Top girl group Kara
announced Wednesday that they will terminate their exclusive contract with their agency DSP Media.
Four members of the group -- Han Seung-yeon, Goo Ha-ra
, Nicole and Kang Ji-young -- made the announcement through a legal firm. Group leader Park Gyu-ri abstained from the legal proceedings.
The four said in a statement, "We were treated like athletes were 10 or 20 years ago. We were forced to perform activities without being informed of details and had to do just as we were told".
DSP Media denied this by saying, "Their claims are groundless and has damaged our firm's reputation".
's legal representative Landmark said, "We informed DSP Media to cancel the group's exclusive contract and stop management activities", adding, "The agency forced the members to endure unwanted activities and personal insults and sign contracts without being informed of details, causing them mental stress".
Attorney Hong Myung-ho, the legal spokesman for the four members, told The Dong-A Ilbo, "The agency didn't inform the members of their compensation and activity period".
DSP Media allegedly had the group appear on "Urakara", a Japanese drama starring Kara
members that began airing last week on Tokyo TV, without telling them of concrete information and saying the contract had yet to be settled.
The agency issued an explanation in the afternoon saying, "Goo Ha-ra
said she doesn't agree with terminating our contract. The allegation that we forced unwanted activities on members and insulted them is groundless. They have damaged our company's reputation".
"We will demand legal responsibility from other agents if they're found to have taken advantage of the members' popularity and urged their parents to terminate the contract".
With the pending lawsuit filed against SM Entertainment in 2009 by three members of JYJ, Kara
's action has fueled fears of an adverse impact on hallyu, or the Korean Wave.
debuted in 2007 and has sold more than 250,000 copies of its "Girls' Talk" album in Japan.