South Korean actor Kim Jung Hyun’s contract with the agency O& Entertainment has officially come to an end. However, the controversy surrounding the agency and the actor continue to deepen as local reports suggest that O& Entertainment were preparing to shut down before the scandal, which also involved actress Seo Ye Ji.
Last month, South Korean entertainment portal, Dispatch, revealed text messages to be allegedly between Kim and Seo, suggesting that she had ordered Kim to have no physical contact with his female co-star, Girls Generation’s Seo Jo Hyun (known mononymously as Seohyun), in the 2018 drama, “Time.”
Following the reports, Kim wrote an apology letter for his behavior during the drama, which he had dropped out of in the middle citing mental health issues. Meanwhile, Seo has continued to stay silent but has been dropped from the upcoming Korean drama, “Island.”
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O& Entertainment was preparing to shut down
South Korean media outlet YTN reported that Kim’s now-former agency, O& Entertainment, was preparing to shut down prior to last month’s controversy.
At the time of the controversy, there were also reports that he was in a contract dispute with the agency and that he was preparing to join “Crash Landing on You” co-star Seo Ji Hye’s agency, Culture Depot.
YTN got access to documents that suggested O& Entertainment was preparing to shut down on March 31st and had issued dismissal notices to their employees and managers, according to Koreaboo. Reportedly, the agency had not made any profit over the past five years.
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An official from the agency also explained to YTN why the company wanted to keep Kim on their roster, saying:
“At the time, we were in a situation where the parent company was contemplating the closure of O& Entertainment. It was judged that if Kim Jung Hyun stayed with us since he was our only source of income, he could lead O& Entertainment on the right path. That’s why we talked about the extension of his contract.”
YTN also obtained documents that revealed Kim had been receiving medical treatment since January 2019 for panic disorder, depression, episode trauma, and anxiety, coinciding with the time he dropped out of “Time.”
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What Kim Jung Hyun’s legal representatives said about O& Entertainment
Kim’s legal representatives confirmed that the actor’s contract with O& Entertainment had officially ended on May 12th and added that Kim would pursue legal action against the agency.
According to his representatives, Kim and his representative (his older brother) believed that the agency was treating him unfairly but had chosen to stay silent. The statement said:
“In order to try to resolve the ‘management issues’ smoothly, we tried to consult with [the agency] as much as possible to avoid misunderstandings. We have maintained contact for these discussions, but we were doubtful of [the agency’s] sincerity and truthfulness during these discussions.”
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Additionally, the statement also sought to “correct the tainted image and the false facts” that were spreading about the actor. The statement continued:
“The reason why Kim Jung Hyun has been silent about what has happened so far is because he feels guilty about his failure to fulfill his duty as an actor, dropping out of ‘Time.’ He thought the first thing he should do is apologize for those events. Although it was a moral apology in consideration for the agency, as time went by, people made arguments that were different than the facts, so we are trying to correct them.”
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According to his representatives, Kim had notified his agency about his health problems before he was cast in “Time.”
The statement also said that the actor had been vomiting on the day of the press conference, of which videos purportedly showed him acting rudely towards Seohyun. The representatives alleged that the agency did not protect Kim. And the statement said:
“From now on, we will legally respond to the issues related to Kim Jung Hyun, such as defamation, spreading false information, and issues related to his contract period.”
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