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Posted by yckim124 AKP STAFF 30 days ago

An agency demands $160,000 in compensation from a female trainee who quit due to poor health conditions

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A female trainee has been sued for quitting, according to DongA's exclusive report. 

In June 2017, a 21-year-old aspiring female signed with a small agency. The trainee suffered from vocal cord nodules and knee joint pain due to rigorous training that exceeded 10 hours a day. She was also diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. 

The trainee stated, "The agency affiliates verbally assaulted me and there were many days where I trained all day with only eating an egg and a chocolate bar."

Ultimately in July 2018, the trainee expressed the wish to quit with only a month away from her debut. The agency then sued the trainee and demanded a compensation of 180 million KRW (158,730 USD). The compensation is a sum of the costs for training, album production, dorm fee of 70 million KRW (61,728 USD), employee salary of 30 million KRW (26,455 USD), and mental distress of 50 million KRW (44,091 USD). 


The trainee received training with 8 other trainees for a year and a month without any payment. The 9 girls lived together in an apartment for about 2 months. The trainee expressed frustration at the compensation amount, and stated, "I think they demanded the yearly fee of all 9 trainees to me."

In the trainee's contract with the agency, there is a clause stating that the trainee must compensate all investment cost if she fails to proceed with her debut due to personal issues. The trainee has medical reports proving her illness and is eligible for an exemption if the agency used the standard contract. However, the standard contract is only recommended, and not mandatory for all entertainment agencies as of yet. 

In March, the Korea Fair Trade Commission demanded the 3 major entertainment agencies in South Korea to use the standard contract for their trainees. However, the law does not yet apply to small agencies. 

Meanwhile, a rep of the female trainee's agency stated, "Her claims are different from the truth. With objective evidence, we are waiting for the ruling by the court."
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46

borahae 30 days ago 21
30 days ago

61,728 USD for 2 months? did they live in a freaking Playboy mansion? the heck is wrong with the agency? and mental distress? the girl is suffering from depression and anxiety disorder, and you are trying to sue her for mental distress to you? get the F outa here...

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1

RyenLux 29 days ago 8
29 days ago

That's just one side of the story, though. We're not getting the whole story here. The agency may be assholes for exploiting a legal loophole and trying to get a hefty compensation by making up ridiculous reasons (according to the trainee), but as long as the contract is binding, she still has to pay up. For all we know, she may have withheld some information just to make herself look more like the victim.

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-1

borahae 29 days ago 7
29 days ago

did you not see the rent and "mental distress" charges? these 2 alone are a joke.

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Winston 24 days ago 1
24 days ago

The trainee received training with 8 other trainees for a year and a month without any payment.

you forgot to calculate the amount of expenses in that 13 months, in terms of training in vocals, dance and food and lodging, and then there is makeup artistes, stylists etc who are hired to do their hair and make up etc.

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0

borahae 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

and I'll ask the same exact question again since people NEVER read other comments: did you see the rent expenses? that does not sound reasonable. and emotional distress? gtfo. also, makeup and hair artists that work with idols receive coins for their service so dont even go there.

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-22

walkertexasrange 30 days ago 9
30 days ago

She could also be lying. Years of training and paying for lessons, recording songs, music video, mixing and mastering. And she quits 1 month before debuting? Anxiety and depression i called bullshit. She's taking the easy way out and saying she's sick. Think about the other members and staff members that put in years of work for her to quit 1 month is bullshit

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24

Phemys 30 days ago 3
30 days ago

9 members, debuted in august... isn't this about nature's yeolmae?

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9

kmspl 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

Yes, it's most likely about the group "Nature" that debuted with the song Allegro Cantabile on August 3. There are 9 members in the MV but they only had 8 members on stage.

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0

MeAnotherself 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

Most likely. She left the group in July.

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0

Toms_K_Trash 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

I also think it's Nature/the one who didn't debut. Anyways, no matter who it is, those contracts are always in discussion - but not in Korea. I start to wonder why Koreans like to treat their artists dirty, but then they expect singers to only love their fans. SK the land of the hypocrites?

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21

Cutie888 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

That amount of money they want from her is really unreasonable, it’s most likely they’re never gonna get it.

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14

cpttsubasa 30 days ago 9
30 days ago

Why isnt the agencies name mentioned? This should be a warning to other trainees not to ever join this company.

