Actor Lee Soon-jae’s agency denies abuse allegations and apologizing to him as the dispute between them continued
Veteran actor Lee Soon-jae’s agency SG Way entertainment released a press statement Wednesday providing details surrounding the firing of his former manager and apologizing to him as the dispute between them continued. However, Lee Soon-jae denied the allegation that he and his family members abused his former manager.
Lee made a public apology to his former manager identified only by his surname Kim for his and his family’s careless behavior.
“I blame myself for having done things without thinking how he would have felt. I am sorry if my careless actions have hurt him,” he said in a statement released by his agency, SG Way Entertainment.
But the 85-year-old actor denied the abuse allegation, saying nothing he did to his former manager constituted misconduct.
“(We) learned that the manager claimed Lee’s wife ordered him to do some household chores… It is true that Lee’s wife asked him to take out a garbage bag in her home, take her clothes to a shop, carry bottles of mineral water and take her to the hospital on the way to Lee’s filming… Lee realized that what he and his wife did was inappropriate and they should have been careful not to cross the line even though he thought he and the manager were close,” the agency said.
The agency said it was responsible for the issues related to the contract.
“We admit that we forgot to sign a contract with the manager and we didn’t give him an insurance package because we thought he was a freelancer…But we fired him as we thought it was difficult to work with him because he is not reliable as a manager…. Still, we will take all legal responsibilities and criticisms (for what we did).”
The statement came after Kim raised an allegation in an interview with SBS that the actor and his family abused him and fired him within two months because he brought up his “unfair” treatment and employment contract. The manager also reportedly filed a complaint over unfair dismissal with a government labor agency and is waiting for its ruling.
Regarding the report, Lee immediately said it was biased and unfair to him. However, when Kim said there was evidence of Lee’s unfair treatment, he canceled a planned press conference and released a statement instead.
Lee Soon-jae (born November 16, 1934) is a South Korean actor. He has had a prolific career on the small and big screen spanning over six decades, and was given a second-class Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit for his work as an actor. He is also a professor of Film Arts at Sejong University, a professor emeritus of Performing Arts at Gachon University, and the director of the SG Academy. After starring in Hur Jun, he was given an honorary doctorate in Oriental Medicine by Kyung Hee University.
Lee is one of the country’s most famous actors having starred in multiple plays and dramas for decades. He was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 2018 for his achievements and cultural contributions as an actor. He also served as a lawmaker during the 14th National Assembly.