The Korea Herald has published an article in which the former English tutor of the Wonder Girls (while they were in New York), Daniel Gauss, claims that the Girls were poorly treated by JYP Entertainment. Here are some of his allegations, and responses to them.
“I was shocked when one of the girls told me that the girls are not covered by health insurance in America,” he wrote. “I once saw one girl in extreme pain — due to a pre-existing problem stemming from a previous operation — who received no professional medical treatment for the pain and I saw others with minor ailments go untreated.”
Ye-eun (“Yenny”) responded:
One day, while recording, I said that I felt a cold coming on and he gave me a bottle of vitamins and told me to always take one vitamin everyday. Then, on another day, he bought five jars of organic honey and told me to always eat one spoonful every morning. Because it was good for my throat.
The fact that Park Jin-young gave her some multivitamins and honey is no refutation to the accusation that health insurance was not provided.
What Sun-ye later wrote on her website more directly contracted Gauss:
When Sunmi was still not well after receiving a surgery in Korea and flying to New York, although she was against it,
because of our opinion and the company’s opinion she visited hospital frequently until she was fully cured.
We had no trouble with going to hospital over even little things like problems with our skin.
So did Sun-mi receive medical treatment or not? Sun-ye says yes, Gauss says no. Remember, Sun-mi was the member who recently left the group. Also keep in mind that JYP Entertainment only did away with “slave contracts” six months ago.
Gauss further wrote that after the group acquired a sponsorship deal with Sony Ericsson, JYPE had Sun-ye perform in Sanya, China, for Sony Ericsson executives, shortly after her father was rushed to hospital in a coma.
He wrote that Sun-ye had told him “her father had stopped breathing and had to be rushed to the hospital. In the ambulance, (Sun-ye) and her family had to decide whether the father should be given treatment to be kept alive since he had lapsed into a coma. The family chose to keep him alive and I was told by the girl that he was never going to come out of the coma.”
“Very shortly after that trauma, she was performing for Sony Ericsson executives in Sanya,” Gauss wrote. “I did not have the heart to ask her whether it was her idea or JYPE’s idea for her to perform.”
Sun-ye later wrote:
My father was suffering from a long-term illness and few months ago, he was rushed to the hospital when it suddenly worsened.
Upon hearing the news, I immediately flew from New York to Korea to visit my father,
and it so happened that other members were to return to Korea after a week in order to attend an event set up in Korea.
I watched after my father for a week and thankfully he got better, so after consulting his doctor I was able to attend the scheduled event.
He had the illness for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t something that could be dealt with immediately,
so after seeing that he got better, I could settle my mind and return to performing.
Maybe Sun-ye’s father got better, and then Sun-ye performed, but Gauss never heard about the recovery? The two stories don’t necessarily contradict each other especially considering that Gauss, by his own admission, “did not have the heart to ask her” about the matter further.
He also claimed JYPE illegally housed the members at the company’s Manhattan office — for which he said the city of New York slapped the company with a $2,500 fine.
An online link to the New York City Department of Buildings provided by Gauss confirms that the company had not only been issued a class-2 citation (violation No. 34765862, infraction code 208, section of law 28-118.3) on May 28, 2009 and fined for altering and changing an occupied building for residential use without a valid permit, but also defaulted on the violation.
The company was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing last month, but failed to do so, which has resulted in the case being given a default status.
JYP Entertainment responded:
“The JYP Center in Manhattan is the same structurally as the one in Korea.
So what? We’re talking about American regulations.
We proposed to the Wonder Girls that they stay in a New Jersey house, but the girls told us that they preferred to stay in Manhattan so we let them. A two story housing structure is built there.”
It doesn’t matter if the Girls were OK with it. American law said that it was illegal, as evidence by the fact that they paid a fine.
Based on his own eye witness accounts and conversations with the members of the band, Gauss also stated that the members were not allowed to leave the JYPE building without permission.
JYPE does not set limit on us entering and exiting the building …
He said, she said.
He said that JYPE had sold the band’s CD at a bargain basement price of $1 at retail clothing chains around the United States, which significantly boosted both its sales and its performance in the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
On Oct. 23, 2009 the group’s single “Nobody” entered the top 100 at No. 76, something widely publicized by the local media.
This was confirmed by Wonder Girls’ former manager and current JYPE marketing department employee David Hyun.
“That was part of our distribution deal and that is definitely one of the reasons why they cracked the top 100,” Hyun said.
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Sorry. That was petty and small of me.
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Sorry, I just can’t help myself!
And the icing on the cake:
The representative also stated that the company plans to pursue legal action against the person who raised these allegations.
Oh, more legal nonsense, along the lines of L’affaire Breen. JYP Entertainment had better keep in mind that in America, the truth is a defense. To paraphrase Brendon Carr, America is a free speech society, not a “sit down and shut up” society.
They have to prove that they didn’t house the Girls illegally (highly unlikely, as they have already paid a fine) and that they did provide medical insurance. They have to prove that Gauss had lied, not that he had embarrassed them or hurt their little feelings.
Incidentally, the teenage commenters over at that K-Pop-loving blog are just lapping up everything that JYP Entertainment is ladling out. Gosh, was I that lacking in critical thinking skills when I was a teenager? Don’t they realize that JYP Entertainment is a business, so of course they’re going to use PR to exercise damage control? And don’t they realize that the Girls work for that business? And that company loyalty and superior/subordinate relations are stressed hard in Korea?
By the way, the Korea Times has articles that summarize both the accusations and the denials.