Cube Entertainment withdraws decision to expel HyunA after public backlash

HyunA (centre) confirmed that she was dating Cube Entertainment colleague and fellow Triple H bandmate E'Dawn (left) on Aug 3. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/HYUNAH_AA

SOUTH KOREA (KOREAN HERALD / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Cube Entertainment, which represents HyunA and boy band Pentagon's member E'Dawn, announced the expulsion of the two artists from the agency on Thursday morning (Sept 13), only to retract the decision later in the day.

"After much deliberation, we've concluded that the trust between the company and the artists had been damaged to a degree that it cannot be restored, leading us to believe expulsion is necessary," read its official statement in the morning.

Although the statement cited the "loss of trust" as the reason, the dating scandal involving the two artists seems to be linked to the move.

On Aug 3, HyunA confirmed that she was dating Cube Entertainment colleague and fellow Triple H bandmate E'Dawn in an Instagram post despite an initial denial by the agency.

Cube Entertainment responded to HyunA's confirmation of the dating rumours by cancelling all previously planned performances, on-air appearances and fan events, including a fan meet-up that was scheduled to happen the next day, Aug 4.

The custom of keeping the relationship status of stars discreet may seem foreign to those unfamiliar with the Korean entertainment scene. It is widely acknowledged in the industry, however, that dating rumours are one of the things that could most hurt a star's career business-wise.

Understanding the marketability of a celebrity is a complex thing. Showbusiness functions on the popular vote system in the strictest sense, in that entertainers are often dependent on how much they are followed and liked by people with purchasing power.

The phenomenon can perhaps be best explained by the concept of "cult marketing", in which consumers are led to form a high level of emotional connection with the brand they purchase.

At issue with the recent turmoil at Cube Entertainment is the way the label tried to do damage control. Removing the artists, one of whom is a long-time female solo star with a huge international following, only elicited a public backlash.

After the news broke, HyunA's name started trending worldwide on Twitter and Cube Entertainment's stock price suffered a 6.57 per cent drop from the previous trading day.

In the wake of the resultant blow, Cube Entertainment CEO Shin Dae-nam reversed the decision to oust HyunA and E'Dawn, stating that the artists' future at the company is still undergoing discussions and is to be settled at a board meeting next week.

While the two stars in question remain out of the public eye, Pentagon is moving on to launch promotional activities for its new EP Thumbs Up, with all five tracks penned and composed by its members, including E'Dawn.

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