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10

DolceDubu 30 days ago 4
30 days ago

they should be exposed. the reality is there are lots of unethical companies in the k-pop industry, the system was made to be unethical. they scam young people to pay high debts whether they debut or not, they purposely spend lots of money and use it as a leverage against them being paid what they deserve, even if they debut and succeed, its a form of slavery.

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2

L_catzzz 29 days ago 3
29 days ago

Yup. Even the Big 3 have been using the same system until Korea Fair Trade Commission called them out this March. But it's still doesn't guarantee if they actually follows it.

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lyricaldancer10 30 days ago 2
30 days ago

They can’t say their name without proof. Other wise it’s defamation.

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Kurapikaaa 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

I think Phemys guessed it right. It's probably the group Nature. One of their member left shortly before their debut, they were 9 members and are now 8 members. This group also debuted in August 2018. Their label is n.CH Entertainment.

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13

kmspl 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

That's too much money to demand from one person and vocal cord nodules are no joke. How do they expect her to continue singing?

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10

Ninja_Poster 30 days ago 1
30 days ago

61,728$ that's about 4750$ a month if she lived there for thirteen months - hope it was a god damn castle.

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2

Queen_Sana 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

I doubt that they will give them castle lol this is so unfair to her way too much money they are asking for

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6

myma 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Mental distress? The company has mental distress?

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5

waleri 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

actually disappointing

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4

hiroonakamura 30 days ago 1
30 days ago

in most countries, the clause "the trainee must compensate all investment cost if she fails to proceed with her debut due to personal issues" would never hold up in court because it's an unfair clause.

I hope the south korean judicial system is the same

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1

L_catzzz 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Contracts is always unfair. It will always give the leverage/benefits to the ones that making the contract. From the company standpoint, they need a safety net from the risk of investments as well. Should they invest everything on the girl, but then she simply left because she want to pursue her studies and etc. after receiving trainings (skills & techniques) , they still need to cover the losses. The thing is, the statements in the contracts are too vague and hence can be manipulated towards their own gain more.

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2

lume90 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

That cost more than a lot of colleges.

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2

MidnightAtarian 30 days ago 3
30 days ago

Okay some of you need to educate yourselves on the business side of kpop. Training IS NOT FREE, and is EXTREMELY expensive, no matter the agency. While training, they usually provide board, dance lessons, vocal training, an allowance, and usually up to 2 language coaches.....for years. You are expected to pay off your debt throughout your music career, so yes, failure to pay that back in a group and just needing to dip on your career, no matter how tragic the circumstance, they are still a business and you signed a contract. Downvote if you want, it's the fact of the matter. They will more than likely get the money one way or another.

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0

Pan21 29 days ago 1
29 days ago

if they had trained her RIGHT. That would not have happened

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0

MidnightAtarian 28 days ago 0
28 days ago

Or she overexerted herself....lol, but right, definitely the agencies fault her vocal cords, the things she will need for her career, were being overused. No agency is going to damage their own goods, try again.

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0

melon 28 days ago 0
28 days ago

Simply put it Korea system is crap. Work related training should be paid for by the employer. Here employee gets paid for attending training. All cost of training is investment the company need to make and provide when hiring new staff. But yeah sure whatever if she's leaving simply because she changed her mind she should compensate. However she has prove from doctors that she's ill because of the harsh training. Obviously Korea doesn't have this but I can make a claim here for workers compensation and the company would have to pay me for not being able to work due to illness and work insurance will have to cover my medical cost. Money does not replace health the person suffering will be suffering. It's not even about the money but their work hour and demands are inhumane. If she's telling the truth and she's really suffering from vocal nodule, anxiety, depression. I think the company should be the one compensating her

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2

lyricaldancer10 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

This always make sure me feel bad for trainees and group members. We’ve seen multiple occasions when they are hit by management and broken down. I can’t imag going through all that risking my health and then to be torn apart by strangers online. Hope the trainee’s health becomes better and they have a brighter future

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2

Znewie71 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

Kpop agencies are the worse.

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1

pink_oracle 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

Bastards.

