Far left: E’Dawn, Right: HyunA
Screenshot: Youtube

Two South Korean pop idols, singer HyunA and rapper E’Dawn who performed together in the group Triple H, are currently dating. But their record label isn’t into that, so they fired them.

The New York Times reports that the stars’ label Cube Entertainment fired both of them on Thursday after their relationship went public last month. “When we manage artists, we consider mutual trust and faith our top priority,” the label wrote in a statement. “We decided the trust is broken beyond repair, so we are expelling the two from our company.”

For the idol industry, relationships are largely off limits, unspoken of or forbidden in contracts because it counteracts with the image these labels want their performers to maintain. But HyunA and E’Dawn had reportedly been dating since 2016. “I really wanted to be honest,” HunA wrote on her Instagram about confirming her relationship, as translated by the Korean pop culture site Soompi. “For the fans who always support me and watch over me, I want to work hard on stage with a happy heart, with nothing to hide, as I always have.”

According to the NYT, after there was a 6.57 percent drop in Cube’s stock price on Thursday, a senior executive for the label hilariously walked back on reports that the two stars were fired, telling local news the decision “wasn’t final.”

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It’s worth noting that while the American press often likes to gape at K-pop’s strictness (aspiring K-pop performers go to rigorous training schools and the industry has government funding), it isn’t so far off from what American pop stars go through. Questionable “real” relationships pop up all the time, pop stars here are frequently trapped in contracts, and one of our most successful pop stars can’t even use her own money without supervision. All of which is to say, the pop music industry is fucked up, period! Frankly, the Korean music industry is just more explicit and transparent about the regulations they place on artists’ personal lives.