Since brothers Lee Seung Hyun and Lee Seok Cheol accused people around The East Light of verbal abuse and physical assault back in October, their company CEO has defended himself but admitted abuse of the boys happened at the hands producer Moon Young Il (who is now in jail) and the band has broken up.
Now Media Line Entertainment held a press conference to push back against the accusations by the brothers. CEO Kim Chang Hwan and President Lee Jung Hyun both attended, and so did The East Light members Jung Sa Gang and Lee Eun Sung.
Kim Chang Hwan began, “For the past two months, we diligently participated in police investigations. However, I cannot get rid of the perception that the investigation is biased following public opinion due to the accuser’s one-sided press conference rather than the truth and essence of this incident. We will provide the exact grounds and explain the truth that haven’t been revealed to the media.” Media Line president Lee Jung Hyun then continued, “Since the members started as trainees, producer Moon Young Il acted as the teacher exclusively for the members. At that time, the members understood that they will definitely receive physical punishment when being scolded for not following what they promised or did something wrong.”
It’s certainly interesting to begin things by claiming the company’s not really at fault because teens agreed beforehand to be beaten by old dudes or something.
Anyway, Lee Jung Hyun continued by saying that the parents of the brothers already knew that they were being abused because Moon Young Il asked them to apply ointment on injuries and had at one point discussed physical punishment with them, apparently while talking about how Lee Seung Hyun was causing “lots of problems”.
Presenting screenshots of their conversations, Lee Jung Hyun said, “The next day at about 4 a.m., CEO Kim Chan Hwan talked to Lee Seung Hyun’s father and mother via KakaoTalk. Lee Seung Hyun’s father apologized for the trouble he caused and promised to educate him. Lee Seung Hyun’s mother was upset about producer Moon Young Il’s severe physical punishment, but she said she does not hate him and seemed to forgive him. Kim Chang Hwan said he scolded producer Moon Young Il a lot and consoled the two.” He added, “Lee Seung Hyun’s father met producer Moon Young Il and consoled him as he hugged him. He once again consoled him via text message and requested for him to be a good teacher to the brothers. Media Line did not aid producer Moon Young Il’s assault at all.”
The mother is the only one that comes out of this looking sane, honestly.
Lee Jung Hyun went on to accuse their father of causing most of the injuries the brothers suffered, with the two band members agreeing because Lee Seok Cheol allegedly told them that Lee Seung Hyun was beat by his father for causing trouble. They went on to make awful suspect statements about their company’s CEO and President.
Jung Sa Gang then went on to state, “My heart hurt as the people I am closest to and love the most including CEO Kim Chang Hwan were getting hurt after this incident because of what is not true. Our contracts have been terminated, but we cannot sit still. We attended today to help at least a bit in revealing the truth.”
Like I dunno, the whole thing just sounds coached to me.
On the producer Moon Young Il and CEO Kim Chang Hwan, Lee Eun Sung said the following: “They are like a teacher and father. Both of our homes are outside of Seoul. The CEO let us sleep over and cooked for us. As we live in Seoul alone, he took care of us a lot and guided us. I am very thankful for him as he led us down a good road. In a way, producer Moon Young Il was like a fool. He wanted us to succeed, and he only thought of us. He even took out loans from the bank to treat us to meals. He didn’t want to let us starve. He was a fool who only thought of The East Light. In the early days of our debut and when we were trainees, we received physical punishment. We did not get hit tens of times or get locked up like Seok Cheol and Seung Hyun testified. The physical punishment was only at about the level of getting our palms [hit] like we did at school in the past. Seung Hyun says I got hit until my head was bleeding. At that time, Seung Hyun caused trouble, so we were all getting scolded. Then I’m not sure why, but I could not hold in my laughter. The producer asked why I am laughing when we are getting scolded, so he just sort of flicked my head. It really did not hurt, but my head started bleeding. We all don’t know how that happened.”
So physical punishment definitely happened and people were bleeding, but no biggie, I guess.
Jung Sa Gang continued: “My thoughts are the same as Eun Sung’s. When we entered the agency, we were really young, so we quarreled a lot and also had good times. The producer’s dream was also to be a singer, so when we were lazy with our practicing, he severely scolded us and got upset. There was physical punishment. However, the reports made it seem like he is a monster. My heart hurt at the reports that are different from the truth. The CEO, Seok Cheol, and Seung Hyun all watched movies and had fun together. Until the incident occurred, we had no idea that they were suing. Seok Cheol came out and acted like he was talking in representation of us, but I just could not understand it. Honestly, it made me angry. I think it could be described as a sense of betrayal. For three years, Seok Cheol and Seung Hyun followed the CEO really well. Seok Cheol even wrote, ‘My second father CEO Kim Chang Hwan’ on his social media. However, as they suddenly turned and took power, we wanted to speak up, but it didn’t seem people would listen. It feels unfair.”
I don’t blame these two at all, but it definitely is giving me cult vibes.
Oh yeah, that guitar string choking incident? Just a prank, bro.
Regarding Seok Cheol’s testimony that the producer wrapped a guitar string around his neck and threatened him, Lee Eun Sung said, “We were playing around after watching the movie ‘Whiplash,’ and Seok Cheol wrapped the guitar string around his neck himself. Then producer Moon Young Il slightly played around with him. We were all happily playing around as we practiced, but it made me very sad as it was distorted into a time that was like hell.”
I’m not gonna pretend to know the details of what actually happened, but from what they themselves are admitting, basically all the adults involved in this seem to be a mess (except maybe the mother of the brothers). And while I’m not saying the other two members are lying (and definitely not blaming them for anything), the way they talk about the adults in charge of them as they defend their physical abuse is suspicious to me. Like the excuses they’re providing sound an awful lot like “they fell down the stairs” type of things.
Furthermore, even after this press conference, the company still isn’t really denying the abuse happened, but are kinda trying to gently walk back the severity of it while trying to re-frame this as primarily a case of parental abuse and bratty kids.
Guess we’ll probably find out more as authorities dig into it, but something about this press conference stinks, especially when all we know for sure is a bunch of kids who were barely teens were physically abused by adults.