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1

aldebaran 30 days ago 4
30 days ago

I know agencies are fucking modern slavers. BUT, if she signed that contract with the clause stating that the trainee must compensate all investment cost if she fails to proceed with her debut due to personal issues, there is not much to say, she shouldn't have signed that contract in first place.

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2

crowboy 29 days ago 3
29 days ago

i think she could still have a case in that, if the cost mentioned is truly what she's being asked for in compensation, it's unreasonable.

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0

aldebaran 29 days ago 2
29 days ago

yes ofcourse, but she will have to pay something (maybe not all the agency demands) but still, its really a shitty contract, she shouldn't signed in first place

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Maneli 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

nature maybe???

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Orange_duck 30 days ago 3
30 days ago

which group debuted in Aug 2018?

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MeAnotherself 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

AiRiSU (had no member leave before debut, 4 members)

NATURE (currently 9 members, made their debut with 8 after the 9th member left right before debut (coincidentally in July), she did film the mv with the rest of the group and her vocals were used on the song)

CHERRY ON TOP (had no member leave before debut, 4 members)

LOONA

ALiKE (had one member leave before debut, but that was months before their offcial debut, 3 members)

CAMILA (had one member leave, but are independent and have 3 members)

TROPICAL (no member left before debut, 4 members)

WEGIRLS (tricky situation, had a lot of members leave the line-up, but not officially the group and are called the WEGIRLS CREW, no one left right before debut though, currently have 8 members)



But it could be the group's debut was postponed afterwards. Who knows.

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0

Euphain 30 days ago 1
30 days ago

LOONA was the only group who debuted in August, so I think maybe September.

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4

Phemys 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

It's most likely Nature. They debuted on August 3rd.

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0

telehobii 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

The amount is ridiculous,but at the same time,the girl knew what she was getting into. Even though its hard,she should tough it out until her contract is over. But knowing these slavery companies,it might be 10 years before that is.

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0

Winston 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

i think netizens defending the girl may be in for a surprise if this smart girl decides to use her health reason to quit without penalty only to sign up in another agency, and take the training given to her in Agency A, and debut in agency B, in another group. then say her 'health has recovered'.

I am not saying this is the case, but this can be an example, where netizens just fall prey to the "I am the victim, and my boss is cruel" like scam stories.


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Winston 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

i think we need to hear both sides, most of us will naturally believe in the "AGENCY is EVIL, trainees are all being treated like slaves and are so poor thing". but in all, its a Business, and the agency DO need to draft contracts to protect themselves from teenagers who want to be stars, but end up giving up, and wasting the effort and time spent on them.


no company will be willing to create kpop groups if trainees can just quit on "health reasons" when the album is already done, photo shoot done, and the agency spent money on her, on dorm/food etc.

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0

YumJam 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

What the actual fuck?! Are they for real? Like seriously? The girl have depression and those fuckers want money from her because she have bad mental health and kinda needed to quit for her health's sake? What the fuck is wrong with all those korean companies seriously...

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0

Logan_W 28 days ago 0
28 days ago

I was diagnosed with vocal nodules in high school. I didn't get them from normal singing. I was overworked & overextending myself & once I found out I had them - I was told I either could get surgery to remove them & it might not work & there's a plethora of side effects & risks or I could go into intensive therapy & so obviously I chose the therapy. I went for a year straight & to this day I have lost the ability to scream "like a girl". I can't do it. The doctors appointments were terrible because they shove a long cord with a camera on it down your throat & make you sing so they can see the progression of healing. They give you a spray of numbing stuff but all it does is numb the top part of your throat - so you can still feel it as soon as it starts going down. It hurt & was so uncomfortable I would cry every single time & I have a pretty decent pain tolerance with a history of broken bones, dog bites, tattoos, etc. It was awful. Also while I don't have depression now - I did once for about 4 months & it was seriously the worst time of my entire life. If I got out of the bed & showered it was a big deal. It was debilitating. Luckily I got out of it on my own but it was a ton of hard work & took a while. I've also struggled in the past with anxiety to the point it was affecting my health. I went to school for performing arts & while most people go "oh you just dance & sing" - no lol. You not only have to maintain your grades like everyone else to be able to be accepted into really top tier universities - you also have all of your training on top of that. You don't have a social life or life on the weekend. If you're serious about it - that's all you do. So for colleges - try getting into someplace like Carnegie Melon, NYU, Yale, etc who all are schools that normal non theatre kids struggle to get into - but ON TOP of that you have to then get into their performing arts program (which those schools are consistently ranked very high for their respective programs) & these programs have an acceptance rate between 6% & sometimes less than 1%. So I can't imagine being a kpop trainee because we all know that is MUCH more rigorous than what I did. So much more so. So this is real shit. I feel bad for her & hope she is able to get out of it. I always think of that story of the idol who couldn't debut & the agency made her work for them to pay her massive debt off because her family couldn't pay & she killed herself. I really hope this girl has support! Wishing her the best

