EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin notify label SM Entertainment for contract termination
EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin have decided to end their respective exclusive contracts with SM Entertainment on Thursday, June 1.
The EXO members issued their official statement through lawyer Lee Jae-hak of Lin law firm, saying they’ve experienced lack of pay, illegal slave contracts, and sought settlement with their label prior to taking action, according to a report from Korean media outlet Newsen.
Citing unfair contract terms and mistreatment, Jae-hak revealed that SM Entertainment refused to provide papers on how the K-pop idols have been given their salaries since their debut, despite them asking for seven times since March 21.
“It’s an artist’s basic right to request a transparent basis on how settlements are made, and SM is also obliged to comply in accordance with their exclusive contract and South Korea’s Popular Culture and Arts Industry Development Act,” their statement read. “But SM Entertainment maintained that such data can’t be shared.”
Their statement also noted that the label offered singers to sign 12- to 13-year contracts with the label, which is said to be longer than the government’s standard seven-year contract.
“If settlement data and basis for settlement have not been provided to other SM artists, this is not just a problem for Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen, but a problem for all SM artists — that could be a problem,” they were quoted as saying.
Despite this, the EXO members apologized to fans for causing “great concern” in the statement, as they noted that they will do their best to “resolve their dispute” with the label.
“We are very scared of this moment because we want to make a small voice about injustice that we have not been able to tell you before,” they said. “We hope you will pay attention to our words and courage. Once again, we sincerely thank our fans for supporting us for a long time.”
SM Entertainment has since responded to the reports on the same day, claiming that there are “external forces” advising their artists to “ignore their current contracts” and instigate conflict between their acts and the company.
“The attempt by outside forces is an obvious illegal act, and there is also a hidden intention to disintegrate the existing team by instigating conflict between the company and artists and between artists and artists,” SM said, per a Daum report. “It is not only an unacceptable attempt to fundamentally destroy it, but also an illegal act that must never be forgiven for the sake of a healthy future for the entire K-pop industry.”
Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin debuted as members of EXO in April 2012. They are also part of the group’s sub-unit EXO-CBX, and have pursued solo careers in the music industry.
During their debut, it can be recalled that Baekhyun was part of EXO-K, while Chen and Xiumin were members of EXO-M. EDV