Dispatch exposed even more misinformation portrayed in Unanswered Questions‘ FIFTY FIFTY episode. Below is the full translation of the article.
Did Unanswered Questions really find the answer to these allegations made by FIFTY FIFTY?
- Jeon Hong Joon never was around for monthly evaluations?
- ATTRAKT threw all the food sent by the members’ parents?
- ATTRAKT didn’t provide adequate food for members?
- Who wrote down 0 for the members’ payment?
- Did they look into how investments are structured when creating an idol group?
To give you the short answer, Unanswered Questions did not try to find the answers to these questions and, therefore, couldn’t report (correct) facts.
1. First, let’s fact-check the allegations surrounding the monthly evaluations.
Around the 41-minute mark of Unanswered Questions‘ FIFTY FIFTY episode, someone who claimed they observed FIFTY FIFTY closely appeared. The person then claims that “Jeon Hong Joon has never attended monthly evaluations.”
Dispatch obtained the schedules for the last two years. Between May 2020 and June 2022, there have been approximately 23 evaluations.
On April 2022, the four members were finalized. In May, there was an English evaluation, and in June, the group’s preparation for their debut song was evaluated.
Did Jeon Hong Joon really never attend any evaluations leading up to the group’s creation? Dispatch obtained a photo of an evaluation that took place on December 24, 2020.
In the photo, Jeon Hong Joon is photographed in attendance. However, the self-alleged insider who appeared in the Unanswered Questions episode is not. ATTRAKT employees Kim and Choi have since asked, “Was that insider (who appeared in the documentary) really an insider?”
Then who was the person who scheduled the evaluations? It was The Givers‘ employee Baek.
Next is the conversation that occurred on evaluation day, April 2022.
CEO Jeon Hong Joon keeps on hiccuping, so… Please understand.
— Baek (The Givers’ employee)
In the text message, Baek revealed that Jeon Hong Joon was hiccuping in real time, which again proves ATTRAKT’s CEO did attend the evaluations. (Does the ‘insider’ who appeared on Unanswered Questions even know about the hiccuping? These are my unanswered questions.)
Unanswered Questions interviewed Baek, who spoke on behalf of The Givers. This then begs the question, why didn’t they fact-check Jeong Hong Joon’s attendance? They would have learned the truth by simply asking. Jeon Hong Joon attended all monthly evaluations. We cross-checked through several officials.
2. Did ATTRAKT throw food members’ parents had sent them?
A family member of the group alleged in the episode that “They (ATTRAKT) had thrown away all the food that members’ parents had sent.”
The infamous incident occurred on July 6, 2021. Dispatch has learned this because on this date, members “A” and “B” remorsefully reveal this in their practice journals.
- Member A: “I won’t disappoint you in the future.”
- Member B: “Let’s take time to reflect. Let’s not become idiots.”
What happened during the infamous incident on July 6, 2021? We were able to learn what really happened through an employee who was present.
First, it’s important to state that it wasn’t side dishes that were thrown, but snacks. Also, the person who threw the snacks on the floor was The Givers employee, Baek. Baek also humiliated the members by telling them to “Pick it up and quickly throw them (snacks) in the trash.”
Why did Baek throw the snacks on the floor? The answer to that question is in the text messages sent by Baek. Below is a report on an emergency inspection of the group’s dormitory.
The members began a diet on June 2021, but the members failed to lose any weight. Employees then did an emergency inspection of their dormitory and, Baek revealed the results of the inspection in text messages.
Baek found Choco Waffles, sugar straws, moon pies, chips, candy bars, chocolate bars, and gummies.
On July 6, Baek had the members come to ATTRAKT’s Gangnam center. Baek then threw all the snacks he found in the dorm on the floor. (Of these, there was one packet of seaweed sent by a member’s parent).
Are you guys crazy? Get your act together!
According to a witness at the incident, “Baek scolded them by shouting loudly, but he didn’t curse. The members threw away the snacks in a 50-liter trash bag.”
3. Did ATTRAKT not provide sufficient meals?
Why did FIFTY FIFTY members obsess over snacks? Was the family member correct when they alleged the members weren’t fed?
Ahn Sung Il recommended a detox program to Jeon Hong Joon, stating, “This is the program we use at The Givers, and we’ve seen good results.” ATTRAKT’s employees then asked 6 people, including members and trainees. All besides Saena agreed, and thus they began the diet program.
ATTRAKT employees ordered food for the diet on June 1. They ate chicken breasts for breakfast, brown rice for lunch, and chicken breast for dinner. They also were given multivitamins.
Despite this, the members did not lose weight. There was even a member who reached over 50kg. Baek had entered the dormitory to find the reason why the members were failing their diet.
Unanswered Questions (without fact-checking) aired the family member’s statements. Of course, it is understandable to air their grievances. However, This becomes an issue because the members and the label are currently in the middle of a legal feud.
Let’s take a look at articles 11 and 14 of the Broadcast Regulations.
Article 11: When broadcasting an incident that is still in court, care must be taken not to infringe on the involved parties’ right to a fair trial.
Article 14: Broadcasts must be factual and objective, and unproven claims that may confuse audiences must not be aired as factual.
— Broadcast Regulations
- Unanswered Questions revealed that the members were humiliated when their food was thrown on the floor. But it didn’t reveal who had thrown them.
- Unanswered Questions claimed that ATTRAKT had not provided sufficient food. But, they didn’t reveal that the members had agreed to take part in the diet program.
In addition, this incident occurred between June — July 2021. At the time, the members were still trainees. FIFTY FIFTY members agreed to an exclusive contract on March 5, 2022. If this incident had caused physical and mental shock, they shouldn’t have signed the contract.
