5 K-Pop Agencies Disagree With New Bill Designed To Protect Minors From Being Overworked

In a joint statement the agencies asked for the deletion of the specific clause.

In a surprising turn of events, five prominent associations in the Korean pop culture industry have expressed their disagreement with a new bill aimed at protecting underage celebrities from being overworked.

The Korea Entertainment Producer’s Association, Korea Entertainment Management Association, Recording Industry Association of Korea, Record Label Industry Association of Korea, and Korea Music Content Association issued a statement earlier today urging for the deletion of the clause that strengthens regulations on underage celebrities’ work hours.

BABYMONSTER, set to debut soon, has six underage members. | YG Entertainment

The “Lee Seung Gi Crisis Prevention Act” is an amendment to the Popular Culture Art Industrial Development Act, inspired by the legal tussle between singer and actor Lee Seung Gi and his former agency, Hook Entertainment, over unpaid earnings.

This new act mandates that entertainment agencies reveal the details of their income settlement, which is designed to safeguard pop culture artists from unfair treatment. Thankfully, the five named associations do fully support the clauses that require transparency in accounting and payments to avoid a similar crisis to that faced by Lee Seung Gi.

Lee Seung Gi | tvN

However, they’ve also expressed concern that including other concerns in the “Lee Seung Gi Law” could hinder the advancement of the K-Pop industry. In particular, the associations are arguing that the more stringent and detailed limits on underage stars’ work hours could potentially impede their activities.

The revision limits work hours for teenage celebrities by subdividing age limits, which turns a blind eye to reality… [It’s] a bill to hinder the pop culture industry from advancing.

— The entertainment associations on their joint statement

Newjeans’ Hyein debuted at only 14 years old. | @newjeans_twt/Twitter

Previously, the law allowed pop culture artists under 15 to work a maximum of 35 hours a week, and those aged 15 and above to work up to 40 hours until they hit 19. However, the new regulations are more specific. For example, artists under 12 can now work a maximum of 25 hours a week and six hours per day. Those between 12 and 15 can work up to 30 hours a week and seven hours per day, and those 15 and older can work a maximum of 35 hours a week and seven hours per day.

The five organizations maintain that they’ve always complied with the previous law’s restrictions on working hours for teenagers under 15 but say that these additional regulations could cause issues.

Additional regulations are unnecessary and will limit the activities of idol groups, which consist of members of various ages. It will weaken the competitiveness of the pop culture industry.

— The entertainment associations on their joint statement

IVE’s Wonyoung debuted in IZ*ONE at only 14 years old. | @ditto_wy/Twitter

In response, the organizations have called for the removal of the age limit clause and are requesting an open dialogue regarding the other clauses of the act.

Other parts of the revision to protect young celebrities from mistreatment also included a ban on excessive management of appearance, coercion into dangerous actions, verbal and physical abuse, and neglecting school.

You can find more details about the bill here:

New Bill To Protect Underage K-Pop Idols Approved By Ministry Of Culture

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily
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