'The Devil Judge' star Kim Min Jung lands in an exclusive contract dispute with agency WIP

Published on Aug 04, 2021 06:02 PM IST  |  601.7K
Kim Min Jung at an event
Kim Min Jung at an event : courtesy of News1

On August 3, artist management agency WIP received a certification of content from actress Kim Min Jung requesting the termination of her exclusive contract.

A representative of the agency revealed that according to documents, the contract ended in March. But the management activities did not finish until the filming of The Devil Judge ended in July. So the contract was automatically extended. "If the contract is to be cancelled, it should proceed after mutual discussions. But suddenly this is happening."

According to an interview with one of the involved parties, actress Kim Min Jung, WIP's claim regarding "auto-renewal of the contract" was completely one-sided. She placed ample arguments to prove her point.

She revealed that in February this year, a month before the ending of her contract, she was discussing the exchange of contracts with CEO K. Exchange of contracts means that neither of the parties agrees to the auto-renewal of the previous contract. But mid-discussion CEO K disappeared and the new contract that they were discussing was on hold for lack of official stamp. As per her request, a clause was added to the new contract stating, "CEO K was responsible," if she was not paid her appearance fee. It was one of the premises for her contract renewal.

Since there was no progress with the new contract, she considered the old contract expired. The contract signed with The Devil Judge included an individual contract along with the contracts signed between the production and her agency. So even if her contract with the agency ended, she needed to finish her work. WIP is claiming it absurd to argue about contract termination four months after contract expiry.

Adding to the list of reasons was finance. When she had signed the exclusive contract with WIP, "immediate receipt" was one of the clauses. According to it, for any expenses incurred during filming, she would first receive it from the agency and then pay. But since February, the account statement has been delayed and her appearance fees have not been paid.

This lack of payment included her appearance fees for The Devil Judge. According to the data sent by the drama production company, it had been sent to her through WIP. She contacted the agency about the same and received an invoice but no payment.

Kim Min Jung made her acting debut as a child actress in an MBC Best Theater episode in 1988. As one of the most in-demand and praised child actresses of her generation, she has starred in numerous television dramas. Growing up, she became one of the few Korean child actors who successfully transitioned into adult roles. New Heart, Man to Man, Mr. Sunshine and My Fellow Citizens are some of her noteworthy works. The Devil Judge has been her so-called big break to stardom in her career expanding over 30 years. She is receiving a lot of attention from viewers and people within the industry and an incident like this could be the reason for a setback in her career.

"There are many people in the entertainment industry who have suffered this kind of damage without realizing it. People dare not go out to protest lest it affects their image and just sit and moan about it," she said when giving a reason for this head-on conflict. "No one says anything, so the number of victims keeps increasing."

"An agency markets their artists. It plays a very important role in how an artist is viewed. Any conflict with their agency can lead to the destruction of an artist's image and thereby professional career. Unless they start speaking out, similar victims would continue emerging in the industry."

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