The Taiwan-based VTuber agency AkioAIR is facing more allegations, as former talents of the agency have spoken up. This follows a slew of allegations the company is facing, including the hiring of minors and more recently being accused by its former talents over workspace exploitation and emotional manipulation.
One of the first to share their story on this is an indie talent named Bunienade, who claims to be the talent behind Vix E. Grey, who supposed to debut as part of AkioAIR's In:serenity generation but got indefinitely delayed.
- According to her, she joined the agency at a time when she is emotionally vulnerable at the passing of her father. On her discussion with CEO Jason Kuo, it was mentioned that if she took a long time to consider signing the contract, she may not be able to join the agency.
- Following the agency being in hot water over hiring a minor, she strongly informed the CEO about the matter and why she believes that it is not safe for the talent to be involved in the industry. She claims that she was being ignored by the CEO, and that "they will deal with the consequences."
- Moreover, the talent claimed that she was being forced by the CEO to bear a specific aesthetic route, something that she found later being discriminatory against her, forcing her and other talents to convince the CEO to apologize to her. Instead, she was being told by the CEO to delete their previous conversations.
- She also claimed that the CEO had allegedly leaked their designs publicly to crowdsource funding for an animation for their generation. Following this, due to her mental health decline, she submitted her notice of exit to AkioAIR on September 8 to focus more on healing.
- The following day, she was sent by a breach of contract letter by the CEO, stating that if she leaves, the company will sue her and press damages. As of this writing, she says that she has now left the matter to her own lawyers, while also adding that the CEO kept increasing the cost of damages if the case goes through.
Another VTuber that has spoken out is Moto Kumakko, who said that the she was one of the finalists for AkioAIR's Vyspire.
The agency promised back then that full details on Vyspire will be released in February this year, which they have not.
Details about this were only released to people who have been accepted as a finalist in the Vyspire audition and signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with AkioAIR.
- She noted that there was suspicious behavior in the project's Discord server, such as the CEO having separate voice call meetings with other potential talents that were not related to the audition process, or in some instances playing games with them and speaking cruelly of other corporations and corporate VTubers.
- In addition, she said that important aspects for the agency, such as scheduled interviews and further auditions, were increasingly delayed, to months after the initial intended dates. To add, the initial pay rate was a flat rate for a set minimal number of streams and was subject to vary, depending on additional hours streamed. However, this was changed to the point where there would be negligible or no pay directly from AkioAIR at all, and that revenue would be dependent on fan donations.
- After being harassed by other auditionees and members of the Discord server, she escalated this issue to the CEO. She was then threatened by the CEO that legal action could be taken against against for potentially breaking my NDA, by mentioning any of the harassment or discussions within the Discord server.
Update as of October 2, 9AM (GMT+8): The talents behind the recently-debuted AkioWater unit of Nophi and Azuri Delfi have now said that they exited the agency and are also speaking out.
In a statement by the talent allegedly behind Nophi, she said that her exit from AkioAIR was due to the realization of the company's "poor working environment."
- In the statement, she also clarifies that with the agency putting the spotlight on the fact that she was a minor put unwanted attention to her, forcing her to be quiet.
- She has also apologized for following people whom she never knew made explicit jokes publicly, though she claims that she had never followed any NSFW artists and creators on Twitter.
- She also said that upon the large exodus of the purported second wave members, she refused to leave with them out of fear being sued by the CEO to court. She later then said that "she felt alone" and that she had no other choice but pretend to be unbothered and push with the debut.
- She concludes her statement by saying that she leaves the company in order to not put more any risk to her health and overall well-being.
Meanwhile, a statement by the talent allegedly behind Delfi describes that the CEO has defined their purported new wave as a "more profitable alternative."
- She begins her statement by saying that her initial reason for staying with the agency was because she was 'indebted' to the CEO for purchasing her computer setup. However, she also noted that their privacy as talents have been basically "shattered" due to the fact that the CEO often joins private conversations with the talents.
- She also describes the CEO as being someone discomforting to be around, as he makes a fuss over miniscule things, and also continued to be more 'unsettling' by cornering her at some instances and asking her very personal questions.
- The former talent also added that the CEO did not even show up to their debuts, as he was busy writing up the response to a former first-generation member of the agency who recently left.
Another former VTuber, who now goes by the name of Megu, also came forward with her statement, albeit in a limited capacity due to potential legal implications.
- She describes her time being with AkioAIR as something that has damaged her reputation not just within the company but also outside of the company, adding that she cannot stand the injustices within the agency, hence her departure.
Update as of October 3, 12:30PM (GMT+8): Metorial Lotos, claiming to be the talent behind first generation talent MEW Horizon, has now also released her own statement, beginning to say that she had already intended to leave the agency months prior to the developing issue.
- She begins her statement directed towards the staff at the agency, whom she notes that the staff viewed the contract as "lenient" and that the talents have abandoned them due to being "kind" and letting the talents do whatever they want.
- Metorial also adds that contrary to what staff believe were contractual obligations being the reason for the departure, she clarifies that their exit was due to the company's false promises of having a "safe and professional working environment".
- Noting that being the earliest member to sign a contract with the agency, she states that the agency made her a talent manager as well immediately once the auditions have closed. Moreover, RoaFen (a previous AkioAIR talent who graduated in January this year) told Metorial how she was uncomfortable with the CEO handling all of them due to his inappropriate interaction and unprofessional behavior.
- Noting her being the "favorite" member of the agency, she adds that she has worked with the CEO alongside another project outside of the agency, albeit she did not disclose details on it due to an involvement of a third party company. Nevertheless, she was being promised compensation should she stay with said project.
- She goes on into detail how the external project got delayed, and eventually gradually retracted from the company and its talents as she lost trust. And while the project eventually launched, she was not being compensated still up until the issue revolving Nophi's addition to the roster due to telling the company that she would want to quit.
- Metorial also tells an incident when she was invited by the CEO on a week-long trip to Japan for work-related purposes. Initially, she declined due to financial and time constraints, but was forced to come after being requested repeatedly by the CEO. She states that the trip was "awkward" because she has never met the CEO (and her mother as well) prior to the trip.
- Aside from the growing issue of AkioAIR hiring a minor to be the talent behind Nophi, Metorial also notes that the CEO didn't want to let the viewers know that the new talent can speak Tagalog, reasoning that "SEA is not attractive" and that "it will tank engagement".
- She also bares details on so-called "corpo-espionage" tactics by the agency, stating that the CEO was "obsessed with corporate 'tea'" and had the eagerness to report to talents.
- Metorial also refutes the agency's previous claims that the pay was made upon the request of the talent, stating that it only happened only once for her, and that she and other talents were never paid for merchandise.
- She also stated that upon asking the CEO if she can request the IP for her model, he responded to her by saying that 'she doesn't deserve it' because she has done nothing to earn it, despite the fact of the numerous things she has done for the agency.
Featured Image: Bekky Bekks via Unsplash