X-5 (Xenos 5 Donghyun/Taefung): Open World Entertainment artists cleared of all charges + Company's future uncertain ›
While the case of Open World Entertainment’s CEO Jang Seokwoo is still continuing, more articles have been showing up adding more information about what happened and will possibly happen in the future.
In light of the recent happenings, reporters from Sports Chosun met with an ex-OWE trainee earlier this month, to talk about understanding the life of trainees in Korean companies. Regarding the CEO’s involvement in close to 10 harassment and rape cases, she said, “I think it’s something that well could have happened. I had a lot of trainee friends and it’s something I heard often. Even though ‘rape’ wasn’t exactly mentioned, I’ve often heard of him touching their bodies or suggesting that they go somewhere secret to have sex.” She went on to mention that trainees had to go out whenever he called them, and that they often went for karaoke. During those events, other people were often sitting there and after having a few drinks, and they would get touchy. Apart from the trainee life, she also talked about the CEO’s many relationships, including those with two members of a famous girl group. She continued, “She told me, ‘Even though you can earn a lot from this, I hope you don’t do it too.’ She’s someone I’ve been close to since I was young. It was difficult for her.” This trainee is currently preparing for her debut as a singer through another company. She was said to have had no choice but to leave the company after refusing to provide sexual favors at an investor’s request. The ex-trainee left the company just last year after Jang Seokwoo started asking her to do things she didn’t want to do.
At the same time, the schedules of two of the company’s idol groups have been halted. While The Boss was supposed to make their long-awaited comeback through their first full length album release, and labelmates X-5 were supposed to start their first activities in Japan for their Japanese advancement. After news about the CEO’s involvement in various cases came up, both of their schedules were put on hold, resulting in a now very unclear future for both of them. Open World Entertainment has voiced their intentions of doing whatever they can to secure their artists’ careers, and even stated that if they want, a transfer to another company could be made. At the same time The Boss is still receiving a full backing from their Japanese label as well as management, and if a Korean label transfer happens, the group’s contract will have to be talked over with representatives from Japan as well as to not endanger their future Japanese career. At the moment, both groups’ future is still uncertain, as the predominant view is that they should watch and wait with the investigation of CEO Jang Seokwoo still going on. A solo singer under the company is said to have canceled his contract with the label, and is highly likely to move to another agency. A source from the entertainment industry commented on this last development, saying, “While it’s difficult to move rookie groups to another agency, it is a singer with an established fan base, and so he can move to another agency if he wants to.”
With Open World Entertainment’s previous statement fresh in our minds, it was now officially revealed that the boy group members allegedly involved in the case were cleared of all charges and assumptions made against them. While it was earlier mentioned that one of the members had been involved in the harassment since his teenage years, no mention of this has been made since and charges have been dropped. A representative of Open World Entertainment mentioned on behalf of the members, “They feel very intimidated because they say they haven’t done anything wrong, but the investigators keep picking on trivial things, and the media has been paying explosive attention to it. They just hope everything can be settled quickly.”
The company has been around since September 2000, and has housed many different artists ever since, including management contracts with Shinhwa and its members Junjin and Lee Minwoo. More recent debuts include boy groups The Boss, X-5 and Lug, as well as actor Go Joowon and actress Shin Jisoo. The future of Open World Entertainment is very unsure at the moment, and will most likely only clear up when this case comes to a close.
Source: TV Daily, Open World Entertainment, Sports Chosun (1, 2), enews24 (1, 2), and Sports World