Girls’ Generation has kicked out one of its star members, sending shock waves through the group’s devoted fan base in South Korea, Asia and beyond.
Jessica Jung, one of the most popular members of the nine-girl act - also known as SNSD - said she had been “shockingly” informed by her eight colleagues and agency that she was no longer part of the band.
“I am devastated – my priority and love is to serve as a member of GG, but for no justifiable reason, I am being forced out,” the 25-year-old wrote on her Weibo account.
Her agency, SM Entertainment, insists Jung had expressed an intention to quit earlier this year to focus on her newly launched fashion business. The agency’s statement said: “As the band had conflicting priorities and interests and Jessica started her own fashion business.” A Korean-American who was born and raised in San Francisco, Jung launched her own fashion line “BLANC” in August of this year.
“We came to a conclusion that we can no longer continue the band like this,” the statement continued, without going into detail. “We made a decision on her departure earlier than originally planned.”
The agency stressed that Girls Generation would keep going with the remaining eight members.
The news made headlines in South Korea and immediately began trending on social networks, along with hashtags "StayStrongJessica" and "StayStrongSNSD", and messages from devastated fans.
“They kept saying that they were like a family and they would sing and stick together until they became grannies,” said one disillusioned fan. “But they were just business partners after all.”
Formed in 2007, Girls’ Generation had a breakout hit with Gee two years later, and morphed into one of the biggest acts the massive K-pop industry has ever produced, with a huge following in China and Japan as well as their native South Korea.