SEOUL, March 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The complicated relationship between actresses and their ‘sponsors’, or sugar daddies, might have been the tip of the iceberg of corruption of the entertainment industry. Shortly after the shocking reality was broken to the public, it was revealed that some celebrities have been investigated by law enforcement agencies for prostitution, raising concerns that the entertainment industry might have gone too far, although some argue that the case is not typical and only applies to certain celebrities.
According to the police and entertainment industry officials, celebrities require money to maintain their appearances. While popular actors and singers can afford a glamorous lifestyle thanks to income generated by TV appearances or commercials, ‘newbie’ actors and singers, as well as those who are in training, often struggle. As a result, entertainment industry novices are sometimes unable to resist the temptation of earning large sums of money in a short amount of time.
Recently, the police arrested Kang (41), the owner of an entertainment management company, and his employee Park (34). They were referred to the prosecution for ‘introducing’ wealthy men in and out of the country to four women. Celebrity ‘A’ (29) and actress ‘B’ were included in the charges filed for prostitution.
‘A’, who became famous as a singer, admitted that she slept with a businessman in his 40s at a Los Angeles hotel in exchange for 35 million won. She testified to the police that the money was shared 50:50 with Kang and Park, who made the arrangements. Others were said to have received from 5 million won to 17.5 million won in exchange for sex.
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Kang and Park were the so-called ‘prostitution brokers’ in the entertainment industry. With their previous experience working as stylists or managers, they had created vast personal connections in the industry.
The ‘brokers’ approach celebrities or trainees who need money, and offer to lend them the amount they need. The police explained that Kang suggested an ‘easy way to earn a large sum of money’, while lending millions of won to ‘A’.
Although ‘A’ was not in a desperate situation, she accepted the offer to help offset ‘maintenance costs’. As a female celebrity in the spotlight, clothing, bags, shoes and accessories are an important part of attracting the public’s attention.
Entertainment industry officials comment that any female celebrity who has been in the spotlight thinks that the public is paying attention to her every move. The so-called ‘celebrity illness’ which makes one always conscious about other people ends up driving some female celebrities to a state in which they would rather die than look shabby, exposing them to the dark temptations of trading sex for money.
The police explain that there has been a shift in the pattern in which these types of crimes are committed. In the past, female celebrities were ‘forced’ to sell their bodies when they were not able to pay debts. However, recently, cases in which female celebrities voluntarily enter prostitution in need of money are increasing.
Those in the entertainment industry admit that it is very difficult for management to control their entertainers. Before, powerful management companies could prevent their entertainers from doing things that would damage their image as public figures. However, a power shift occurred, and it has become difficult for management to keep track of what their entertainers do on their own time.
Under zero supervision from their management companies, entertainers have become free to do whatever they want, as their actions are perceived to be a private matter.
Industry watchers add that the increased variety of media channels also ‘encourages’ irresponsible and immoral acts. “Before, celebrities took it as a death sentence when they were caught doing something wrong. However, due to the increase in new media, they can easily make a comeback not long after the mess they created. It seems like the line between ‘doing whatever in private’ and ‘doing something immoral’ faded.”
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)