Veteran actor Lee Soon-jae’s agency SG Way entertainment released a press statement Wednesday providing details surrounding the firing of his former manager and apologizing to him as the dispute between them continued.
The conflict between Lee’s previous road manager and Lee’s agency came to light when SBS aired an interview with the former manager Monday for its evening news segment. According to the report, the manager, who worked for Lee for two months starting March before being fired, claimed that he had to work long hours without a work contract and social insurance and that he was unfairly dismissed after he requested insurance coverage.
Also, he claimed that he had to do Lee family‘s household work “like a slave,” taking care of garbage recycling and moving packages of water.
On Wednesday, the agency announced that it was canceling a press conference scheduled for Thursday, citing Lee’s health, concerns over COVID-19 and concerns about the former manager’s feelings.
The agency and Lee had initially announced that a press conference would be held Thursday, claiming that many of the allegations by the former manager were exaggerated.
“They (Lee and his wife) hope to apologize in person as soon as possible if the manager is willing to give them an opportunity. Holding a press conference and releasing only the position of the actor could be inconsiderate to the manager who was deeply troubled by the situation, so it will not happen,” said SG Way Entertainment.
The agency’s press release closed with a statement from Lee.
“I feel sorry for disappointing the people who rooted for me. I am still very lacking. I will strive to be a better person than I have been in whatever life I have left,” he said.
The agency said that although it assumes responsibility for the failure to have a labor contract and not paying for extra hours worked and it will follow the legal process of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the former manager bringing the issue to the actor instead of handling it with the agency was the reason for firing him and it had nothing to do with the actor.
While SBS reported that another former manager, who was training to be an actor, also backed the claims of the manager in question, Baek Sung-bo, who was Lee’s manager for 18 months and believes he’s the manager referred to in the SBS report, posted on Instagram on Tuesday that what SBS reported did not properly reflect what he told them.
“Mr. Lee Soon-jae is not someone who treats someone else like a slave. Although he doesn’t show his emotions much, he always tried to not trouble others and strived to be a model for others,” said Baek.
By Lim Jang-won (firstname.lastname@example.org