“Sadfishing” Promo Backfires: K-Pop Fans Criticize Rookie Girl Group’s Producer For “Debt-Dol” Reputation

“He’s basically labeling them even before they get a chance to earn a name for themselves…”

Rookie idol mimiirose successfully made their official debut on September 16, 2022—making them one of the newest “4th Gen” girl groups to be active in the world of K-Pop. Showcasing the members’ impressive skills and visuals, the debut music video “Rose” quickly gained 1.1M+ views since its reveal.

mimiirose | @kpop_sbs/Twitter

Unfortunately though, according to a report from the Korean media outlet Hankyung, “successful” and “impressive” are not the first things that come to mind when K-Pop fans think of mimiirose. And for that, mimiirose’s producer and veteran vocalist Im Chang Jung (also known as Lim Chang Jung) is facing a bit of public criticism.

Im Chang Jung | iMBC

As the head producer of YES IM Entertainment, Im Chang Jung has been ceaseless in his promotion of mimiirose, dating back to before the group’s debut.

I’m sorry the debut has been postponed so long. On September 16, mimiirose will get to debut and finally see the light! You all are the world’s most beautiful and gorgeous flowers.

— Im Chang Jung on Instagram

Rather than highlighting the members, however, Im Chang Jung focused on sharing the fact that producing the group cost him a fortune. In an episode of Radio Star, Im Chang Jung revealed that he “sold off ₩20.0 billion KRW (about $14.0 million USD) worth of land and copyrights” to develop and support the group.

Im Chang Jung on “Radio Star,” talking about his debt. | MBC

It costs a lot of money to produce a girl group. So I had to sell much of my land. I also sold the copyrights for about 160 of my songs, including the hit ‘Soju Hanjan.’ The members accumulated a lot of skills, while I accumulated a lot of debt.

— Im Chang Jung on “Radio Star”

Even after mimiirose’s debut, Im Chang Jung continued “sadfishing” the fans in a YouTube series by 1theK—reminding not only the viewers but also the members that “a lot of money went into producing” the group.

| 1theK/YouTube

While it is evident in the video that Im Chang Jung and mimiirose have a solid relationship as the head producer and rookie girl group, K-Pop fans agreed that him “playing the victim” is not doing the girl group any good.

Wouldn’t it have been better for Im Chang Jung to wait until mimiirose debuted and garnered enough attention on their own before he revealed that he produced them with all of his life savings? That piece of background information would have highlighted the group in a much more positive light, had he gone with something like, ‘These members are so unique and so talented that I really didn’t mind selling off my land and my music to support.’ It’s too bad he decided to taint their debut with his sob story about being ₩20.0 billion KRW (about $14.0 million USD) down.

— Hankyung Reporter Woo Bin

Following the Hankyung report, some criticized the producer for “framing” mimiirose as a “debt-dol” when, as the head producer, he should be promoting the positive aspects of the members—especially when mimiirose is an attractive, well-rounded, funny, and talented group.

| theqoo

  • “Oh, bummer. He could’ve simply mentioned that he produced a girl group and let them shine in their own way. If he really wanted to talk about his investment, he should’ve waited until after the group debuted and made a name for themselves… Both Im Chang Jung and RAIN should stick to what they know how to do. Like, producing a whole idol group is an entirely different thing, sigh.”
  • “Seriously, though. Back off, man… The members seem quite talented. Just step away and watch quietly.”
  • “I agree. He shouldn’t have framed a newly-debuted rookie girl group as the reason of his debt. He needs to stop blabbering.”
  • “I heard from the people who watched Same Bed, Different Dreams that his wife is much better at handling business… which seems to be the case, haha. His wife needs to take the wheel. I think that might be the best thing to do for the business.”
  • “It’s not like Im Chang Jung himself comes with a reputation of being fresh or trendsetting. So if he keeps promoting the group by playing the victim, he’s basically labeling them as ‘debt-dols’ even before they get a chance to earn a name for themselves. What is his problem? Besides, it has been ages since sadfishing went out of style on the marketing front…”

Watch mimiirose’s debut music video for “Rose” below!

Source: Hankyung and theqoo