South Korean actress and Descendants of the Sun female lead Song Hye-kyo is being slammed with a countersuit from jewelry brand J. Estina for allegedly violating the terms of her endorsement contract. The countersuit was filed in response to the AU$340,000 ($260,000) filing Song made against the company.
Kpop Herald reports Song Hye-Kyo filed a lawsuit against J. Estina earlier this week for allegedly using the actress’ image to promotes its products through its website and social media accounts. Song was employed by J. Estina to promote the brand in 2014, but the actress did not renew the contract when it expired in January 2016.
In its countersuit, J. Estina indicated that under the terms of her contract, Song was required to use only products from the brand. It is now their contention that Song breached her contract for using jewelry from other brands in some episodes in Descendants of the Sun. The hit South Korean drama series was filmed from June to December of 2015, which is well within the duration of Song Hye-Kyo’s contract with J. Estina.
As to the commercial use of images from Descendants of the Sun, J. Estina claimed it abided by its contract as one of the show’s main sponsors. However, the series’ production company New Entertainment World claims it did not approve of such commercial use and that J. Estina’s claims lack legal basis.
“J.Estina was the only company that used snaps from the series for commercial purposes,” a source told Kpop Herald. “J.Estina did so without our consent. We warned the company several times against its excessive misappropriation.”
Although J. Estina did enter a AU$79,920 ($61,000) deal with Next Entertainment World to feature its products in Descendants of the Sun twice, Song Hye-Kyo and the production firm did not commit any breach for using jewelry products other than those coming from J. Estina.
Song Hye-Kyo’s legal representative also called out J. Estina for bringing to light the actress’ tax irregularities in 2015, thus tarnishing her reputation.
J. Estina and Song Hye-Kyo were entangled in a similar legal brawl in 2013 when the company illegally used images from That Winter, the Wind Blows to promotes its products. The case was settled by the parties.