4. Who claimed that the members were owed nothing for revenue generated from their music?
Unanswered Questions revealed the first quarter’s payment settlement. The show emphasized that the payments were very low by using flying graphics of ₩25,000 KRW (about $18.60 USD) on screen.
ATTRAKT claimed that they spent hundreds of millions of wons but claimed they only generated ₩25,000 KRW (about $18.60 USD) and ₩10,000 KRW (about $7.46 USD) in revenue. The music revenue isn’t even listed here.
— Unanswered Questions
Dispatch has also obtained and looked over the relevant settlement documents from 2022.
It is true that in the document, album sales and streaming revenue are listed as 0. There is nothing written for album sales and streaming revenue.
This occurred because of The Givers. The accounting employee in charge of FIFTY FIFTY’s accounting made a mistake. To make matters worse, The Givers hadn’t sent a settlement document for the months between February and September 2022. Next are text messages from The Givers’ CEO Ahn Sung Il sent to Jeon Hong Joon.
I’m sorry. After checking, I have confirmed that (the payments) were sent later after being delayed. Documents were delayed from the settlement for the second half of 2022, and because of this, I believe the members’ parents received them later.
Accounting director Lee (The Givers) has asked the parents for their understanding and has explained why it was late. No matter how busy I was, I failed to check on this.
Hyun (ATTRAKT accounting) has also become aware of this and has stated he would explain it to the members’ parents. But this is our mistake, so we will explain to them and correct the situation.
— Ahn Sung Il
Jeon Hong Joon then writes back, “Let’s go bigger and higher,” again showing his faith in Ahn Sung Il.
ATTRAKT fixed the accounting documents. The missing figures for album sales and streaming revenues were added to May’s settlement and were sent out.
(The greatest expense, “Song payment,” went to Ahn Sung Il. Ahn Sung Il and The Givers received ₩579 million KRW (about $432,000 USD) in producing fees.)
5. Lastly, we need to take a look at the payment-in-advance structure.
In May 2023’s settlement documents, member A is said to have a net balance of -₩700 million KRW (about $522,000 USD). This means that approximately ₩2.80 billion KRW (about $2.09 million USD) were spent in producing the group. If ATTRAKT was to go bankrupt, would the members be responsible for this debt? No. If the group fails, the CEO is the one who is ruined. In other words, this is Jeon Hong Joon’s debt.
Then what if the total revenue is higher than the initial investment in the group? It is at that point that the members would be paid. The company and artists will share the revenue 7(company):3(artist) as per their contract.
On Unanswered Questions, an accountant criticized the pay-in-advance structure stating, “Jeon Hong Joon isn’t a shareholder of Entertainment ‘B’ and isn’t the CEO. On paper, the company has no relation to ATTRAKT.”
The criticism is irrelevant because ‘Entertainment B’ isn’t a paper company, it is Star Crew Ent. Jeon Hong Joon founded the label ,and was once home to famed musicians Bobby Kim and Sungwoon. Interpark trusted Jeon Hong Joon and invested ₩9.00 billion KRW (about $6.71 million USD) in advance. This occurred before FIFTY FIFTY was created. In fact, the members were trainees of Star Crew Ent. Also, FIFTY FIFTY members agreed to transfer their contract with Star Crew Ent to ATTRAKT in June 2021.
FIFTY FIFTY signed an exclusive contract with ATTRAKT in March 2022. Thanks to the investment Jeon Hong Joon received in advance, the members were able to release their album. But now, FIFTY FIFTY is claiming the advanced payment is a problem. Unanswered Questions did not verify this. They just aired what the members’ lawyers alleged. Below is a transcription of what the lawyer said.
Until the advanced payment is paid, the members won’t receive their settlements. The revenue generated from FIFTY’s [sic] music is ATTRAKT’s only revenue stream. This means ATTRAKT is telling FIFTY FIFTY to pay back a hefty loan of ₩6.30 billion KRW (about $4.70 million USD) to Interpark in their stead.
— FIFTY FIFTY’s lawyer
Long story short, FIFTY FIFTY do not have to pay back Interpark’s investment. The threshold for settlement is only the ₩3.00 billion KRW (about $2.24 million USD) that directly went into their debut and promotions.
An insider at a music label told Dispatch that “This is clear math. If a label received a ₩5.00 billion KRW (about $3.73 million USD) advanced payment, and they generated the same amount in music revenue, do the singers not get paid? If the contract is 7:3, then the singers make ₩150 million KRW (about $112,000 USD). The advance payment is the label’s debt and not the artist’s. That isn’t something to be worried about.”
According to advertisement insiders, FIFTY FIFTY has already been offered 20 commercials. From coffee companies to banks and electronics companies. These commercials alone would have brought in ₩1.20 billion KRW (about $895,000 USD).
Despite this, ATTRAKT refused due to the member’s health. Then the legal feud began, which resulted in negotiations for luxury brands, skincare, school uniforms, and sports endorsement to be halted.
What were Unanswered Questions attempting to reveal?
Did they want to reveal the family members’ anger? If so, they succeeded. Family members seemed very upset. Or did they want to reveal Ahn Sung Il’s toothaches? If so, then again, they succeeded. Ahn Sung Il has suffered from tooth problems for a long time.
- Baek (The Givers employee): Every Tuesday at 2:00, we meet with the new team at the center. This afternoon, we are planning to have a mid-evaluation before the monthly evaluation.
- Jeon Hong Joon: Thanks for working hard. Ahn Sung Il… seems like… he’s having tooth problems. I’ll have a manager send him some soft food that I’ve wrapped and placed in an icebox. Please send this to Ahn Sung Il. We must all be healthy if we are to succeed.
- Baek: Oh my! I will deliver it to Ahn Sung Il! Thank you!
What are your thoughts?