Four out of the five members of popular Korean girl group KARA – i.e. Han Seung-yeon, Nicole Jung, Koo Hara and Kang Ji-young – have filed a lawsuit against DSP Media in order to terminate their exclusive contract with the talent management company, stating that they have lost mutual trust with the agency.
According to a press release issued on Wednesday, it’s said that the girls have “suffered inexplicable psychological pain” and “severe frustration” after being forced to carry out activities they did not want to and were insulted in character.
The four girls then pointed out their “irreparable trust” in DSP as the largest issue, saying they were “used only as a tool for making money.”
It seems to be a growing trend in recent years for Korean artists to seek legal ways to terminate their contracts. The highest profile case is arguably of boy band TVXQ, where three out of the five members have filed a lawsuit against their agency. The legal battle is still ongoing, though it seems that the trio will be granted their wish.
The main uncertain point is the right to use the group name, which the companies seem to have a huge advantage. While the TVXQ trio are famous enough to start afresh with a new group name (JYJ), it remains to be seen if the KARA quartet could be as influential in this situation. And perhaps most worrying for the fans, is what’s going to happen to the group leader Gyuri, the only member who has not joined the legal suit.
[Update] DSP has revealed their side of the story and claimed that Hara has pulled out of the lawsuit. The remaining trio has also released another statement elaborating the reasons for the legal action. More on Allkpop here and here.
[Update2] The two parties have finally resolved the issue in April 2011. KARA will resume their Korean activities as a party of five with no strings attached.