After weeks of criticism, FIFTY FIFTY revealed their reasons for leaving Attrakt, making serious allegations against CEO Jun Hong-Joon. Their legal battle between the K-pop group and the music executive has captivated K-pop fans for months. Many took the side of the CEO, and believed the girls to have been greedy for wanting to switch agencies.
However, the tide might soon turn in the girls’ favor, following the airing of SBS’s current affairs & culture program Unanswered Questions. FIFTY FIFTY’s story was featured in the broadcast, which aired on Aug 19 at 11:10PM KST. The episode was billed as an exploration of the contract dispute, and “the structural problems of the K-pop idol industry”.
It featured interviews with FIFTY FIFTY’s family members, as well as staff of the record company. Fans shared some of the more damning allegations online, with translations.
“Misunderstandings and accusations have been snowballing. We were deeply shocked by this and have been going through a tough time. Nevertheless, we believe there is a truth that needs to be uncovered despite these difficulties,”– FIFTY FIFTY
The Allegations made by FIFTY FIFTY
It was revealed that the girls were strictly controlled by CEO Jun. He allegedly had them undergo daily BMI checks and installed security cameras to watch them. He also verbally and mentally abused the members, causing them to have panic attacks.
The reason for this seemed due to the fact that he saw them as an “investment”, rather than a music group. This was allegedly why he spent so much money training members Aran, Keena, Sio and Saena in the beginning.
Netizens had sympathized with CEO Jun when it was revealed he had sold his car to fund the group. It emerged that he also borrowed large sums of money from creditors. The girls claimed that profits were distributed in a 70:30 split to pay off the loans, in favor of Attrakt.
It was revealed that the group made 5.5-6.5 billion won (US$4.1-4.8 million) from the US market alone. However, 3 billion won (US$2.2 million) went to the company to pay back “direct expenses”.
One of the most damning testimonies came from an ‘internal employee’ at the company. Allegedly, CEO Jun planned to end the girl group production arm of the company once he recouped his money. He also “did not care” for the girls and only saw them as a means to grow his company.
“We first wanted to take this opportunity to right the wrongs that have been forced in our relationship with the agency. And to protect our music, we had no other choice.– FIFTY FIFTY
We had hoped that the truth would be uncovered during the trial process and or right would be guaranteed. This is something we hope for even to this day.”
The girls claimed they were so terrified of CEO Jun that they would rather quit music completely, rather than return to Attrakt.
The program focused on the girls’ side of the story, and barely touched upon The Givers, which is also caught up in the controversy. The SIAHN-led company was accused of trying to poach FIFTY FIFTY back in May 2023.
Fans Show Support for FIFTY FIFTY
Fans of FIFTY FIFTY, known as Hunnies, immediately voiced their support for the group. They were also extremely critical of CEO Jun and Attrakt.
Some Hunnies believed the girls were being unfairly judged, even before the program’s release. They had organized to send a Google doc with messages of support, which was shown on the program.
There were also those who pointed out how others had stood up for the girls, even when public opinion had been firmly against them.
The Unanswered Questions program’s full impact on public opinion, especially in Korea, remains to be seen. The group is still embroiled in their legal battle with Attrakt. No matter how their case turns out, it seems that – at least for now – the international public appears to have more sympathy for FIFTY FIFTY.