AceShowbiz - South Korean band The East Light has accused a producer of physically abusing them. On Friday, October 19, the band's leader Lee Seok Cheol held a press conference describing the violent treatments they often received from former agency producer Yoon Young Il.
"From 2015 through 2017, I was habitually hit by Yoon Young Il PD with a baseball bat," Lee Seok Cheol tearfully said. "I was constantly told that if I told my parents, he would kill me. My younger brother [and band member] Lee Seung Hyun was beaten while locked up in a studio on the 5th floor. Fellow member Lee Eun Sung bled many times after being beaten with a bat."
He went on accusing their agency Media Line Entertainment CEO Kim Chang Hwan of not taking actions to stop the producer from abusing them. "The label's chief director Kim Chang Hwan did not prevent these actions, but only commented, 'Go easy'. Director Lee Jung Hyun made us go on broadcasts with our wounds untreated," he continued.
Lee Seok Cheol added, "My younger brother and bassist Lee Seung Hyun is currently receiving psychiatric treatment after developing trauma from these experiences." He went on sharing, "Even now, it is difficult as I was threatened with the lives of the other members on the line. I was abused with guitar cables around my neck, getting choked to the point of bruising and scarring if I made mistakes. My parents saw my scars, but I wasn't able to consult them due to the threats." He also said that his brother Lee Seung Hyun "once had his own food thrown in his face."
Stating that he "could not sit and watch any longer," Lee Seok Cheol decided to go public with the alleged abuse. His lawyer Cheong Ji Seok said that Media Line had ignored previous pleas not to repeat the violence and fire the said producer. Instead, Lee Seung Hyun has been dispelled from the band allegedly after complaining about the issue. Now, the brothers plan to file criminal charges against the company's CEO and the former producer.
Following the press conference, Lee Seok Cheol told JTBC's "News Room" that the accused producer would choke him with a guitar string when he made small mistakes like missing a note or failing to keep up. He also revealed that the agency CEO threatened them if they went public with the issue.
In an audio recording obtained by JTBC, the CEO is heard saying, "Once you put things into my hands, you just have to leave it even if I beat you to death... Imagine making it to the news (with abuse) as a celebrity. You guys wouldn't have anywhere to stand. And who would want to take the kids with issues? You shouldn't blow things up. You shouldn't. Your mom and dad will be in more pain. It'll be 10 times more painful."
Media Line has released a statement in response to the abuse allegations. Denying that he was involved in the alleged abuse, Kim Chang Hwan said, "I am strongly aware of my faults and apologize profusely for what has arisen because I was unable to properly manage the staff." He added, "As I watched Lee Seok Cheol's press conference, my heart ached as much as it did when I first found out a year and four months ago that the members had been victims of assault."
"I've also never encouraged or provided orders to abuse anyone. This includes when it came to guiding the members of The East Light. I will accept the criticism for my behavior and wrongdoing. I will reflect and try to resolve the conflicts with a sincere mindset," Kim Chang Hwan continued.
Meanwhile, Media Line Entertainment admitted Kim Chang Hwan sometimes got aggressive when talking with The East Light members, but "it was to help them continue doing music."