The entertainment industry seems so perfect on the surface, but in reality, the cracks in this facade are beginning to come to light.
Just a few months ago, Netflix’s popular show Physical: 100 was accused of rigging competition outcomes behind the scenes. And now, South Korean actress Song Ji-hyo has spoken out against her company Uzurocks, which allegedly owes her $900,000 in unpaid salary.
It’s not just her—the agency didn’t pay other employees either, resulting in Song Ji-hyo and fellow Running Man cast member Ji Suk Jin having to pay them a living wage.
Owed 900 Million Won in Wages; Still More Concerned About Employees
In Singapore, working without getting a promised salary is a serious issue—it’s considered a breach of the terms of employment, and you can file a claim to fight for it.
For South Korean actress and variety show Running Man cast member Song Ji-hyo, her payments were postponed for so long that they accumulated to 900 million KRW, or around S$907,000.
She spoke to the media, however, not solely to fight for her own salary. Instead, the actress voiced her concerns about other employees who did not receive payment and brought the matter to public attention to fight for their compensation.
“I can live without that money right away. But the employees have become credit defaulters, their credit cards have been blocked, and their mobile phones have been cut off. The 2 million KRW Porsche lease fee for the CEO of Uzurocks is luxury, but the monthly salary of 2 million KRW that these friends should receive is for their livelihood,” The actress expressed.
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For context, the CEO of Uzurocks, Park Joon Nam, drives to work in a Porsche and even famously boasts about his wealth.
That’s quite a claim, considering he can’t (or won’t) pay his employees a living wage.
Paid Employees Out Of Her Pocket
According to news outlet Dispatch, managers at Uzurocks use personal cards to pay company expenses like meals, petrol, and drinks, and file for reimbursement later.
However, that reimbursement never came.
When Song Ji-hyo found out, she apparently gave her own card to employees to use for on-site expenses since the employees’ personal cards had limits of 1 million KRW (around S$1,011).
She also paid for an employee’s medical bills when they had an accident and required two rounds of surgery, and even kept the employee company in the hospital at night.
Allegedly, the medical expenses exceeded 10 million KRW—that’s around S$10,100.
Another employee said that Song Ji-hyo would sometimes pay for their taxi fares and drive them to locations if the managers were busy.
Fellow Cast Member Did The Same
Korean entertainer Ji Suk-jin, a fellow cast member of Running Man, also took it upon himself to pay employees out of his own pocket.
Reportedly, he paid employees living wages on multiple occasions after learning that they did not receive their salaries.
Apparently, he checked daily on whether the employees had received payment and stepped in to pay them on occasion.
He allegedly tried to keep this under the radar as well.
According to six employees Dispatch spoke with, they were promised an annual salary of 27 million KRW in their contract but received less than 2 million KRW (S$2,024) monthly, if they received money at all.
Because of the untimely, or entirely absent payments, they were forced to use their savings or turn to their parents for financial help.
Song Ji-hyo has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Uzurocks demanding compensation, although she was supposedly offered her salary in an under-the-table exchange. She did not take up that offer.
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