Kim Young Dae’s Agency Says That His Departure From “School 2021” Was Due To Problems With Production Company

On July 23, Kim Young Dae’s agency, Outer Korea, released a statement about the actor’s departure from “School 2021.”

Earlier that day, “School 2021” had released a statement saying that Kim Young Dae’s agency had given them a one-sided notification of the actor’s departure without mutual agreement and that his departure had affected the drama’s production.

(Note: “School 2021” was originally planned for 2020, so parts of the statement will refer to the drama as “School 2020,” but both “School 2020” and “School 2021” are referring to the same drama.)

Outer Korea’s statement reads:

Hello, this is Outer Korea. This is our official statement regarding “School 2021.”

First, we would like to sincerely thank KBS, the director, and the “School 2021” staff, who gave our artist the chance to appear in the time-honored “School” series, and we express our regrets to the fans who had anticipated the project and sent their love and support.

From March 2020 until now, we had done our best and wanted to remain with the project, but due to various issues that could not be resolved, we informed Kingsland that we were canceling our contract on June 21, 2021.

In March 2020, we signed a contract with Kings Media (the production company) and the “School 2020” company (the cultural industry company) regarding Kim Young Dae’s appearance in “School 2020.” According to the contract, filming would begin in May 2020 and broadcasting would begin in August 2020. Due to internal issues with Kings Media, filming did not begin as planned, and the “School 2020” company did not come into effect either. Moreover, the co-production company, SR Pictures, also dropped out.

Afterward, Kings Media did not carry out basic actions like casting actors or working on the script. KBS also released an official statement saying that they would no longer broadcast “School 2020.” However, Kings Media stated through the media that things were on track to air in August 2021. We could no longer trust in Kings Media’s words and expressed our intention of canceling the contract to them several times between the end of 2020 to the beginning of 2021.

Kings Media told us that they would set up a new cultural industry company in March 2021 and start filming with the goal of finishing filming at the end of September. They also said that they would adjust the filming schedule to accommodate Kim Young Dae’s other projects. However, although we don’t know what internal issues the company was having, the production company known as Kings Media suddenly disappeared and several actors dropped out of the show and the director and screenwriter were also replaced. A new company called Kingsland popped up in its place, with the same president as Kings Media.

There was no reason for us to renew our contract with this newly established Kingsland, and since we’d experienced several incidents of them breaking their promise regarding meetings and delivering scripts, we told them several times that our contract was no longer possible. But Kingsland continued to request a contract through various means, and even released a press statement saying that Kim Young Dae had been cast and went around marketing that fact to advertisers before the contract had been decided upon.

Through Kingsland’s constant persuasion, we signed a new contract with Kingsland on June 1, 2021. Because of the drama’s uncertain filming schedule, we were forced to give up other projects that Kim Young Dae was offered for the first half of 2022. However, since we had chosen to appear in the project, we decided to do our best without regrets. But in contrast to their promises that the production was going well, there were rumors in the production industry that Kingsland had fallen behind in paying their employees and staff. Despite all this, Kim Young Dae faithfully participated in actors’ meetings and script readings and did his best for the project’s success. Then it was revealed that Kingsland was behind in paying its actors’ initial contract down payment.

Out of anxiety, the agency checked multiple times with Kingsland whether there were any issues with the actors’ contract fees. We checked until late in the evening of June 18, which was the overdue deadline, and in the end we were not able to receive the down payment. We protested about this to Kingsland, who acknowledged that the production was in difficulties due to arrears on staff wages and office rent. Kingsland also said that it would be difficult to get more external financing and told us that they would find another production company and suggested that we make a new contract with them instead.

But upon reflection, our agency had already been in a failed contract with Kings Media last year, and our new contract with Kingsland had also failed. We told them clearly, “There is no reason or intention for us to make a new contract with a new production company on Kingsland’s recommendation. We can no longer absorb the damages. We have waited more than a year and it has been long enough. Due to breach of trust, we can no longer work together.”

Ultimately, our contract became impossible for reasons that were fully attributable to the production company Kingsland. According to the rules of the contract, we notified Kingsland’s president directly on June 21 that we could no longer continue the contract.

On the same day, we contacted various people associated with the “School 2021” production to inform them that our artist’s contract fees had not been paid and that we had canceled his contract. But on July 1, about 10 days after our cancellation, Kingsland bypassed our agency and contacted Kim Young Dae directly to tell him that there was a script reading on July 15 and to check his schedule. Naturally, we were absolutely taken aback.

After this, we sent multiple notifications of the contract cancellation, but Kingsland has still not replied to us. Besides, due to Kingsland’s current status, it would have been impossible for filming to begin at the end of June as originally planned.

We have documents to support everything we have said took place over the past year and three months, between March 2020 until now. Despite this, there have been several articles that make it seem like our actor one-sidedly decided to drop out of the project. We clearly communicated to the “School 2021” representatives about our reasons for leaving and the situation regarding Kim Young Dae’s other project commitments. The production company was already having meetings with other actors [for the role] but made us look like we were not being transparent and unfairly going ahead with another project. There is also information being spread that makes it look like Kim Young Dae is responsible for the production setbacks.

With this false information being spread, Kim Young Dae and the agency staff are going through a difficult time, but we have done our best and worked together to get to where we are now, and we are grateful that Kim Young Dae is beginning to receive so much love from the public. As an agency, we will do our best to protect our artist.

Kim Young Dae and the agency decided to appear in “School 2021” despite an uncertain production situation because we wanted to create good connections with the director and the broadcasting company. But after such serious issues with the production company, we could no longer accept things as they were and had to step down from the project.

We ask that people be patient for KBS to understand the full scope of issues with Kingsland, an external production company, and fairly deal with the problem. We sincerely hope that the “School” series, which has a long and good tradition at KBS, will be remade with a new production company and cast and be remembered as a good project with lots of fans around the world.

We pray for everyone’s health and safety. Thank you for reading such a long statement.

The statement was written by Won Wook and Min Kyung Hwan, the CEOs of Outer Korea.

In February 2020, it was announced that there would be a new instalment of the “School” drama series starring Kim Yo Han. The drama soon ran into issues regarding the casting of the female lead, and in April 2020, KBS announced that it was no longer planning to air the drama. In November 2020, the drama’s title was changed to “School 2021,” with Kim Yo Han remaining the lead actor. More actors were cast in the upcoming production before it was announced that Kim Young Dae was leaving the cast.

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