'Mr. Queen’ star Kim Jung-hyun now free as contract with his agency ends

Kim Jung-hyun

Korean actor Kim Jung-hyun, star of the K-dramas “Mr. Queen” and “Crash Landing on You,” announced that his exclusive contract with his agency O& Entertainment has expired on May 12.

Last month, O& Entertainment disputed the duration of his contract, saying it should be extended by 11 months, owing to the time he went on hiatus after he left the drama “Time” in 2018 for health reasons. The agency has filed a dispute with the Korea Entertainment Management Association (KEMA) over his contract. 

The issue of the contract surfaced after Korean news outlet Dispatch published a report claiming that Kim Jung-hyun and “Crash Landing on You” co-star Seo Ji-hye were dating. It was revealed that he was trying to get her help to transfer to her agency Culture Depot. 

After this, he was embroiled in another controversy over accusations that her former girlfriend, actress Seo Ye-ji, manipulated him while he was filming the drama “Time” in 2018. 

On behalf of Kim Jung-hyun, a public relations firm issued a press statement on May 12, saying, “Kim Jung-hyun’s contract with his agency O& Entertainment expired as of 0 o’clock today.”

It said up until May 11, the last day of his contract, Kim Jung-hyun and his brother kept silent to avoid mudslinging and tried to resolve “management issues” through consultation with his former as much as possible.

“In response, we judged that the agency and the parent company have no further willingness to negotiate, and we, along with the law firm Yul, want to correct the fallen honor and false facts of actor Kim Jung-hyun.

"Therefore, we decided that the management company and the parent company had no more willingness to negotiate, and together with the law firm Yul, we would like to correct the fallen honor and false facts of actor Kim Jung-hyun.," the statement read, according to Breaknews.

It added, “The reason we were silent about what had happened so far was because Kim Jung-hyun had a feeling of guilt for not fulfilling his role as an actor after getting off the drama 'Time' and he thought that the first thing to do was apologize for all the series of things.” 

The statement revealed that Kim Jung-hyun complained of health problems before he was cast in ‘Time” and he actually vomited on the day of the press conference as his health was very poor. 

“However, the agency ignored it and pushed ahead with the schedule and did not fulfill its duty to protect its actors,” it added. "From this point on, we will respond legally to issues such as objection to the contract duration, defamation and disseminating false facts and other stories in relation to Kim Jung-hyun."

O& Entertainment closing business 

An exclusive report by Korean news site YTN on May 12 stated that O& Entertainment has been preparing to close its business since March. 

Documents obtained by the media outlet stated that O& Entertainment was already in the process of closing as of March 31 and it actually issued dismissal notices to employees, including managers.

O& Entertainment’s parent company stated the reasons for the closure: the operating performance in the last five years did not solve its deficit, the uncertainty of future business prospects, and the difficulty of maintaining an entertainment business for a manufacturing-based parent company which has no expertise in the entertainment business. 

It reported that Kim Jung-hyun was in a situation where he does not get all the support he has to receive as an actor, including a manager, from O& Entertainment. 

An official of O& Entertainment told YTN said, "At the time, in a situation where the parent company was contemplating the closure of O&N Entertainment, it was determined that if Kim Jung-hyun, the only source of income, stayed there, it would be possible to lead O& Entertainment so we talked about extending the contract.” 

In the end, Kim Jung-hyun submitted a document stating that he would remain with O& Entertainment until his contract expired.