In the glitzy and glamorous world of K-pop, talent and hard work are often the keys to success. However, sometimes the path to stardom is marred by contractual disputes and legal battles. Here are five prominent K-Pop stars who faced the unfortunate reality of being banned from making money by their former agencies.
1. Kang Daniel
Once a member of the iconic group Wanna One, Kang Daniel had a dramatic falling out with his agency, LM Entertainment. In 2019, a legal dispute began when Daniel requested a termination of his contract, citing a breach of trust as the company had sold his contract rights to third parties without his consent.
Daniel was effectively banned from making any money or promoting as a solo artist, causing a significant hiatus in his career. After several court rulings and appeals, he eventually won his case and established his own agency, KONNECT Entertainment.
2. Jessica Jung
Jessica Jung’s exit from Girls’ Generation and SM Entertainment was one of the most talked-about moments in K-Pop history. In 2014, Jessica was removed from the group due to alleged scheduling conflicts between her fashion business, Blanc & Eclare, and group activities.
Post-removal, SM Entertainment placed a hold on her promotional activities, effectively blocking her from earning money through music. Rumors of the star being banned from several music shows as a result of SM Entertainment’s influence started after Jessica herself hinted at it. She later moved on to a successful business career and released music independently.
JYJ, the trio formed by Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu after they left TVXQ! in 2009, faced a staggering amount of pushback from their former agency, SM Entertainment. The agency’s influence in the industry led to an informal blacklist, resulting in a ban from TV appearances and concert cancellations.
Despite this, JYJ went on to gain a strong international following. They used social media and international concerts to connect with their fans, proving that their talent could overcome the obstacles placed in their way.
4. Girl’s Day Yura
Girl’s Day Yura faced a similar predicament with her former agency, Dream Tea Entertainment. In 2019, disputes over mismanagement and contractual issues led to a halt in her activities, restricting her from earning a livelihood.
Although the ban placed on her activities by the agency was a serious blow, Yura remained positive and focused on her acting career. She later joined Awesome ENT, and is now active as an actress and a TV personality.
5. Victor Han
Victor Han’s departure from About U and Corona X Entertainment took a turn for the worse when rumors surfaced about his alleged violent behavior. While Han took to his YouTube channel to debunk these rumors, the agency filed a defamation case against him, which led to a ban on his activities and cut off his income stream.
Han also released a video explaining his struggles with mental health issues and the harsh treatment he received from Corona X Entertainment, causing a public outcry against the agency. Despite this, Corona X Entertainment and its parent company, AMP Music, pursued legal action to halt Han’s entertainment activities for seven years, the duration of his contract. Han fought back and initially won his case in court, successfully terminating his ties with Corona X.
However, the victory was short-lived. AMP Music won an appeal in 2021, and the Seoul Central District Court ruled that Han couldn’t conduct any entertainment activities without the management’s permission. As a result, all of Han’s social networking accounts, including his popular YouTube channel and Instagram account, were shut down.