- K-pop idols can’t always trust managers – Blackpink’s Lisa lost US$761,000, while Super Junior’s Yesung called Leeteuk when their personal belongings were nabbed
- Employees of Bang Si-hyuk’s Big Hit Entertainment have been accused of selling out BTS by passing their schedules to ‘sasaeng’ fans – Seventeen suffered the same
K-pop idols are constantly surrounded by their agency staff – whether it’s wardrobe stylists, managers, make-up artists or otherwise. And considering the sheer amount of time they have to spend together, many end up developing strong bonds over time.
But it’s not always smooth sailing, and sometimes, staff members take advantage of their idol’s trust to make cash through swindling or paparazzi payments in exchange for unauthorised photos or gossip. As a result, it’s no surprise that some idols are more reluctant than they used to be when it comes to relying on their backstage team.
So, which unlucky K-pop stars were betrayed by their most trusted?
In probably one of the most famous cases of a K-pop idol being scammed by their own staff, Blackpink’s Lisa was cheated out of almost US$761,000 (1 billion won) by her now ex-manager in 2020. When her manager offered to look into property investments for her, Lisa unsuspectingly handed over the required funds, which he then used to gamble. Having been betrayed by someone she’d trusted since her debut, Lisa was reportedly deeply hurt and even sought to end the matter amicably.
The manager repaid part of the money and left YG Entertainment, with an agreement to pay the rest later. YG released a statement expressing its shock, saying it was committed to taking measures to prevent anything similar happening in the future.
In 2019, Momoland’s Nancy became the victim of a hidden camera crime committed by one of her own staff, and understandably, fans were furious. Though the photos of her spread through social media were reportedly Photoshopped, it was still undeniably a violation of her privacy.
The photos were reportedly taken while she was changing outfits during the 2019 Asia Artist Awards and MLD Entertainment quickly responded, promising legal action against both the staff member and those who spread the photo. The AAA organisation committee also released a statement, prioritising Nancy’s well-being and protection, as reported by Koreaboo.
It’s not entirely shocking that the biggest K-pop group in the world is on this list. According to Koreaboo, BTS’ agency Big Hit Entertainment have also had issues with staff members selling the boys’ personal information to obsessive fans, known as sasaeng fans.
A former sasaeng fan of the group mentioned that one of their methods of gaining the members’ private information – such as where they’re staying and their filming schedules – was through Big Hit staff themselves.
With such easy access to what should be private information, it’s no surprise BTS members have repeatedly been the targets of unwanted phone calls, airport mobs, stalking on flights and more.
Super Junior’s Yesung
In 2009, Super Junior’s vocalist Yesung had to take a break from activities due to health issues, and while he was at home alone, he caught the group’s then-manager trying to steal gifts fans had given them, and even tried to take some members’ belongings, according to Koreaboo.
Yesung called fellow member Leeteuk for help because he lived in the same building at the time. It was revealed that the manager had been collecting some of the members’ belongings and gifts – nabbing everything from scarves to watches, per K-pop Starz.
Like BTS, Seventeen also fell victim to having its members’ private information leaked by its own staff. In 2018, when the group was followed in cars after a concert performance, fans grew suspicious and raised concerns of the boys’ information being leaked. Pledis Entertainment did confirm that the members’ personal information and schedule had been leaked by staff on their social media.
The CEO released an apology and pledged to punish and further train the company’s employees, and also thanked fans who initially raised the alarm, even providing evidence to prove its staff’s misdeeds.