Unless you were living under a rock (or simply not online) there is a good chance you have heard about a Kpop group The East Light and their extremely heartbreaking story.
Being a kpop idol is an extremely demanding job physically and mentally. Aside from what The East Light has to withstand for a spot in the limelight they also had to withstand physical, mental and verbal abuse from a producer who shall be named A for now.
The group, The East Light, has minor members but that didn’t mean the producer would be any less harsh. On October 18, news outlet Xportsnews reported that the members of The East Light have been verbally abused by Media Line Entertainment CEO Kim Chang Hwan and physically abused by producer “A” since 2015 until now.
The report goes on to explain that the members were slapped on their faces and the producer even allegedly used a baseball bat. It was so bad that the members had bruises on their buttocks and suffered bleeding.
It was even reported that CEO Kim Chang Hwan reportedly allowed these actions knowing what was going on. One member had to receive treatment because of physical and psychological pain.
Following that report, netizens didn’t like it one bit and were extremely distressed by the description of abuse. The agency went on to release an initial statement in which they apologized at first, admitted they were aware of Producer A physical abuse towards members and said,
“It was approximately one year and four months ago that we first became aware of The East Light’s executive producer’s acts of physical abuse.”
They even said that the producer has submitted his resignation. In their official first statement, they explain that CEO Kim Chang Hwan would treat the members like his children and would never instigate pain or suffering on them.
Of course, that statement didn’t fly well with the general public.
It was then revealed that one of the East Light Members would be holding a press conference talking about the abuse and even announced they would be taking legal actions.
Leader and member Lee Seok Cheol attended the press conference to tell the group’s side of the story. He broke down in tears and talked in horrific details about what had happened.
“From 2015 to 2017, the producer (A) repeatedly made us get on the floor hit our buttocks with baseball bats and iron bars in the practice room or in the recording studio. He even threatened to kill us if we ever told our parents.”
He even talked about more grim details about what happened to his younger brother who suffered such serious wounds and bruises that he’s currently taking psychotherapy treatment.
The English press conference:
He had attended the press conference with his lawyer who then explained that his younger brother Lee Seung Hyun was forced to leave after demanding better treatment from the agency; his parents didn’t know and only found out the full truth after pleading with their child to tell them everything that happened.
In response, the CEO released another statement in which he apologized again but said that he did discipline them but never committed verbal abuse or assault.
He said that for the remaining four members of the group he will try reasoning and will work hard to solve the conflict. on top of that, he promised to take legal action against those who spread false exaggerated information.
Following their second statement, the CEO was hit and his reputation took another dive when JTBC released an audio recording of him speaking to former member Lee Seok Cheol.
Here is the full JTBC news coverage:
In the recording, the former member confronts the CEO and says he plans on going ahead with a lawsuit and letting the world know of what the members have been suffering from.
From the voice recording, you could tell he knew about the abuse and told the member “Imagine making it to the news (with abuse) as a celebrity. You guys wouldn’t have anywhere to stand. Who would take a kid with problems?”
The conversation has also reportedly heated according to JTBC.
Following the release of that recording file, the agency and CEO kept silence and didn’t return with a counter-statement.
The East Light members are all young; the youngest is born in 2003 making him a minor, the oldest member is born in 2000.
The group debuted with the single “Holla” on 3rd November 2016. There are currently four remaining members.
In response, fans made a petition (here is the link) to the blue house of South Korea and collected signatures of people demanding justice for the boys. The petition has more than 163,000 signatures so far.
For The Blue House to release an official response, the petition must reach 200,000 signatures in a month. Fans hope to get the government involved so the CEO and the producer would be punished properly.
Both national and international Kpop fans are furious by the news, everyone is now advocating for the group’s safety and for the punishment of the CEO and Producer A.
As a Kpop fan, I am disgusted by the news and the horrible treatment those young boys received for having the dream of debuting and succeeding as idols.
I am sharing this story and hope that you can help spread it so that Kpop fans know of these poor idols’ sufferings and sign the petition to get the Blue House involved.
Hopefully, the members receive justice.