“When you were in CKD… were there any sexual offerings or something like that?”
I spoke softly. It was a very low and small voice, but when the words came out, Kwon opened his eyes wide and looked around. He was afraid there was someone listening, but I’d already seen to that when I was talking about stocks earlier. There was no one sitting around here.
Instead of answering my question, he said to me, “Why are you asking such a question?”
I grabbed the ham on my front plate and said, putting it in my mouth. “Someone’s talking. He used to be offered sexual services by CKD, but now he is sorry since he doesn’t get any sexual offerings,” I invented deliberately. Actually, Tak Joon-gi didn’t say that directly, but he was inferring that. When I brought up the story like that, there was a reaction.
“That’s… that’s….” Kwon blurted out his words and wondered what to say. As before, he had no talent for lying.
I said in a confident tone, “There were sexual offerings, weren’t there?”
As I spoke, Kwon couldn’t say anything. It was a silence to admit the truth, but that was not enough. I questioned him, “Are there still?”
When the word “still” was told, he finally opened his mouth, “No! No, it doesn’t happen now. Never.”
“Was there before?”
“I’m not sure if there was, but when our company was a subsidiary, they had a request. I refused until the end, but it’s true that there was such pressure.”
Thanks to Kwon’s protection, it certainly seemed that celebrities belonging to OH Entertainment had been shunned, including Oh Hyun-joo.
“Is Do Chan-ki the one who asked for it?”
“We were a subsidiary, but we were still another company with a very different system. Do Chan-ki was the only one who could make such a request.”
I recalled him in front of me during the negotiations. I frowned and said, “He was also being discriminated against for sexual reasons… he sent others to that place.”
At my words, Mr. Kwon opened his eyes wider. Maybe he thought I didn’t know that CEO Do Chan-ki was gay.
“Well, it’s a common case. Black people who are discriminated against for being colored do slave rap. When they get hurt, they get to be annoyed, but it’s human beings who easily bother others.” Kwon once again remained silent. “Well, I see. Anyway. That’s not happening right now, is it?”
“Mr. President, I can tell you that at the risk of being the president. There’s been pressure now and then, but… I turned it down.”
“Where does that pressure come from? Exactly.”
“PD, senior press officials, or chaebols.”
“Is there a Suyeon Group among them?” I said, thinking of CEO Do Chan-ki. But that was wrong.
“… there was no Suyeon Group.” I thought it was odd, but he added a word, “But I don’t know. Most of the chaebols… they usually contact us through their agents. Everyone is watching these days, they don’t want to get hurt.
‘Well… I see,’ I nodded.
Kwon noticed my countenance. I didn’t mean to blame him, but the atmosphere seemed to have gotten too heavy.
I said to him, “I see. I was just curious when I heard that story, but I’m glad it doesn’t happen anymore.”
I stood up and said, “Then let’s go to the board of directors.”
“Sure,” said Kwon, as I stood up.
I said a word to him in case, “Oh, by the way, what I said about the stock… It’s not official. It’s not even fixed yet. Whatever you do, it’s your choice, but… I never said anything.”
Just in case, because I could be caught doing insider trading. I, of course, saw him only once during the hearing before the appointment of the president, but even that ended in suspicion, so I’d better be careful.
Kwon took my words as they were and said, “Don’t worry. Mr. President. Actually… I recently bought an apartment and can’t afford it. I’ve already got enough loans.”
“Oh, did you?”
Then there was nothing to watch out for. I left the Budae Jjigae restaurant with him and walked slowly toward OH Entertainment, three minutes’ walk from here. As we were on the way, a familiar van was passing through the alley we were walking through. The high black Mercedes van was Oh Hyun-joo’s Mercedes.
“Oh, that?” I said, looking at it.
Kwon confirmed, “That’s right. She’s back from shooting ‘The Running Star’.”
“Oh, did Oh Hyun-joo appear in the Running Star?”
The Running Star was one of the national entertainment shows airing on Wednesday evening: a talk show with very high ratings. I rarely watched TV, but it was a program I watched.
“Yes, she went out with her fellow actors to promote a movie.”
“Oh, I see. When can I see her?”
“She filmed it today, so it’ll probably be out in about four weeks.”
“Oh, I see.”
Then it was time. The Benz van suddenly stopped on the side in front of us. Oh Hyun-joo got down from there and ran over to us, waving. “Hello, Mr. CEO and Mr. President!”
She always had a great look, a beauty that seemed to make the whole world beautiful, a beauty that shone with its own light. She ran to me like a puppy welcoming its owner and asked, “Mr. CEO, what are you doing here?”
