SEOUL: A South Korean record label's move to dump two K-pop artists who had declared their romantic relationship has sparked a major fan backlash on social media and knocked its share price lower.
Cube Entertainment Inc announced in a statement on Thursday that it had fired female singer Hyun Ah, 26, from the group Triple H, and E'Dawn, 24, from the 10-member boy band Pentagon, citing broken trust in the artists.
"After a few discussions and thought, we decided to expel the two as we thought it is impossible to rebuild faith with both Hyun Ah and E'Dawn," it said in a statement on Thursday. It did not elaborate on its reasons and did not explicitly refer to the relationship between the two.
Several South Korean performers have complained in recent years about rules their record labels place on their personal lives, including restrictions on alcohol, dating and plastic surgery.
While Cube later partially reversed its decision with its chief executive, Shin Dae-nam, on Thursday saying the decision was still under consideration, the damage was already done.
Its shares have fallen 10.6 percent since market open on Thursday while fans took their outrage to social media.
"Can't wait till your stocks drop faster than my internet speed," a user named jypentertainme.nt wrote on Cube's Instagram profile.
The couple went public on social media last month declaring they had been in a relationship for two years, following media speculation and a previous denial by Cube.
A Cube spokesperson referred Reuters queries to CEO Shin's comments. Neither Hyun Ah nor E'Dawn, whose real names are Kim Hyun-ah and Kim Hyo-jong, respectively, could be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Joori Roh; Writing by Sam Holmes; Editing by Christopher Cushing)