The exclusive contract of controversial Korean actor Ji Soo, 28, with his agency, KeyEast, has been terminated. Korean news outlet Star News reported on May 27 that the contract termination was a mutual decision between the actor and the agency. Ji Soo signed an exclusive contract with KeyEast in October last year.
“We would like to inform you that our exclusive contract with actor Jisoo has been terminated. We have determined that Jisoo’s activities are difficult at this time, and we have finally decided to terminate the contract through mutual agreement, respecting the actor’s intentions, who do not want to damage the agency anymore,” said KeyEast, which was acquired by SM Entertainment in 2018.
The report stated that Ji Soo’s involvement in the school violence scandal was the decisive reason in the cancellation of his contract.
Ji Soo was removed from the drama ““River Where the Moon Rises,” where he played the lead role of On Dal, in March after the school violence scandal broke out. His former classmates and schoolmates in middle school accused him of bullying and beating them up.
In an Instagram post on March 4, Ji Soo admitted the school violence allegations and issued an apology.
“I sincerely apologize to those who suffered because of me. There is no excuse for my past misconduct. These were actions that could not be forgiven,” he wrote.
He added, “As I started acting, I have come this far with undeserved attention from the public while covering up my past. There was always a feeling of guilt about my past in the corner of my heart and the regret that it was too late to turn back always weighed me down with great anxiety. I always felt crushed because of my dark past.
The actor said he will “atone, and for those who have suffered for a long time because they had to see me as an actor, I will reflect on and regret my past, which I will not be able to wash away, for the rest of my life.”
About the “River Where the Moon Rises,” he said, “I feel tormented for inflicting tremendous damage to the network, production crew, actors and staff members who have been working on the drama due to my personal mistakes.”
“I sincerely hope that the drama will not suffer any further damage because of me. I sincerely apologize on my knees to all those who have been hurt by me,” said Ji Soo. He was replaced by actor and “Mr. Queen” cast Na In-woo.
In addition, Victory Contents, the drama production company behind “River Where the Moon Rises,” filed a 3 billion won ($2.68 million) lawsuit against KeyEast, claiming damage caused by Ji Soo’s controversy and departure from the drama.
Victory Contents filed the lawsuit on April 1 with the Seoul Central District Court to recover the damages from additional production costs as the drama had to be reshot. It said it suffered damages such as staff expenses, venue and equipment rental fees, appearance fees and production design expenses due to reshooting of the drama. It also cited a decrease in viewership ratings, decrease in expected sales and damage to the company’s image.
Regarding the lawsuit, KeyEast said, “We will do our best to smoothly resolve the ongoing lawsuit related to ‘River Where the Moon Rises.’”
Ji Soo will be enlisting in the Korean military in October and serve as a public service worker, an alternative form of military service, after undergoing basic military training. Ji Soo had surgery for acute osteomyelitis, or infection in a bone, in 2016, that prevented him from serving as an active duty soldier.