TRCNG‘s Wooyeop and Taeseon recently filed a lawsuit against their agency, TS Entertainment, for child abuse, assault and extortion. TS Entertainment soon denied the members’ claims and announced that they will be filing their own lawsuit against the two members.
As the story became a he-said-she-said controversy, Wooyeop and Taeseon partnered up with Dispatch to release evidence of the abuse and mismanagement that they’ve faced under the agency.
1. The Dorm’s Living Conditions
The TRCNG members’ dormitory is a duplex apartment located in Hannam-dong of Seoul. Eight members lived in the two rooms on the 1st floor, and the other two lived in an attic-like room on the 2nd floor.
But Wooyeop and Taeseon revealed that the apartment is too small for the 10 members, their belongings, and regular home equipments. They lived cramped up next to clutters of clothes with barely any space left.
The 2nd floor is basically a storage room. The ceiling is low, so you can’t stand up straight. It’s not heated well either. We had to live cluttered around our belongings, clothes, and equipments.
And even if they had space, much of the apartment was falling apart due to old age and poor maintenance.
2. Unpaid Utility Bills
Even in the small space, the members reportedly had to live with multiple problems. One of them was that their electricity and water was frequently cut off due to unpaid utility bills by TS Entertainment.
Sleepy, another former artist under TS Entertainment, previously revealed that he suffered from his water supply being cut at his dorm. Wooyeop claimed that unpaid utility bills were a common issue at TS Entertainment. The TRCNG members not only had their water cut off but also their electricity.
In January 2018, our boiler was shut off. 4~5 of our members caught a severe flu, so we washed and slept at the sauna instead. That was around the time we were promoting our 2nd album, but we endured it and performed on stage.
When we went to the hospital, we had to pay for it ourselves.
When the electricity company gave them a final notice for their bill being unpaid for 3 consecutive days, the TS staff finally decided to pay – and that was only after Taeseon reminded them.
3. Broken Down Appliances For Basic Necessities
Not only were the bills a problem, many of the lighting at TRCNG’s dorms reportedly went out frequently. On January 7, 2019, their laundry room and kitchen’s lights broke down, and others broke down on the 15th and 21st.
Their manager continued to forget to help them fix the lighting in their dorm, so Taeseon reminded him through text, to which he laughed but scheduled to fix. However, the manager reportedly did not show up at the scheduled time, and the lights are supposedly still broken to this day.
There were two bathrooms in their dorm, each with one toilet. When one of the toilets broke down, the 10 members all had to share one toilet. But even that one last toilet eventually broke down as well.
The members explained that this happened in December 2017, January 2018, and February 2019.
When the members asked the agency to call a plumber, the agency didn’t respond, so Wooyeop’s mother called and paid for a plumber to come fix the dorm’s toilets on multiple occasions.
4. Members’ Moms Had To Fix Up The Dorm
Not only did the moms fix up their toilets, the agency refused to fix up the dorm’s water dispenser and air conditioning systems even in the midst of the hottest summers. As it became a health issue for the members, the moms took it into their own hands to replace and fix the appliances.
The moms repeatedly reached out to the agency with their concerns but were met with silence. They eventually had to use their own personal funds to help the members live in a dorm with AC and clean water supply.
5. Members Had To Buy Their Own Food And Clothing
Taeseon revealed that the members have to buy their own food and clothing. They usually ate cheap lunchboxes from the convenient stores, and the agency only paid for their meals when they were practicing late into the night. They usually bought the members fried rice.
Taeseon confessed that he was once rushed to the emergency room because of abdominal pain from the low quality food.
We once bought coffee on my way to our training studio. [The agency] scolded us saying, ‘Why didn’t you buy coffee for us?’ They scolded us for being unmannered.
So we had to buy coffee for the agency staff the next day.
6. TS Verbally And Physically Assault The Members
Wooyeop and Taeseon previously claimed that they were assaulted by the TS staff on multiple occasions, even when some of the members were underage.
They provided multiple chat logs and photos as proof. One chatlog showed Taeseon being verbally abused by one of the management staff for starting a live broadcast.
Another chat log showed evidence of staff members allegedly getting drunk at the agency and cursing out the members. One unidentified member, who was underage at the time, claims that one of the management staff members asked him to go with him to a room salon.
(*Room salons are illegal bars where women serve drinks and where prostitution is common.)
Wooyeop and Taeseon also released photos where the members were physically assaulted by the staff members. Some of the photos showed a staff member hitting a member’s neck with a toothbrush. The staff member reportedly claimed it was a punishment during a game.
Wooyeop revealed that he was once hit with a metal chair and was severely bruised on his body. He explained that he has the medical documents from the incident and the members as witnesses.
One of the chat logs showed the members talking about how they were assaulted by the director of TS Entertainment, but the director allegedly denied assaulting other members. But all of the members claimed that every one of them were hit.
Taeseon later added that the director was changing up his story to kick him out of the team, despite Taeseon’s initial desire to stay with his members.
7. Members Used As Free Laborers For TS Executive’s Hobby
One of the executives at TS Entertainment reportedly has a hobby of collecting Nike Air Jordans. Although it was a hobby for the executive, it was slave labor for the TRCNG members.
Wooyeop and Taeseon revealed photos of the members and the dance team having to organize, post, package, and sell the executive’s Air Jordans online.
He would call the members to the practice room and make us do market research about the (Jordans). We would search all over ‘Nike Mania (internet forum)’.
We would make post-its to put on the boxes, and the dance team would upload the posts.
— Wooyeop and Taeseon
8. Unending Debt of Nearly $1.2 Million USD
The TRCNG members became idols in order fulfill their dreams, but the agency failed to care for even their basic necessities. Despite the lack of care, the members’ debt to the company continued to pile on into the millions.
According to TS Entertainment’s documents, they spent 1.643 million won (~$1.4 million USD) on the group from January 2011 to June 2018. Their expenses began to accrue 6 years before the group debut in 2017.
During their 3 years in the industry, the group only made 269 million won (~$230,000 USD). TS reported that the group owes the company nearly $1.2 million USD.
9. Slave Contract
According to TS’s exclusive contract with TRCNG, the members are tied in for 9 years (starting from their first album release). The profits from their album and songs are divided 9(agency):1(TRCNG), and 8:2 starting from their 3rd full length album. Advertisement deals and events are split 7:3.
Within the small amount of the profits that they are given, it is split between 10 people. That means that whenever they release an album, the company gets 90% of the profits while each of the members are credited only 1%. All the while, their debt continues to pile on as long as the group’s promotion profits don’t exceed their expenses.
Wooyeop and Taeseon have been deemed “liars” with “exaggerated” stories by TS Entertainment’s CEO. The agency revealed that the group will continue on with their Japanese promotions as an 8-member group.
But Wooyeop and Taeseon hope that their evidence publicized by Dispatch will prove their stories.