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K-Pop Chaos Erupts As Girls’ Generation Member Jessica Jung is Ousted

Written by Randi Wiggins. Andrew Peng contributed reporting to this story.

The K-pop community is reeling after the ouster of Jessica Jung, one of the prominent lead vocalists from arguably K-pop’s biggest and most most-recognized girl groups in the world, Girls’ Generation.

The group’s agency, SM Entertainment, informed local media that Jessica would be let go from the group due to internal disagreements over her independent business activities in fashion, reducing Girls’ Generation to an eight-member act.

SM Entertainment, in a statement, insisted that the singer privately announced her intentions to leave the group earlier this year after founding her newly-launched fashion business, the Blanc Group, without securing an agreement from the agency. Jessica and the remaining members continue to be signed with the agency.

SNSD FANS AROUND THE WORLD ARE UP IN ARMS AFTER THE ABRUPT OUSTING OF JESSICA DUE MOVE TO HER INDEPENDENT, FASHION-RELATED ACTIVITIES

“We made a decision on her departure earlier than originally planned,” the company stated without elaborating. All nine members of Girls’ Generation recently renewed their contracts with SM for an additional three years, which means that she will remain with the agency until further notice.

“We will continue to support and manage Jessica’s individual activities and Girls’ Generation’s activities as nine members,” the company concluded.

The news immediately made international headlines and trended on social networks, with messages pouring in from devastated fans.

A Mysterious Message

On Tuesday morning on the China-based social blogging service Weibo, Jessica wrote in both Korean and English that she had been informed of her forced exit from the group by SM Entertainment and the eight remaining members, saying that she was “devastated.”

“My priority and love is to serve as a member of GG,” Jessica stated. But for no justifiable reason, I am being forced out.”

“You guys are very special people that I love dearly. Therefore, you deserve to hear the truth from me,” she continued. “I am deeply saddened and hurt by those who I trusted and hope that you don’t ever have to experience this kind of pain.”

The remaining eight members, including Taeyeon, Tiffany, Sooyoung, Sunny, Yoona, Yuri, Seohyun and Hyoyeon departed for a fan event in Shenzen, China. Jessica did not appear at the airport terminal. SM Entertainment’s stock plunged by five percent as the news jittered the markets. The company did not respond to K-Pop One‘s requests for comment.

AFTER POSTING THE MESSAGES TO HER WEIBO ACCOUNT, WIDESPREAD SPECULATION THAT HER ACCOUNT HAD BEEN HACKED SWIRLED

Formed in 2007, Girls’ Generation, known to fans as ‘SNSD,’ has become one of K-pop’s most-recognized groups, with a slew of money-making singles and widespread commercial success in Asia and beyond vaulting them to the genre’s top spot. The 9-girl act has toured in packed stadiums around the world, including in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Jessica, a Korean-American, was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She recently announced her own fashion line “BLANC” in August of this year.

A History of Conflict

SM Entertainment has made constant headlines throughout the past few years, with a wave of contract termination lawsuits and public conflicts with artists plaguing the company.

In May, former EXO-M group leader Kris filed lawsuit against SM to nullify his contract on grounds that the company treated the idol as if he were an object rather than an artist, fully controlled his schedules, and had little regard for his opinion or health. Violations of basic human rights, freedoms, and career-choice were also cited.

“SM (Entertainment) controlled him like a pawn or a control-target rather than offering him opportunities as a celebrity,” an undisclosed source told Yonhap News at the time. “Over the distribution of profit, SM only showed him a self-made bill without any further detailed explanation. … This forced (him) into constant financial difficulties despite an overload of work and activities.”

UNLIKE IT’S GLAMOROUS STARS, THE LENGTHY HISTORY OF SM ENTERTAINMENT HAS BEEN AN UGLY ONE, FILLED WITH CONFLICT, TEARS, AND PERSONAL DESPAIR

In 2009, Super Junior member and leader of Super Junior M Hangeng also filed for contract termination, claiming the terms were restrictive and unfair as he pursued a solo career in China. His eventual win prompted mass debate over the treatment of idols and the stress conflicts between SM and its employees, as well as its working conditions. 

In 2010, three members of TVXQ, which at that time was the biggest boy band in Asia, entered into a legal battle against the label citing unfair contract terms. The lawsuit dragged on until late 2012, and the three singers and SM dropped all legal filings following a court injunction.

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