Singer and actor Lee Seung-gi has left his longtime agency Hook Entertainment after a payment dispute for digital streams of his songs.
Lee Seung-gi notified Hook Entertainment that their exclusive contract has been nullified, according to industry sources on Thursday.
This comes after the star released an official statement through his legal representation, the law firm Bae, Kim & Lee, on Nov. 24 denouncing the agency for not having once made a payment for his song’s digital streams or downloads on online music platforms but rather insulting the singer by calling him an “unprofitable singer who requests too many things (from the company)”.
“Lee Seung-gi has decided that he could no longer trust Hook Entertainment and its CEO Kwon Jin-young whom he has relied on as family,” the statement read.
In addition, Lee’s legal representation sent to the agency a certification of contents that the company should have compensated the singer for and demanded a disclosure of payment records and that the “exact amount” should be made public.
If the agency agrees to terminate its contract with the singer, Lee Seung-gi would be able to find another agency or continue his career on his own.
But if the agency rejects the termination and demands fulfillment of the term of his contract, the two parties would not be able to avoid a battle in court.
Lee Seung-gi is known to have recently received the payment records that he had requested from the agency, according to industry insiders.
Hook Entertainment is known to have admitted it has withheld payments to Lee but has not yet provided details on how it will be sending these arrears.
Prior to Lee notifying the agency about the nullification of the contract, the CEO of Hook Entertainment Gwon Jin-young admitted to the allegations through a press release.
“I will be fully responsible for the dispute regarding Lee Seung-gi. I will not avoid the responsibilities and use my personal funds to resolve the issue,” her statement said.
Apart from Lee’s case, Hook Entertainment is currently under police investigation and was subject to a search and seizure earlier this month.
The charges against the company have not yet been made public.
Lee debuted with his first LP, “The Dream of a Moth,” on June 5, 2004, under Hook Entertainment, and has since released 137 tracks throughout his musical career spanning two decades, including “Because You’re My Woman” and “Will You Marry Me.”
The agency currently houses celebrities like the Oscar-winning Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Seo-jin, Park Min-young and veteran singer Lee Sun-hee.