If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that back during the beginning, I wrote a lengthy post about ZE:A and my belief that they are underrated. Two years later, I still hold that belief. However, this isn’t about that. This is about the sad situation the group has been in. As you know, Lee Hoo unleashed a slew of accusatory tweets on his Twitter. Here are my (additional) thoughts on the situation. You can read the original, proper version of my views posted over on Seoulbeats. ~~Andy
Just to recap the allegations (some are inferred):
- Initial “slave” contract (12 years) changed to 9 years (including military service), with profits split 70% to CEO and 30% to the group.
- Multiple instances of the leader being slapped by the CEO
- Possible assault of other members
- Alluding to the CEO using Taeheon as a pawn in gaining more money from MMA. (Essentially, letting him get beaten badly by a veteran fighter for ratings, and maybe also encouraging the other fighter to do so)
- Siwan and other members going through intense emotional despair
- Lying by the company and KBS’ Dream Team regarding Lee Hoo’s promotion-halting injury two years ago
- Television appearances being bought
- Other bad behavior by the CEO of Star Empire and other agencies
Humans are their own worst enemy and destruction. Some will willfully destroy another person for the sake of a dollar and power. This is blatantly obvious in the world of K-pop. The sheer amount of drama that comes out of the industry speaks to how little life can be valued. People missing promotions due to illness (and being hospitalized because of it), egregiously long work hours, extreme dieting, and lack of money for even basic necessities are just some of the accusations that artists make. I would also like to reiterate how most come in as CHILDREN. It’s appalling and horrifying.
This type of nonsense has got to stop. Those in the industry shouldn’t have to resort of public shaming and threats in order to be treated fairly. It should be basic principle. It’s also very saddening that some people only care about the situation for the entertainment factor. People love a juicy scandal, and simply wanted the dirt released, regardless of the damage it could do to innocent parties. Anybody who excuses such mistreatment should turn in their human card, because there is a clear lack of empathy and basic concern for their fellow man.
We, as fans, probably can’t do anything to help the situation. Companies won’t likely listen to anything we have to say. Even if we stop buying albums and merchandise in attempts to hurt the pockets of the company, we only end up hurting the artists themselves. At that point, they lose what little livelihood they have.
There’s also the cultural difference. From what we are shown, there does seem to be a line of acceptance in Korean culture regarding harsh treatment from higher ups. The chances of a huge Korean outcry are miniscule. Honestly, I hope I am VERY WRONG about Korea, and perhaps someone can clarify what is accepted or not. While those of us who are from Western places (and of course other non-Western locations), like the US, Canada, and Europe, are likely to be the ones who are having the intense disgust to the situation, we are the ones with the smallest voices. We don’t matter to companies, only our $$ does. If they did care an iota, they wouldn’t do stupid, offensive things constantly.
All I want is better, civilized treatment of artists. This isn’t just for my biases, either. EVERY ARTIST SHOULD BE TREATED WELL!! Yes, they have to work hard – we all do for our careers. But, that doesn’t include essentially making them abused and destitute. Think about putting yourself, or someone you love, in their shoes. Wouldn’t you want humane treatment?
Lee Hoo has put himself on the line for the sake of protecting the group. And, although it may not matter, we support him. Lee Hoo and ZE:A 화이팅!!