On December 26 at 2 p.m. KST, Media Line Entertainment held a press conference to speak out against reports of abuse of The East Light members.
Recently, producer Moon Young Il was imprisoned for violence. Media Line Entertainment’s CEO Kim Chang Hwan had his case forwarded to the prosecutor’s office to be indicted, while president Lee Jung Hyun had his case forwarded with the suggestion of no indictments.
Kim Chang Hwan, Lee Jung Hyun, and former The East Light members Jung Sa Gang and Lee Eun Sung were in attendance at the press conference.
Kim Chang Hwan began, “For the past two months, we diligently participated in police investigations. However, I cannot get rid of the perception that the investigation is biased following public opinion due to the accuser’s one-sided press conference rather than the truth and essence of this incident. We will provide the exact grounds and explain the truth that haven’t been revealed to the media.”
Media Line president Lee Jung Hyun then continued, “Since the members started as trainees, producer Moon Young Il acted as the teacher exclusively for the members. At that time, the members understood that they will definitely receive physical punishment when being scolded for not following what they promised or did something wrong.”
Regarding Lee Seok Cheol’s statement that they were threatened to not tell their parents, Lee Jung Hyun said that their parents already knew. “After physically punishing them, producer Moon asked their parents to apply ointment for them, and he was in contact often with the father of Lee Seung Hyun, who caused lots of problems. After Lee Seung Hyun caused trouble by skipping a broadcast schedule on June 13, 2017, his father traveled up here quickly after being contacted by Lee Seok Cheol and discussed Lee Seung Hyun’s physical punishment with producer Moon Young Il.”
Presenting screenshots of their conversations, Lee Jung Hyun said, “The next day at about 4 a.m., CEO Kim Chan Hwan talked to Lee Seung Hyun’s father and mother via KakaoTalk. Lee Seung Hyun’s father apologized for the trouble he caused and promised to educate him. Lee Seung Hyun’s mother was upset about producer Moon Young Il’s severe physical punishment, but she said she does not hate him and seemed to forgive him. Kim Chang Hwan said he scolded producer Moon Young Il a lot and consoled the two.”
He added, “Lee Seung Hyun’s father met producer Moon Young Il and consoled him as he hugged him. He once again consoled him via text message and requested for him to be a good teacher to the brothers. Media Line did not aid producer Moon Young Il’s assault at all.”
Lee Jung Hyun also brought up his suspicions that most of the injury photos presented as evidence are a result of physical punishment from their father.
Lee Eun Sung and Jung Sa Gang backed up this statement, saying that Lee Seok Cheol shared that Lee Seung Hyun was physically punished by their father when he caused trouble at their agency.
Jung Sa Gang then went on to state, “My heart hurt as the people I am closest to and love the most including CEO Kim Chang Hwan were getting hurt after this incident because of what is not true. Our contracts have been terminated, but we cannot sit still. We attended today to help at least a bit in revealing the truth.”
On the producer Moon Young Il and CEO Kim Chang Hwan, Lee Eun Sung said the following:
They are like a teacher and father. Both of our homes are outside of Seoul. The CEO let us sleep over and cooked for us. As we live in Seoul alone, he took care of us a lot and guided us. I am very thankful for him as he led us down a good road. In a way, producer Moon Young Il was like a fool. He wanted us to succeed, and he only thought of us. He even took out loans from the bank to treat us to meals. He didn’t want to let us starve. He was a fool who only thought of The East Light. In the early days of our debut and when we were trainees, we received physical punishment. We did not get hit tens of times or get locked up like Seok Cheol and Seung Hyun testified. The physical punishment was only at about the level of getting our palms [hit] like we did at school in the past. Seung Hyun says I got hit until my head was bleeding. At that time, Seung Hyun caused trouble, so we were all getting scolded. Then I’m not sure why, but I could not hold in my laughter. The producer asked why I am laughing when we are getting scolded, so he just sort of flicked my head. It really did not hurt, but my head started bleeding. We all don’t know how that happened.
Jung Sa Gang continued:
My thoughts are the same as Eun Sung’s. When we entered the agency, we were really young, so we quarreled a lot and also had good times. The producer’s dream was also to be a singer, so when we were lazy with our practicing, he severely scolded us and got upset. There was physical punishment. However, the reports made it seem like he is a monster. My heart hurt at the reports that are different from the truth. The CEO, Seok Cheol, and Seung Hyun all watched movies and had fun together. Until the incident occurred, we had no idea that they were suing. Seok Cheol came out and acted like he was talking in representation of us, but I just could not understand it. Honestly, it made me angry. I think it could be described as a sense of betrayal. For three years, Seok Cheol and Seung Hyun followed the CEO really well. Seok Cheol even wrote, ‘My second father CEO Kim Chang Hwan’ on his social media. However, as they suddenly turned and took power, we wanted to speak up, but it didn’t seem people would listen. It feels unfair.
Regarding Seok Cheol’s testimony that the producer wrapped a guitar string around his neck and threatened him, Lee Eun Sung said, “We were playing around after watching the movie ‘Whiplash,’ and Seok Cheol wrapped the guitar string around his neck himself. Then producer Moon Young Il slightly played around with him. We were all happily playing around as we practiced, but it made me very sad as it was distorted into a time that was like hell.”
He also shared, “There was a really shocking incident. As I am one of the eldest, I scolded the members after a music show schedule because I didn’t like our performance, but Seung Hyun started yelling. I got angry, and he took out his phone and said, ‘I am recording audio, so be careful.’ Hearing that, it was shocking to the point that I wondered if I have to be on a team with a member like this. After experiencing that incident, I remember going to the agency and crying in the parking lot because I was so upset.”
He continued, “The two of them had the choice to choose their dreams or give them up, but we didn’t even get that choice before our team was suddenly disbanded one morning.”
On whether they have been in contact with the brothers, Lee Eun Sung revealed that they go to the same school. Jung Sa Gang explained, “We are in our first year together, so we can’t not meet, but whenever we meet, they put in all their effort to run away. We are telling the truth, so we are not scared of anything or feel guilty. Seeing them avoid us, it makes me think that they know, as well.”
After the news broke out in October, the very same CEO Kim Chang Hwan issued a statement that sounded very different, let's bring it back:
“This is Kim Chang Hwan, the CEO and general producer of The East Light’s agency Media Line Entertainment.
“Firstly, as the person who is responsible for Media Line Entertainment and The East Light, I am strongly aware of my faults and apologize profusely for what has arisen because I was unable to properly manage the staff.
“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. However, as was stated yesterday, while working with many artists in the past 30 years of my career, I have never once instigated or abetted violence, and while there have been times where I’ve taught or cautioned the members, I state once again that I have never committed verbal abuse or assault.
“I humbly accept the criticism in regards to my mistakes and negligence, and I will try to dispel all doubts by approaching them with honesty. However, for the future of the remaining four members of The East Light, we will be making an active response in regards to acts of defamation committed through exaggerated false information.
“I apologize once again for causing concern through this controversy.”
source: @soompi, soompi 1 2, naver 1 2, hankyung news
tl;dr: Two months after the news broke out, The East Light's agency give a press conference. They admit that physical punishment did happen, but say that the parents knew about it and the boys exaggerated the claims. Two of the ex-members support their statements.