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0

NoahL 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Only one sided story. Need to see the ruling and evidence. Because no one forced her to sign the contract but herself.

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0

MeAnotherself 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

If this is the agency I think, judging by their CEO and his past, it doesn't look that unvelievable to me that he might have actually spent that much money.

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0

Queeeenie 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

'The trainee received training with 8 other trainees for a year and a month without any payment'

Trainees don't usually receive payment during their training period though do they?


Is this company really going to ask this girl to pay 40K for 'mental distress'? This is nonsensical.

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0

Sehunicron 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

this poor girl

thats why when girls tell me they want to be a kpop idol and go to korea i just look at them in wonder

you couldn't pay me to go there

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0

minato808 29 days ago 1
29 days ago

She should’ve just debuted then quit which would have satisfied the clause and she could have gotten some exposure.

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1

L_catzzz 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Usually, right before they debuted, they'll need to sign another contract that applies their promotion terms as a debuted artists/groups.

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0

Not_interested 30 days ago 1
30 days ago

Big3 is rich enough to train their trainees for free. Also their housing is free.

But expecting the same from smaller agencies would be hard. Maybe mid-tiers can do it. Smaller nugus,they can't even debut a single group this way.

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L_catzzz 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Big 3 agencies has been using the same system too before KFTC called them out for it.

https://www.soompi.com/article/957901wpp/8-major-entertainment-companies-face-reforms-unfair-contract-clauses

"1. Imposing excessive penalties on contract cancellation

According to KFTC, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, FNC Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, Jellyfish Entertainment, and DSP Media were imposing contract cancellation penalties of two to three times the amount invested in the trainee. Considering that the usual contract lasts three years, the penalty would amount to as much as 150 million won (approximately $130,500). KFTC judged the penalty to be excessive and changed the clause to demand only the amount directly invested into training."

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nluvmiya 30 days ago 2
30 days ago

Why do I feel that is Gugudan Hyeyeon right now. That group is 9 member group and with her gone she is dealing that much. smh to that company. only cares about the $$$ and not her health. ugh

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Phemys 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

But the member this article is about left before the group's official debut /and/ this group debuted in August 2018. So it's definitely not Gugudan.

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kmspl 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

It's definitely not Gugudan if you read the clues/details.

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-2

krell 30 days ago 1
30 days ago

One of the aspects of DAHEE's situation with GLAM Group (same Big Hit Agency = BTS Group) is that it was STATED that she was like in 'DEBT' somehow to HER AGENCY over $250,000 USD. And GLAM Group had already debuted. So then, DAHEE got involved in the BLACKMAIL CRIME of actor LEE BYUNG HUN -->

https://www.allkpop.com/article/2014/09/model-lee-ji-yeon-glams-dahee-charged-with-blackmail-prosecution-finds-no-evidence-of-an-affair-between-the-model-lee-byung-hun

Quoting AKP ARTICLE at above URL --> "Dahee is actually in a situation where she owes her agency 300 million KRW (~284,300 USD), which is presumed to be the training and promotional expenses which she has yet to pay off due to the lack of her group activities." <-- ... Which gives one an IDEA that these TRAINEE DEBT situations can be PROBLEMATIC.

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-1

krell 30 days ago 0
30 days ago

The above TRAINEE DEBT situation is WHY that the (SMe ; YGe ; JYPe) Big3 K-pop Agencies (and those like them) are PREFERRED by TRAINEES. My understanding, is that a *TRAINEE* can 'walk away' from these Big3 Agencies in a relatively DEBT FREE manner overall. As long as they do NOT DEBUT. IF they DEBUT, then they become an ARTIST level Talent. And to 'walk away' is MORE problematic ; NOT surprisingly.

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