Hook Entertainment ended up paying Lee Seung Gi $4.1 million, money the CEO had been stealing from him for years.
On December 16, Hook Entertainment released an official press statement, revealing that the agency has paid singer/actor Lee Seung Gi a total of 5.4 billion KRW (~ $4.1 million USD) in an attempt to settle the ongoing legal dispute between the artist and management.
The agency stated on this day:
“This is Hook Entertainment.
First, we deliver our sincerest apologies to the person who must be enduring the toughest of times at the present moment, Lee Seung Gi.
As previously reported, Hook Entertainment was asked to provide a transparent record of Lee Seung Gi’s music distribution earnings accrued during the duration of his exclusive contract, and to pay all unpaid dues based on the records.
As a result, the agency delivered all requested files early this week, and attempted to come to a settlement with Lee Seung Gi after fulfilling his requests.
However, the payment that Lee Seung Gi demanded from Hook Entertainment was far from the actual amount that the agency owed him for his unpaid earnings, and thus, we were unable to come to a legal settlement.
Nonetheless, in the hopes of bringing this legal dispute to an end as soon as possible against Lee Seung Gi, an artist who has had a long relationship with Hook Entertainment, the agency paid Lee Seung Gi a base earning of 1.3 billion KRW (~ $1 million USD), unpaid earnings from music distribution amounting to 2.9 billion KRW (~ $2.2 million USD), as well as an interest of 1.2 billion KRW (~ $915,000 USD).
Confirming that the agency no longer owes Lee Seung Gi unpaid dues in any form, Hook Entertainment has filed a legal request for the court to verify the agency’s current status as not subject to any liabilities.
Hook Entertainment would like to once again apologize to Lee Seung Gi for causing such misunderstandings through the agency’s management mistakes, leading to this legal dispute. The agency will do its best to settle the remaining legal dispute without any further misunderstandings, and it will ensure that its artists are paid all of their due earnings in a timely manner from now on.
Once again, we apologize to all those who were hurt due to these recent events.”
Now, on the same day, Lee Seung Gi has decided to speak up with his first post on his Instagram since September.
The star wrote:
“It’s been a while. Hello, it’s Lee Seung Gi.
I haven’t exactly been well recently. I was swept up in anger after experiencing betrayal, I became deeply depressed after facing disappointment, I lived in resentment, I lived in self-blame, and these emotions repeated in a cycle day to day.
This morning, I received a notification that about 5 billion KRW had been deposited into my bank. I guess Hook Entertainment thought that I was doing all of this for the money.
A statement of earnings for the distribution of music is a very common thing in this industry, and yet, I have never received one before. And now, they are trying to bring all of these events to a close however they see fit, with the headline, ‘All unpaid earnings were paid’.
All this time, I had no idea that there were earnings from my music. All I heard was that I was a ‘minus singer’, and I endured that for 18-years. The reason why I decided to sue Hook Entertainment was not because of the money. The value of a person’s effort, the value of that sweat, should not be used to feed another person’s greed. I felt that pursuing legal action was the most dutiful thing I could do.
So I got paid 5 billion KRW. I have no idea how this amount was calculated. But I do not intend on accepting Hook Entertainment’s calculation methods without question. So I intend to continue with my lawsuit. I suspect that it will be a wearisome dispute, and to the public who will have to witness it unfold and endure the fatigue, I apologize in advance.
I can promise one thing today. I will donate every bit of money that I get from Hook Entertainment throughout this process. First, starting with the 5 billion KRW I received today, outside of the fees required for the lawsuit, I will return the remaining amount to our society. This isn’t something that I decided overnight. The moment that I decided to go against Hook, I decided that I would give this money to those in need.
Because I lived for so long not knowing that I was earning money as a musician, this amount that I was paid today is precious to me. It is the sweat and the effort that I poured into my teens, my twenties, my thirties. But if this money can go to help others in need, I think that in itself would be worth much more than merely 5 billion KRW.
Next week, I intend on meeting with a humanitarian organization to set up plans. There are people who cannot even go about their daily lives because of illnesses. There are people who give up their dreams because of financial difficulties. There are also people who did not receive proper medical care even when their lives were in danger. It may be that this 5 billion KRW is not enough to help all of those people. But it could be one small step toward something.
Last but not least, while I was going through all of these events, so many people sent me encouragement. You were angry for me, and you consoled me, and I gained great strength from your support. Thank you for letting me know once again that I am loved. To return that love in any way that I can, I will give back to society.
I wish you a warm and happy holidays, and I promise you that I will continue to walk my path earnestly.”