“Oh, I have a board meeting today.”
She put her hands together and said, “I see!” As she seemed a little tense, it seemed that this was something good to her.
Kwon asked her, “What about the shooting? Did you do well?”
“It was great. The producers and MCs were so nice to me. I had a lot of fun filming without any pressure.”
‘There are four MCs for the Running Star, and all four are men. A man has no choice but to be nice to her by instinct. Her beauty is so magical.’
‘Ah… the world is unfair…’ I felt a little sad to see her beauty.
‘The world is so unfair that someone may try to die, but if a woman is born with the same beauty as her, most of the men who exist in the world, and even women who are not jealous, are easily obedient.
‘Perhaps it is more powerful than money. They say that if they show babies a picture of a handsome and beautiful woman, even the babies prefer them. I think everyone would like her.’
She stopped next to me and started walking in step with us. “What were you two talking about?
To be honest with us, we were talking about stock insider trading and sex offerings. But I couldn’t tell such a story in front of her.
“Uh… I mean…” Kwon was caught off-guard here as well.
I replied, “We were talking about the board agenda.”
We walked to the side of her van. Oh Hyun-joo’s manager greeted me first, “Hello, Mr. CEO,” and then greeted Kwon, “Hello, boss.”
Oh Hyun-joo said goodbye to us there, “I’m going to go to lunch. I haven’t had breakfast, and I’m hungry because I’ve been filming.”
I opened my hand and said to her, waving from side to side, “Yes, goodbye.”
On the contrary, Kwon gestured up and down, “Yes, go in.”
“Yes, then, work hard,” she said and got back in her van.
When I recovered my consciousness, there were quite a few people around me.
“Wow! Did you see her? It’s Oh Hyun-joo, Oh Hyun-joo.”
“Really. The real her is prettier.”
There were also words about Kwon and me.
“Why are those people pretending to know Oh Hyun-joo?”
“Well… I guess he’s a rich guy. Did you see the watch?”
“The hairy one.”
“Huh, is he her boyfriend?”
Come to think of it, there was a tax on her beauty, a tax for being famous. That was right. She almost got stabbed by a stalker… I thought of that time after a long moment and laughed.
“The strategy for the second half is to do this, so is there anyone else with something to say?” As the board meeting was going on, I raised my hand only once. About half an hour after the board meeting of directors began, I raised my hand and everyone’s attention was on me.
“Oh, Mr. CEO.”
“It’s nothing much. There’s the Idol Management 108 for this summer, right? I want to put a lot of our trainees in there.”
“We’ve got two who will appear on that show.”
Two? Two was too few.
“Aren’t there more trainees? Try to find out who can go, and get as many as possible into the show.”
The reason for my stubbornness was simple. I’d seen the news at least ten times in the entertainment category of 12 Months After. I’d never seen such frequent news in the entertainment category before. In other words, it would be a big topic that would hit the entertainment industry this year. It might be a good opportunity for OH Entertainment, which had failed to have a girl group hit in recent years.
“There are some girls who are not very good at it…”
“It’s okay to be a little short on their skills. It could be an issue. Of course, I’m sure our board members have good eyes to see, but… think about it. How many people read a prize-winning novel in the spring literary contest, where professors are on the panel of judges? Instead, tens of thousands of web novels are judged by the number of views. Times have changed.”
All the directors listened to me. I went on to say, “Consumers’ assessment is more vital than professionals’ assessment. I think this Idol Management 108 is going to be a huge hit. Of course, you’ll need to raise their skills to the highest level before that, but then you’ll have to leave them up to the public to evaluate. Singers… especially if they’re an idol, they may not survive even if they are good at it, but only survivors are the ones who are really good at it.”
The directors were not able to argue with me. It was because the idols they had produced in recent years had failed, rather than I was right; it was the main reason for them to be silent.
The director who was in charge of idol groups said, “Yes, then, we’ll change our policy according to CEO Han Sang-hoon says. We will send out more trainees to Idol Management 108.”
I now looked down at the report with my arms crossed. To be honest with myself, I didn’t think much of it anymore. I’d seen the future news and I’d said everything I wanted to say. But this was just one thing I would do. OH Entertainment would be cruising this year.
[Idol Management 108, a trainee Lee Joo-hyun got into the top 12.]
[The rank of Lee Yoo-jin from Nove Entertainment is suddenly raised.]
[Idol Management 108 is about to confirm its debut members; who will be in the final members?]
‘I’ve been watching dozens of these articles. By now, I’m sure there’s a lot of correction news on what I just said on the way.’
I clasped the air a couple of times and opened my palms. It was as if the future were in my hands.
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