Korean boyband claim they were abused

SEOUL • They were hit with baseball bats and iron rods.

The accusations came out last Friday after Lee Seok-cheol, leader of South Korean boyband The East Light, spilled the beans at a press conference about the physical abuse they had suffered from their management agency's producer and chief executive officer.

Media reports had surfaced earlier over the ill-treatment from a producer identified as "A" and Media Line Entertainment boss Kim Chang-hwan.

According to The Korea Herald, Lee said: "As the leader of The East Light and as one of the K-pop artists who lead Korean culture, I could no longer tolerate the pain that our members were going through.

"We decided to hold a press conference in the hope of eliminating child abuse and violation of human rights in the K-pop industry."

He added: "From 2015 to last year, the producer repeatedly made us get on the floor as he hit our buttocks with baseball bats and iron bars in the practice room or recording studio.

"He even threatened to kill us if we told our parents."

Lee, whose brother was a bandmate, said the latter "was locked in the recording studio and the producer hit his head, thighs, arms and buttocks many times".

"His head had bloody wounds and bruises. He has been traumatised after all the threats and violence and is undergoing psychotherapy."

The brother was fired from the group after he voiced grievances about "A" to the CEO.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2018, with the headline 'Korean boyband claim they were abused'. Print Edition | Subscribe