Baby Boo was a group that debuted in 2015 and went through a bunch of member changes, one of them being Dabin (now Dayul) leaving in August of 2018. Around 10 months later, Dayul and fellow former member Daon went on MBC‘s True Story Expedition to explain their hardships and their desire to terminate their contracts with the company. They explained how despite their work they were never paid, their living conditions were terrible, and they were expected to pay expenses as well.
Daon said, “We did more than 500 events during those three to four years, but we weren’t paid even once, so we left. I thought, ‘We’re doing these events, so why are our lives so difficult?’ But he told us to, so…”
According to their contract, in the case of a profit, they were supposed to receive 40 percent. Not only had they never received payment, they also had to pay for their own vocal and dance lessons, stage outfits, gym fees, and even treatments they were told to undergo by the agency head (such as shots that would make their faces look smaller or to help them lose weight). They had been paying for these things from money from their parents, rather than support from the agency.
The members shared their poor living conditions on the show, explaining that they lived in a basement unit where the gas and water bills often weren’t paid. “We had to go to an event but the hot water didn’t work, so we went to the nearby barbershop and asked if we could wash our hair there just this once,” Daon explained. They took the crew to outside where they used to live, and also shared a photo that showed that the safety bars on the window had large enough gaps that a person could enter. Since their rent and utilities were often late, they kept their things packed in case they were evicted all of a sudden.
They also got a lawyer, who said they were signed to an unfair contract, and the show spoke with other former trainees/idols under the company who said they suffered similarly.
So that’s horrible enough, but now Dayul further expanded on her experience as an idol in an interview with the YouTube channel Update Olympics. She explains that the members of Baby Boo were forced to endure sexual harassment and assault from event officials, and that when they told their company CEO, he told them to deal with it because they give money.
In the video, Dayull confessed that she and her members even had no choice but to endure sexual harassment from event officials who came to take photos of them. According to the former idol, the event officials would come to take photos with the girls and would grab their butt or touch their inner thighs. When they voiced the issue to their agency CEO, he responded with, “Don’t push away their hands because they’re the people who can get you to come to other events.” Dayull also recalled that there were event officials who would try to kiss the girls, but they had to endure the physical contact because their agency’s CEO instructed them to bear these actions so that they could be called for the next event. Dayull explained that all the members did what the CEO told them because they just loved performing and being on stage.
She also recounted her aforementioned experiences within the company.
Honestly, I wish I could say I was surprised, but there are definitely enough past cases to sadly almost expect stories like this (just that they don’t commonly get told), and it’s especially believable as their CEO has always seemed like a terrible person given his treatment of the group.
Rather depressing to think this might be relatively close to the norm in terms of how event organizers treat groups and why they might be so willing to pay the fees, especially for those groups with less ability to say no.