The day after Shukan Bunshun covered the story exposing former Nonno Satake as a high end escort, Rino Sashihara, the main producer of the group =LOVE and ≠ME, publicly apologized for the scandal.
In a video that has now been removed from their YouTube channel, Sashihara commented on the situation
I apologize immensely for this week’s magazine publication and the subsequent concern caused by it. Please note that the facts as stated in the article are incredibly unnuanced, and so management is looking into the situation. As for the girl in question, as she is already graduated and retiring from the entertainment industry, please refrain from publishing any further coverage about her.Rino Sashihara
The group’s leader Anna Yamamoto also commented, although I will refrain from posting that part of the coverage as their management company has actually gone and asked for all additional detail and articles to be fully removed regarding this apology.
In fact, it is quite likely that this was only meant for =LOVE fan club members, as noted by Sashihara‘s comment on her public twitter.
This division between how the fans feel – that is, the reaction of the fans, their concern and worries – versus the typical outrage porn of the general Japanese public is incredibly like Sashihara and her comments in the past. It is also incredibly like her to trust that her and other idol fans would understand the circumstances in a way that the general public would not.