When the relationships between Korean celebrities and their managers go wrong: Fraud, blackmail, and more

Instead of being a solid support for the artists, these managers have become their “nightmare”.

The manager is usually in charge of receiving resources (movie contracts, advertisements, shows, events, etc.) or arranging schedules for artists. Whether a manager can bring back many resources for artists depends on their own capacity and relationships. They also help artists deal with false rumors and keep a good relationship with the media.

In terms of emotional connection, a manager is no different from a family member of an artist. Therefore, the manager sometimes also takes on the part of psychological support for the artist. The long-term companionship makes the two sides understand each other, so that the manager can give a lot of sincere advice and help celebrities when they have difficulties in life. But through the following incidents, fans wonder, besides the purpose of helping and supporting the artist’s career, what other motives do the managers in these scandalous stories have.

In fact, managers – artists are not always as close to each other as family members. There are cases where the manager only considers artists as a money-making tool for the company, and treats artists as slaves. Korean showbiz has witnessed singers and actors being abused and even sexually by the managers. 

In 2015, when BTS was not really a famous name, they were victims of abuse by their manager. At that time, Korean news sites released a video recording the moment the group’s manager was raising his hand to hit “golden maknae” Jungkook.

Korean celebrities managers

There are many opinions, most of which think that the manager intends to hit Jungkook and that it seems to happen often, while a few others think that the man is simply threatening the male idol.

Fans then brought up other moments when the manager of BTS did the same thing with member V. Under great pressure from public opinion, Big Hit fired this abusive manager.

Asian Showbiz has also seen a case where the manager had more conflicts with the artists after the termination of cooperation. In the past, Song Hye Kyo‘s former manager blackmailed her and her family.

In January 2005, the mother of Descendants of the Sun’s beauty received an extortion letter from her former manager. In the letter, the former manager said he had prepared large containers of hydrochloric acid and hallucinogens to throw at Song Hye Kyo and her mother if the two refused to send him money. Despite going through a panic attack, Song Hye Kyo’s mother still decided not to file a lawsuit.

Korean celebrities managers
Korean celebrities managers
Song Hye Kyo was blackmailed by her former manager

It is known that the former manager was fired for not truthfully reporting the commission earned from Song Hye Kyo‘s photo sessions. After losing his job, he had financial difficulties and had to sleep in public baths.

Many managers, after a long process of accompanying artists, have gradually gained their trust. However, not all managers are wholehearted and devoting their best to supporting the celebrity’s career. Many people have other motives after a long time collaborating with artists, mainly related to financial issues. In life, they may have money problems or simply develop greed after a long time with the artist.

Perhaps more than anyone else, managers understand that they are very close to people with great profitability, bringing huge sources of revenue thanks to reputation and brand value. In mid-2020, Asian media outlets simultaneously reported that Lisa (BLACKPINK) was scammed by her former manager Jung Bo Kyung with an amount of 1 billion won. Lisa has been with Jung Bo Kyung since she was a trainee until 2016 when BLACKPINK debuted.

Korean celebrities managers
Korean celebrities managers
Looking at the closeness between BLACKPINK’s youngest member and Jung Bo Kyung, the public can’t have thought that Lisa’s manager could do such a shocking thing.

Jung Bo Kyung is also trusted by YG Entertainment and the members of this popular girl group. It is known that he took advantage of trust and friendship, telling Lisa that he would use this money to help the female idol find potential real estate for a smart investment. In fact, Jung Bo Kyung took the money and spent it all on gambling. Lisa became a victim of the manager because she trusted him too much. In the end, BLACKPINK’s maknae decided to settle the controversy peacefully.

The most serious thing is probably when the manager has grasped the fatal weakness of the artist and is ready to use it to threaten them. Baek Ji Young is known as the music queen of the Korean entertainment industry. In 2000, the former manager named Kim Ji Won released a sensitive video of himself and Baek Ji Young.

Korean celebrities managers

Initially, this person also used the tape for the purpose of blackmailing the female singer. Kim ran away from Korea and left Baek Ji Young with a wave of public criticism but was later arrested in the US in 2008 for statutory rape. As for Baek Ji Young, it took her a long time to overcome the crisis and gradually regain her position.

More and more controversies related to artist managers have appeared, urging more carefulness from entertainment companies in selecting personnel for this career position. Besides, fans are also gradually becoming more vocal. In some cases, the involvement of the fan community can help the artist change the manager to a more suitable one. In addition, many stars also have the right to decide on the manager who will accompany them. These advancements may help the manager-artist relationship in Korean showbiz operate in the right direction.

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