MOLE Entertainment To File Lawsuit Against Coco Lee Amidst CocoSori Disbandment
MOLE Entertainment recently announced that K-Pop girl group duo CocoSori will be disbanding.
In addition, the K-Pop entertainment agency added that they will be filing a lawsuit against one of the members, Coco, for defamation and spreading false rumors against the agency and fellow former member SoRi.
A while back, Coco stated during a live streaming session that MOLE Entertainment was prioritizing SoRi’s solo debut more than her activities. This naturally lead fans to believe that MOLE Entertainment was mismanaging Coco.
However, MOLE Entertainment has responded with the following message below.
To CoCoSoRi fans,
First of all, we, the M.O.L.E. (“the company”), would like to thank all the fans for supporting CoCoSoRi until now and, at the same time, to apologize in advance for delivering a rather unpleasant statement.
Coco, a member of CoCoSoRi, has repeatedly posted false and defamatory statements about the company and Sori, the other member of CoCoSoRi, on her personal social media accounts. Due to her actions, we have sent several legal documents pointing out a breach of contract for slandering the company and requested a public apology from her. Last week we received a letter from Coco’s legal representative stating that there would be no apologies.
We believe that issues between a company and its affiliated artists should be resolved in a private manner rather than made public. At first, we had hoped to work with the situation towards a more positive outcome for both parties and avoid unnecessary legal action in any way possible by asking Coco to correct her false accusations against the company along with a public apology. In addition, we suggested that her contract could be terminated without having a legal battle. Coco, however, only suggested removing certain posts she had uploaded on her social media sites. Unfortunately, we have learned that there is much more than what’s left on her social media sites; her posts have been shared among her fans in various internet sites, not to mention a number of articles that have been published about this issue as well. Her fans have left numerous resentful messages against the company on online media sites and many captured images and videos of Coco’s posts remain intact. Because of this it is our position that we cannot reach a peaceful settlement by just having the posts and videos removed from Coco’s accounts without an apology.
Even though we are a small company, we are not financially “broke”, as Coco has stated in her posts. Indeed, we are not as financially successful as other major entertainment companies, yet we fully understand that there are contractual obligations towards our contracted artists, including Coco, and we have supported her above and beyond what a typical Korean management company would have done.
We have provided Coco with various lessons she needed as a singer at the company’s expense and also arranged her with accommodations even when she did not have any promotional activity (until she voluntarily left the apartment provided by the company). In addition, we also paid her a fixed salary every month until we felt that she was able to financially support herself through her own activities outside of the company. We did not require her to share her profits earned outside the company and 100% of the earnings went to her. As for the lesson fees that Coco claims to have paid out of her own pocket, we would like to make it clear that she wanted to take those lessons for her personal reasons, and they were not in any way related to her professional activities as an artist. As such, there is no obligation for the company to pay for those lessons.
At one time Coco expressed that she wanted to release a single as an individual singer, not as CoCoSoRi. Considering the costs vs. benefits, it was not a cost effective project from the company’s point of view. Even then, we supported Coco’s solo debut with the song ‘Wishy Washy’, with a particular composer and a music video director that she requested. From a strictly business standpoint, it was money that should not have been spent and, furthermore, this song was not the type that could easily be promoted on public TV shows. Even so, we spent a necessary amount of capital so that she could go forward with her song and establish her equity as an artist. Another time, when Coco communicated to us that she wanted to earn money through her own YouTube channel, we supported Coco’s economic independence by letting her manage her own YouTube channel. Although it was definitely out of the contractual terms and the company did not get involved in any of her financial gains, we celebrated her successful YouTube channel debut.
In addition, Coco’s course of contractual violations has created a number of conflicts between two of major broadcasting stations in Korea and the company. Her decision of choosing her personal YouTube channel schedules over pre-arranged broadcasting programs offered by the company is one example. Coco’s rationale was to follow where more money flowed even if it meant overstepping what was agreed on the contract. As a result, the company not only had to repeatedly apologize to the TV broadcasters, but also involuntarily was forced not to schedule her in TV broadcasting shows anymore in order to prevent possible scheduling accidents in the future. The company never filed grievance against Coco’s contract violations. Instead, we continued to support her career as an entertainer by providing a manager, transportation, and relevant expenses.
When Coco asked for CoCoSoRi to make a comeback, the company was in a rather financially difficult situation. We, then, decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to fund CoCoSoRi’s third single in Korea “Mi Amor.” We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the fans that supported CoCoSoRi, Coco, and Sori through this Kickstarter campaign. As the campaign went on, it was often assumed by many people who followed CoCoSoRi that the pledges from the Kickstarter campaign would cover all the expenses of a project. Earnings from Kickstarter pledges are never equivalent to a total cost of a project. Without financial commitment of the company, the Kickstarter pledges could only be a fraction of what would cover everything from song production to music show appearances and performances. Immediately after Mi Amor’s promotion activities ended, Coco expressed her intention of not being a professional singer anymore. We honored her request although it was never fully explained to us why she had such a change of heart.
