After starting a scandal with WANNA ONE‘s Kang Daniel over a role-playing fanfiction and then demanding an apology from CJ E&M and YMC Entertainment, Yuk Ji Dam now released a 90% explanation, 10% apology statement about what’s been going on.
“Hello. This is Yuk Ji Dam. I signed an artist contract on December 31, 2014 when ‘Unpretty Rapstar 1’ started and the hip hop and R&B department was first being formed, and I started filming. Although I was on an artist contract, I filmed without the support of a manager, hair and makeup, and even one of those common CJ practice rooms. I was told they would let me release an album when it ended, so I endured the difficult filming and waited. However, after it ended, they only obsessed over performances at events and all sorts of featuring in tracks, and I also went to events with my father to perform. Afterwards, I did get a road manager, but it wasn’t long before I learned the truth. Heize, Truedy, Ash-B, and Kasper, who signed contracts for ‘Unpretty Rapstar 2’ in advance, got two managers, and the procedures of getting practice rooms, studios, and even permission to get my hair dyed were so difficult. However, I didn’t give up and worked hard on making music at home. After creating tracks, I brought the recordings to the director, who only said ‘It’s still not enough,’ and ‘It’s lacking.’ During that time, the broadcasting department Mnet was very busy with ‘Unpretty Rapstar 2’ filming. I was just left deserted, but I was personally able to get in contact with my role model HyunA and feature in her song. However, even that valuable stage, I was unable to perform with HyunA due to communication issues with my former manager. Because I am young, I endured again and again, and plans for a collaboration album with Starship fell through due to [the company’s] internal problems. Meanwhile, Mnet, which was producing ‘Unpretty Rapstar 3,’ gave me a sweet offer. ‘Since you have been forgotten a lot by the public, if you go on for the last time, we will give you the albums, music videos, everything that you want.’ They were saying that they would let me go from the company if the promise wasn’t kept. However, that promise wasn’t kept, of course. The day before the first episode of ‘Unpretty Rapstar 3,’ I was called to the headquarters of CJ E&M in Sangam, and in the office, the director said, ‘What you filmed with honesty was good, but it was just right for malicious editing, so you were maliciously edited. So it was difficult to get rid of the edited version and make you look good.’ I thought a company wouldn’t kill their own family. On the day of the first broadcast, the ‘Unpretty Rapstar 3’ contestants gathered at my home in celebration, and while watching, they asked me, ‘Aren’t you CJ? How could they edit it like this?’ After everyone went home, I cried a lot alone. However, the director didn’t answer the phone at that time. The next day, I was having such a tough time that I was going to run away somewhere, but I received a call that said, ‘We won’t ever edit like that again. Sorry,’ but in the end, the editing continued the same way.”
So that basically tackles her issues with CJ E&M, which is rather typical company stuff and, if true, something I think most would support her on if she led with that.
“‘Unpretty Rapstar 3’ ended, but rather than my album plans, CJ was in a hurry to push Heize. They ignored my tracks, and no matter how much I sent them songs through email, I was just told to wait. Afterwards, the director went on a trip to the United States and was unable to be contacted for a month. As I felt that I was so wronged, I called Heize and complained. In the phone call, she said, ‘I know you have waited for a long time,’ ‘I also have lots of problems with the company regarding payments,’ ‘I filmed the music video for ‘Star’ but want to leave the company and release it,’ ‘You should go to the company first and meet the company head.’ She put me at ease, saying that if I go, she’ll also go the next day and told me not to worry. As soon as I woke up the next day, I took a taxi and arrived at the Sangam headquarters at about 9 a.m. The head did not want to meet me, but I waited in front of his door, and eventually, we talked for about an hour. However, the conclusion was, ‘Now that I’ve heard your story, I also have to hear the director’s. I will contact you after.’ However, I was not contacted by Heize, the head, or anyone.”
Okay, here she basically just throws Heize under the bus, like she did previously with Ailee, Jessi, and Jenny House. It’s hard for me to believe it’s just coincidental that all of the people she used to be close with, including those who have nothing to do with CJ E&M, turned out to be terrible people who don’t support friends or something. And only to her.
Quite frankly, were CJ E&M even wrong to push Heize? Regardless of what you feel about her music, she’s been a breakout star, something that Yuk Ji Dam was never likely to be.
“My young self became rumored as a weird kid among CJ and the industry. I even met a lawyer alone and tried getting consulted, but the conclusion was just, ‘It’s difficult to win against a large company.’ I eventually fell to depression. For about six months from January through late June of 2017, I only stayed at home and cut off contact with everyone. In late June of 2017, two of my high school friends covered my front door with letters written on post-its. When I heard about it, I even lied saying that I am in Bangkok. However, after my friends left, I gained courage as I took off the post-its and read them. I went outside the doors of my home a week later, and I went on with life as if everything was okay. The conflict with my company was so bad that I found all my work alone, and afterwards, even support for lessons ended. In the afternoon, I worked at the showroom of a select shop, and in the evening, I worked at a hot dog restaurant in Apgujeong Rodeo while receiving about 10,000 won (approximately $9) per hour, and my health deteriorated. I was removed from the company dorm, and my father got me a one-room officetel, but CJ still wouldn’t terminate my contract until that point and continued silently. Afterwards, I even went to a psychiatric clinic in Daegu that was introduced to me by a close singer friend.”
She’s now talking about the decline of her mental health, which is obviously terrible.
“During those periods, CJ did not block the rumors among the employees about my past relationship with Kang Daniel. Celebrities, producers, stylists, models, or staff, people I met for the first time would bring up Kang Daniel and ask, ‘Didn’t you date him?’ and would say he’s like this or that, continuing painful times for me. I went to LA for a performance, and I don’t know who asked them to do so, but many people followed me around and said in English, ‘Don’t you have a boyfriend?’ ‘Mr. Kang is looking for you.’ ‘You have to come to Korea with us.’ Switching cars several times, they took me to their homes. I was so scared that on the streets of LA, for the first time in my life, I fainted, and my friend found me.”
What … were they supposed to do, though? She did date him (which she clarified again) and a guy who was unknown became mega-popular, so she got questions about it.
“Afterwards, I continuously attempted to contact, CJ, YMC, Kang Daniel, Ha Sung Woon, but no one answered. Meanwhile, in blog posts shown to me by friend, there was a story written with words I used to say in everyday life and with similar dates of celebrities I met frequently as friends. I was so scared and lacking judgment when I posted on Instagram. My father was then worried, and I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for about a month. Mental examinations, brainwave examinations, I got it all, and the result came out to be bipolar disorder. To conclude, I feel very apologetic about causing harm to many celebrities.”
Hopefully this is the end of the mess, though I’m still unclear why exactly most of this drama was necessary. Mainly it seems like she’s talking about all this to get back at CJ E&M, which is completely fine, but dragging others into it only distracted people from talking about her problems with them and was rather unnecessary.
Of course, as many speculated, Yuk Ji Dam has been having mental health issues, and that’s likely the reason for her seemingly odd behavior. So hopefully now she can get the help she needs and things get better going forward.