Lee Hoo

Let’s Discuss: Did ZE:A’s Lee Hoo Go Too Far?

Lee Hoo went up against the Korean entertainment establishment and came out on top. Then he continued, and now there is some concern that maybe he’s gone too far too fast.

This week saw ZE:A’s leader Moon Junyoung, known by his stage name Lee Hoo, go up against his company, Star Empire, on Twitter and win. The initial response to his outburst was a positive one, to see an idol attacking injustices. But then Lee Hoo continued after seeing the conclusion of what he was seeking; now it’s unclear whether he is overstepping his boundaries and should be happy with the gains that he has made, rather than risk making everything worse.

After increasingly difficult situations within Star Empire Entertainment, including little-to-no pay, unfair management, and physical abuse, Lee Hoo threatened the company’s CEO on Twitter. He promised to release incriminating documents, proving the company’s corruption, and also mentioned that he may reveal information about other entertainment companies.

Lee Hoo also called for other entertainment companies to reevaluate their terms, and asked journalists and fans to help him. Plus, he revealed that the Dream Team production team had treated him poorly after breaking a bone on set, using a single example, but implying that Korean PDs are also harsh on idols.

And after several outbursts of anger on Twitter, Lee Hoo stated that he had met with Star Empire’s CEO to reconcile and reconsider ZE:A’s contract terms. After, Lee Hoo wrote that ZE:A’s terms would be reversed from how it had been before, so that the idols would earn 70 percent of the profits and the company 30 percent, rather than vice-versa.

ZE:A Lee Hoo's Twitter Update

That seemed to be the end of it, but only a few hours later, Lee Hoo returned to Twitter saying that if fans clamored enough, he would reveal more evils of the Korean entertainment industry if netizens asked him to. It seems likely that Lee Hoo will keep his crusade going, if fans support him.

However, is there such a thing as too much in this case?

The Korean entertainment industry is extremely hierarchical, and Lee Hoo took to social media like so many other modern-day revolutionaries to reveal the truth of a horrendous situation. He acted very brave, but also slightly careless; the CEO, who he named, could have sued him for libel, cut his contract, and it could have had a downward spiral that affected all of the members of ZE:A (no other ZE:A members have spoken up about the situation, so it is unclear whether they were aware of what Lee Hoo was going to do).

Luckily, things worked out well, and Lee Hoo was able to make many gains for ZE:A. Netizens also supported the idol’s actions instead of turning on him. There is some criticism that he called out the CEO publicly, but Lee Hoo addressed the fact in his tweets, saying that the situation had gotten so far out of hand. Many netizens posted messages of support for Lee Hoo.

But should Lee Hoo stop before he hurts himself and the group? He already pushed the envelope a lot; he took to Twitter in a vehement way that hasn’t been seen from any K-Pop idol previously. Even the most outspoken idols have not truly gone head-to-head with their CEO, airing all of their despicable issues. Instead, most idols leave their companies and sue. And none of them have said that they will release more incriminating documents in the future about other entertainment companies or production companies.

Lee Hoo is risking the entire entertainment industry’s wrath, rather than just upsetting his own company. After getting so much for ZE:A, Lee Hoo obviously is feeling very successful. Hopefully, the company will work with ZE:A for the better, and all of this will work out.

But if netizens ask Lee Hoo for too much, he may turn the entire industry against him and ZE:A. ZE:A debuted in in 2010. In the past four years, the nine members have achieved limited fame, with several members becoming incredibly popular while the others live in relative obscurity. ZE:A’s songs have gained attention, but the group has never become a leader of Hallyu, or even won an award on a music show. Complete apathy from fans, who were happy with ZE:A being second tier idols, and from ZE:A’s company have hindered the group.

Now that ZE:A is at a crossroads, as the leader Lee Hoo has some important decisions to make. He has fought well, but it seems that the whole thing is still very tenuous.

What do you think? Is Lee Hoo at risk of losing everything he’s gained? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.


  • Sara


    – they ate one ramen bowl a day, slept in a tent in the middle of the park. One of the members puked in a dark alley bc he lacked nutrition since the very little money the CEO has left them with was used up by the manager who wanted to buy himself snacks.

    – there was a video where the CEO “lightly” hit Ryu Sera of 9muses with a roll of papers and she didnt even flinch (how often and how bad do you get hit before you stop even flinching like youre so used to it?)

    – there were 2 variety shows that were basically about who “deserves” to stay in ZE:A, during those shows the ceo basically encouraged them that they should step onto each other to stay in the team instead of actually being united as a team. there were 2 main members that he was trying to get rid of. all the bands have been verbally abused.

    – ZE:A was basically made by Junyoung, he gathered all the members together & hand picked them all instead of the company doing its job of forming a band


    – there was once a show where at some point, while the maknae line (minwoo, hyungsik & dongjun) were in the car, unaware that the camera was on, they said that they wanted to faint because MAYBE THEN the company would cut them some slack.

    – they take ONE member a year & shove him in front of all the cameras & ignore the rest of the people who work under the company, while that member struggles on camera to promote the rest of the group but fails

    – Does Jewelry even get any schedule lately????

    – where the hell is the effort to promote the many talented unknown artists like soreal & vos? i dont even know if im spelling the right names because SE doesnt promote them well enough

    – how many times have 9muses been shuffled???

    – When junyoung broke his leg & had a metal thing planted into it, instead of the company showing him support, they cut him off for 2 years, TWO YEARS with absolutely no schedule even after his leg gradually healed.

    – Junyoung suffered from severe depression & at some point tried to commit suicide, isnt mental health as important as physical health? shouldnt the patient be psychologically taken care of just as much as the physical health care’s importance? WAS THE CARE THEY GAVE TO HIS PHYSICAL CONDITION EVEN ENOUGH? at some point he asked the CEO if he was laughing at him????? is depression & suicide an amusement topic? is that something to joke about??

    So no, I don’t think Moon Junyoung went too far, I think Moon Junyoung went too soft on this fake, shallow, greedy industry full of sick people lacking any hint of human compassion.

    • Lula

      We already know the management of the company is not good, what is your point? The article is talking about Lee Hoo overstepping his bounds as an idol under the company. We know the company’s decisions might not be fair for the idols but this is just NOT the way to express your anger. You as their fan might not feel it, but what he did has tarnished his image as ZEA’s leader. I’m not saying standing up for his friends is wrong, but he makes it seem like he is the kind of person who would throw a punch at his offender before using his head.