A few months later, however, Coco brought us unexpected news that she had received a great song and that she wanted to release it solo as a singer yet again. Even though she had previously expressed that she would not do any more promotional activities as a singer, we respected her decision and pursued her wish by recording/mastering the song. The company had an understanding that the song would not bring a financial success from a business standpoint, but we respected her decision since she was an asset to the company as much as other affiliated artists we have. Coco, however, wished to change the song to another one when recording/mastering of her original song was already completed. Again, the company made a decision to support her by recording the new song and postponing the release of the original song that was ready to go. As you all know, Coco’s second solo song “Sugar Cake” also had a Kickstarter campaign, and thanks to the many pledges received, the project was a success. As previously explained, however, a Kickstarter campaign does not cover all the costs of a project. The total cost ended up being more than what Coco had initially said it would be. Coco’s statement on Twitch and other media channels where she and her friends argue that it was all accomplished only by themselves without any support from the company is simply not true. Coco wanted to produce everything the way she wanted and we have paid as she demanded. As with ”Wishy Washy,” the result was an additional expense much more than what CoCo had initially discussed and, as a result, the company was left with no choice other than paying for it.
It truly is saddening to hear Coco’s argument about favoritism towards Sori after everything the company has done for Coco. As the company did not disclose Coco’s debut as a solo artist to Sori, Sori’s solo debut was not disclosed to Coco. It is not an obligation for the company to disclose individual artist’s plans to anyone else other than the artist him/herself. Therefore, Coco’s protest against the company regarding Sori’s solo career does not make sense. Sori’s debut as a solo artist had been kept confidential in order to not to create unnecessary rumors as any other artists’ career is treated by the company. It is disappointing to know that Coco felt she was treated unfairly only because she was kept out the loop of Sori’s professional career decision. Coco’s argument of being left out of Sori’s event can only be interpreted as Coco’s won lack of interest in the company’s affairs since we made Sori’s solo debut public when all preparation was completed to make it official. Coco also argued about Sugar Cake’s Kickstarter rewards stating that the company’s poor management of dealing with her CDs derived problems while she fulfilled all her responsibilities. The CDs were sent to everyone a long time ago and only two of them came back unclaimed (because of incorrect addresses). In fact, the actual complication with the Kickstarter rewards was due to Coco continuously postponing to provide fan services, such as shooting video messages, so much so that it took longer than three months to accomplish it.
One of the fan services, having Skype video chatting with fans still hasn’t happened in spite of the company’s effort of coordinating schedules and contacting fans repeatedly; to this day the reward remains unfulfilled. Coco doesn’t seem to have time to commit on rewards for her fans who have supported her, while she has meetings with fans abroad (without notifying the company) and selling CDs, considered company assets, without disclosing quantities of CDs or the total financial gains from selling CDs to the company. This, too, is a major breach of contract.
Recently it has come to our attention that she has been working on her own as an interviewer without giving any prior notification to the company. For the past four months she had repeatedly engaged in defamation, creating a negative image of the company and damaging Sori’s reputation.
To put it mildly, the problems of Coco have been so many for years, yet the company has been supporting her despite damage to the business. Even so, because we did not want to hurt CoCoSoRi and Coco’s fans who love and support them, we wanted to resolve the issue on good terms on the condition that she would reflect on her actions and words, and correct her statements and apologize publicly. However, she has rejected the last chance for an amicable resolution. More than anything, this is creating a negative image of Sori, who always tries her best even in the midst of difficulties. Some fans who support Coco have taken it upon themselves to attack the company and Sori through social media, some claiming that they have not received their CDs while not having ordered any at all, among other things. We would like you to understand that this posting of false information should not continue. What we asked of Coco was for her to correct her statements through a sincere apology. If she would post such an apology on her personal social media, both parties would have been able to reach an amicable agreement without a trial. If we went to trial without any agreement we could get a bigger compensation through penalties for breach of contract, etc., but we thought that the reputation of the company and its artists is more important.
We know that the image of the K-Pop industry is that the companies are exploiting the artists and that the artists are always the victims. We understand that we are partly responsible for the problem with Coco going public the way it did. However, even though we are a so-called “small company”, and we cannot afford to spend as much money as larger companies, we have never given up our obligations to our artists and fans, and always fulfilled our duties. We always put our artists and their fans before profit. Because Coco makes her posts on social media in English, she thinks that she has more influence on the public opinion and also thinks that she can make us appear as a bad company and herself as the victim.
Unfortunately, some of her thoughts may be viewed or interpreted differently from the company’s point of view to some fans. It is, however, impossible for us to reach an agreement without her apology. Moreover, if we gave up now, all the misunderstandings could, and would be taken as facts. This is the reason we decided to give our explanation in this manner and we will continue to tell the truth in the future.
For those who have accepted Coco’s claims and have posted articles harassing the company and Sori, we ask you to delete these articles or edit their contents within the next 14 days. We understand how fabricated misconceptions could be created via various routes, but we will definitely take actions against those who willfully choose to continue their current course of action by attacking us one-sidedly even after having read this explanation.
Whenever we encounter a question regarding a future comeback of CoCoSoRi, we carry a heavy heart for the fans who have nothing to do with the breakup of the team. We deeply regret to have disappointed our fans. Once again, we sincerely apologize for this conflicting issue. Downhearted, we now officially announce that there will no longer be any CoCoSoRi activities in the future. And, more importantly, just as Coco has stated in her own words, we will do our best until justice is served.
Thank you for reading this long statement to the end.