The upcoming episode of SBS program “We Want to Know” (officially called “The Its Know”) delves into the shocking but unfortunately more-common-than-you-think reality of sponsorship in the Korean entertainment industry.
Source Y, the CEO of a management agency, agrees under the promise of anonymity to speak up about a “Secret List” that he has given the writers of the show. The list allegedly contains the names of famous actresses and aspiring stars who are sponsored.
“I used to be an insider involved in these covert deals,” Y says. “There are quite a lot of names that people would be shocked to hear off of this list. Are you sure we can broadcast this?”
Offering proof in the way of audio recordings, photos, and other documents, Y shares about his firsthand experiences in sponsorship brokering.
In order to verify the legitimacy of the “Secret List” offered by Y, the writers contact a number of the women named on the list but to no avail. For the most part, the women deny comment.
However, the writers do manage to get in touch with one actress X who is willing to speak up. “[My sponsor] would ask me whether anyone has recognized me for my efforts to make it in the industry purely through acting and told me to give a little. He’d ask me why I’m so straight-edged,” she shares.
Actress X expresses her deep regret at falling for her sponsor’s sly proposal. “Even now I would like to put a stop to all these dangerous deals,” she says.
X also provides the program a lead to a broker who connects aspiring female stars with sponsors. The writers tracks broker B down, but during the exchange, B says that he in fact is the one that feels aggrieved.
“I feel aggrieved in multiple ways. I have never even once contacted a female star first [about getting a sponsor]. Rather, they contact me, saying that they’re out of money and requesting that I introduce them to someone,” broker B shares.
“We Want to Know” also opened the floor on SNS for others involved in the sponsorship scene to share their experiences. There was a flood of reports, from minors aspiring to become celebrities to sponsors themselves.
“I went to an audition, and they asked me [whether I had a sponsor]. They said that if I gave my body to a sponsor, I could become a star,” aspiring actress F reports.
“Whenever my [sponsor] wants me, I must run over to him. Whether it’s night or day, if he calls I have to go no matter what. And I have to fulfill his demand, no matter what it may be,” shares aspiring singer J.
You can catch the full investigation and reports on the February 13 broadcast of “We Want to Know,” which will air at 11:10 p.m. KST.
Needless to say, this makes our stomachs turn. What are your thoughts on this issue?