YG Entertainment faces damage suit for botched talent recruitment project

June 26, 2018
This photo shows YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk. (Yonhap)

This photo shows YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) — Big-name K-pop music label YG Entertainment is facing a damage suit filed by a smaller talent management agency that claims YG abused its power in the process of breaching a contract to debut a group of new musicians through a talent survival TV show.

“On June 18, (we) filed a damage suit against YG, demanding 10 million won (US$8,972) in compensation,” Happyface said.

“The amount of money is a symbolic sum reflecting our wish that big (entertainment) houses stop their abuse of power so that the pop culture industry can advance in a healthy manner,” the company said.

In the reality show “Mixnine,” broadcast by the cable channel JTBC from October 2017 to January 2018, YG head Yang Hyun-suk knocked on the doors of small talent agencies with a plan to select new musicians through a TV-broadcast competition and help the final nine winners debut.

Happyface trainee Woo Jin-young and eight other men, including two affiliated with YG, were selected in the competition.

YG, however, declared the debut plan annulled in May, citing the show’s lackluster viewership and differences between YG and the selectees’ management agencies over the terms of the contracts.

“Our trainee Woo believed, after finishing No. 1 in the ‘Mixnine’ competition, that he would debut for a four-month contract,” Happyface said. “But two months past the closure of the show in March, there has been no word about debut. (YG) overlooked the trainees despite their ardent wishes.”

YG did once contact Happyface and the other management agencies of the trainees and offered to sign an exclusive contract with them, but on the condition of three years, not the initially promised four months, it also said.

“In short, YG’s failure to implement the Mixnine contract and revision of contract terms constitute an abuse of power that completely serves the interest of YG,” Happyface said, accusing the big firm of dashing the dreams of the trainees and misleading the show’s audience.