The proposed “Lee Seung Gi Act,” named after Korean entertainer Lee Seung Gi, has recently stirred substantial controversy within the K-Pop industry.
Industry insiders warn that this legislative reform, initially intended to prevent unfair treatment of entertainers by their agencies, may unintentionally hamper the growth of K-Pop.
Furthermore, they express concerns that it could exacerbate conditions for young artists.
The Proposed Law and its Impact on Young Artists
(Photo : News1)
The Lee Seung Gi Law, currently under discussion in the Korean National Assembly, seeks to impose restrictions on the working hours of young entertainers.
These limitations are raising concerns about their potential impact on the thriving K-Pop industry. Especially on young artists who need longer training hours to hone their skills for debut preparations and success.
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Under the proposed law, artists who are 15 years old and above will be granted a maximum of 35 working hours per week. Meanwhile those aged between 12 and 15 will only be given a 30-hour limit.
Moreover, those under 12 will only be permitted to work 25 hours each week. This new legislation mirrors the 52-hour work limit currently in place for full-time employees.
Industry Backlash and the Fight for Artistic Freedom
(Photo : Nate)
Five significant K-Pop industry organizations have released a joint statement expressing their concerns about the proposed law.
They argue that these regulations may ironically worsen the conditions for entertainers in the industry, primarily due to a lack of practical reflection of the industry’s realities.
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A case in point is the potential impact on internationally popular K-Pop groups such as NewJeans and IVE, where the majority of members are minors.
The new law, if passed, could significantly impede their activities, especially overseas performances that involve extensive travel and wait times, all of which are considered working hours.
The Origins of the Controversial Law
(Photo : Instagram: @leeseunggi.official)
The push for this legislation began after the “Lee Seung Gi incident,” where the artist and his former agency, Hook Entertainment, had a dispute over an alleged “unfair contract.”
The incident exposed the instability of entertainers’ welfare and working conditions, highlighting the need for industry reform.
In the words of Paul Watzlawick, a prominent communication theorist, “The belief that one’s own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions.”
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As the global admiration for K-Pop continues to surge, it prompts a critical question: Can a balance be struck between safeguarding young artists and allowing the industry to prosper?
Perhaps there may be unforeseen benefits for the artists, and it is up to the spectators – you, the readers – to form your own perspective on this evolving issue.