the harder they have to work, but they just lose more and more energy.”
There's also allegedly differences in how grades are treated when leaving at the end of a day of filming and interviews, with reports stating that lower grade contestants can wait up to six hours on stand-by before they can leave.
“They have no choice but to do as they’re told, because if they express their disagreement with how things are run, it could play against their favor. The contestants are desperate for this chance to make themselves known. It’s a shame that their hard work is being distorted like this.”
In response to these allegations, Mnet have issued a statement saying that the grading system is a way to organise the large number of people and that everyone is taking care of each other. No comments were given in regards to the issue of meals, bathroom breaks, or transportation.
“There are a lot of people, so we are moving around in groups. The trainees are taking care of each other and engaging in friendly competition. Filming is going quite smoothly, with nothing for viewers to worry about.
It’s difficult to confirm anything at this time. The first episode will air in the first week of April, and there will be a press conference, so please ask any questions then.”
What are your thoughts on this "Produce 101 Season 2" controversy?
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