The 2020 MAMA is embroiled in another controversy as numerous idols and agency officials revealed the extremely poor conditions they had to record their performances in.

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The filming for the pre-recorded stages for 2020 MAMA took place at the Paju CJ ENM Content World, which is still under construction. According to Paju City Hall, only 30-40% of the venue is complete at the moment, as the goal is for the venue to be completed in 2023.

The latest controversy behind 2020 MAMA is the excess fine and black dust that was floating around the pre-recording areas.

I filmed the pre-recorded stages in the new building. But I heard one of the staff members scream.

Their white mask turned black because of the dust.

— Anonymous idol

CJ ENM is attempting to construct one of the largest studio centers in Korea, with a total size of 37,406 square meters (402,634 square feet). Out of the 10 studios that are planned, two had been temporarily completed — studio 5 and studio 6.

Due to the construction, the area was full of forklifts and dump trucks. The parking lot where some groups had to was wasn’t even paved — it was just a dirt and sand floor. Signs such as beware of snakes and caution fire hazard were posted throughout the area. Groups couldn’t open their car windows due to the amount of dust and sand that would fly in.

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During the pre-recording process, studio 5 was used as the waiting room and studio 6 was used as the stage. Pre-recordings were going on since early December, with some groups visiting multiple times to complete all of their necessary filming. During that time, conditions were again, poor for the idols.

When I pre-recorded for the show, they continued to do construction everywhere.

It was difficult because dust kept blowing around. My throat was especially sore.

— Anonymous idol

Dispatch later visited the construction site to discover that the temporary studios 5 and 6 were now demolished, as construction continued on. At the site of where studio 6 used to stand, sand and dust kept attacking the Dispatch reporter’s eyes, mouth, and nose. This situation was also corroborated by an agency official.

The dust inside the studio during the pre-recording was at a serious level. I scratched at and in my nose because it was itchy, and black dust came out.

The masks we wore due to guidelines also turned black.

— Anonymous agency official

The exposure the idols faced were even greater, as they didn’t wear masks on stage while performing. CJ ENM stated that they were comfortable with the conditions at the studio.

At the time of the recordings, the air conditioning system was fully activated.

We also had spray trucks being used to try to reduce dust.

— CJ ENM official

However, some girl groups were pre-recording their performances even on the morning of 2020 MAMA, raising the question of whether there was even enough time to remove dust from the studio.

There were pre-recordings up to the day of the live broadcast. After that  they had to change it to a live stage set.

I have doubts on whether they would be able to remove any dust from the studio after the pre-recordings.

— Anonymous agency official

According to Dispatch, an investigation into the fine dust levels at the site were conducted in 2019, but was not checked again before 2020 MAMA recordings.

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The idols felt like props for the stage.

When you think about real singers, they shouldn’t pre-record in such an environment.

In other words, they just performed a construction site stage.

— Anonymous agency official