The Produce series behind groups such as Wanna One and IZ*ONE has been under hot water recently due to their guilty admittance of voter fraud and manipulation. While the controversy has simmered down, it doesn’t look like it’ll be ending anytime soon. Two former contestants recently appeared in a YouTube video to reveal how they knew there wasn’t something right about the series.

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| CJ E&M

Go Yujin, who was a contestant on Produce 48 and Lee Insoo, who was a contestant on Produce 101 Season 2, sat down with Ripple S‘s YouTube channel to talk about their experiences on the survival series. The interview starts with the two contestants talking about how they were chosen for the audition program. Yes, you read that correctly. They both revealed that to be a contestant on the audition show, you had to be chosen. Lee Insoo shared first and while he didn’t have to audition to be on the show, he wouldn’t have made it without connections.

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Someone I knew asked me randomly if I had any interest in the Produce 101 series. I had previous experience on a different audition program and while I knew it would lead to mental distress, I decided to go for it once again.

—  Lee Insoo

He shared that the show actually does not accept auditions from the public, but rather, casting directors from CJ Entertainment go out and look for trainees to put onto the show. With that information, he also shared some very honest tea with the viewers about how the casting directors got paid.

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The casting directors don’t get paid just for bringing trainees. However, if the trainee they bring makes it onto the show, then they get paid. Then if the trainee continues to rank well and stay on the show, they get paid again.

— Lee Insoo

Afterwards, Go Yujin, who went on the show as an independent trainee, reveals her experience on how she got casted for the show, which is different from Insoo’s experience.

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I had a label at the time and was actually part of a project group but I got cut because my image didn’t fit. My label told me that I had two options: either I go on Produce 48 or I can go home. So I auditioned with 3 other girls and I was the only one that made it through the first round.

— Go Yujin

Go Yujin continued on to share what happened after she passed her first round audition and the next steps she had to go through.

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I was on the season with Japanese contestants so we were required to speak Japanese. So I spoke all of the broken Japanese that I knew, “hello my name is Go Yujin” and “these are the talents that I possess”. Then I danced and sang for them and I passed.

— Go Yujin

The two former contestants continued on with their interview and it was here that Lee Insoo shared the truth behind unpopular people during his time on the series. What made the entire story even more riveting is the fact that Go Yujin also heard about this particular person and acknowledged everything as the truth.

There was this one friend who was an outcast but it’s because he has no manners or respect for others. He was an outcast at his label as well and because he was so disliked that his company made him go on the series. But he ended up being disliked on the show too because all of his terrible qualities were revealed to everyone. He’s a terrible person.

— Lee Insoo

The Produce tea doesn’t end here because this is when things got real. The two former contestants revealed their thoughts about whether or not they knew the show was manipulated.

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While you guys were filming for the series, did you guys think the show was manipulated at all?

— Ripple S Production Team

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Without hesitation, Go Yujin answered,

Yes. I really felt it.

— Go Yujin

She elaborated why she answered that way with an honest and heartbreaking realization.

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I felt it because I realized that they (Produce production team) didn’t have any interest in me. They only filmed who they wanted to film.

— Go Yujin

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It got to a point where on season 3, people would just go around freely saying ‘it’s fraud, it’s manipulated’. Even between the trainees, we would say ‘oh it’s probably going to be manipulated again anyways.’ Most of the Korean trainees went on the show not expecting much because of this.

— Go Yujin

Lee Insoo agreed with Go Yujin that he felt the show was fraudulent. He shared his experience by telling a specific story about the famous Produce ghost prank.

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We had a segment on our season where we did a ghost prank on the trainees. From that prank, there were some friends that gained a lot positive momentum from it. Some of them got nicknames and things like that. However, not all 101 trainees got an opportunity to film that prank.

— Lee Insoo

He continued on to share how from the start, it just wasn’t fair to everyone and it was clear that there were favorites.

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Either film everyone who is there and pick the best reactions or don’t send all the trainees to film the show. If you’re not going to treat us fairly and give the same opportunities…the friends that didn’t get to film that segment, they didn’t even get the chance. It wasn’t fair to them.

— Lee Insoo

produce
| CJ E&M

Wow. These two former contestants did not hold back their honest thoughts and really spilled the tea for their viewers. We wish these two the best of luck in all their future endeavors. Watch the full interview with Go Yujin and Lee Insoo down below.