Following the rumours about EXO-M (EXO’s Chinese group) leader Kris’ (real name Wu Yi Fan) random hiatus to Canada last year right before the group’s March promotions, a K-Pop “shitstorm” erupted after it was announced that Kris has filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment recently.
As most of you might already know, this is not the first time that South Korean entertainment powerhouse SM Entertainment has had a wrench thrown in the works with regards to their idol boy bands. SM Entertainment has received allegations of unfair labor practices and contracts in the past. The first was the story of TVXQ!, followed by Super Junior’s Hangeng.
Former TVXQ! members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment in 2009 which entailed a lengthy battle. Hangeng, on the other hand, filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment in which he cited that a 13-year exclusive contract was amongst many things, unlawful. He also cited lengthy work hours and lack of timely medical treatment in his allegations.
Is Kris The Good Boy Gone Bad?
The Korean law firm Hakyul is rumored to be handling the contract termination lawsuit which was filed within the Seoul Central District Court. We hear that Kris specifically selected the same lawyer, Cho Bum Suk, who successfully terminated the exclusive contract for Hangeng, According to news outlet OSEN, the Seoul District Court has confirmed the filing of the lawsuit but it hasn’t been processed.
Apparently, it came as a shock to everyone – the 11 EXO members, SM Entertainment, and fans alike. When he initially “left” the group in 2013, industry insiders claimed that he left because he went through a crisis after realising the harsh realities of the idol life. His absence meant that the rest of the members had to carry on practising as an incomplete group and their comeback date was pushed back while SM Entertainment worked on persuading Kris to come back.
Which he did, for the promotions of “Wolf” and more importantly their hit, “Growl”:
Now, however, news portals are claiming that the reasons behind Kris’ decision to sue SM Entertainment (despite EXO’s huge success the past year) is due to the fact that he was restricted in terms of personal development, plus the unfair distribution of wages. Rumour has it that he wasn’t given what he was originally promised prior to signing the contract with SM Entertainment i.e. acting opportunities.
SM Entertainment’s & Fans’ Reactions
At first, SM Entertainment denied the rumours. After which, they went on to say, “We are trying to confirm the facts regarding the lawsuit requesting for the termination of Kris’ contract. It is a very shocking issue, but we will do our best so that EXO’s activities will go on smoothly.” On Twitter, a pandemonium brewed overnight, spawning several hashtags related to the news:
EXO’s angry mob of hardcore fans have also taken their shock and sheer disbelief to some of the member’s Instagram accounts. Most of them were “seen” begging the boys to talk Kris out of the lawsuit and to stay “We Are One!”, EXO’s motto/slogan.
EXO Members’ (Supposed) Rebuttal
Since the announcement, the social media platforms “belonging” to several EXO members have come into spotlight. Not only has the members unfollowed Kris’ Instagram account, some members were seen posting up random, questionable pictures. Sehun (youngest member of EXO) posted up a large question mark simply captioned, “…” while South Korean member Chanyeol uploaded a picture accompanied with a mysterious caption in Chinese characters.
The one that faced and is still continuing to face a lot of heat is Tao’s Instagram account, particularly this post:
Fans are saying that the above post was not made by Tao because it doesn’t sound like something Tao would say about Kris. Also, it’s known fact that the idols are usually under tight “security” and for most of them, their social media accounts are controlled by their respective managers. When we say controlled, we mean even as far as having their smartphones consfiscated.
On top of that, EXO-K appeared on M! Countdown yesterday to promote their new single, “Overdose”. EXO-K leader Suho reportedly told OSEN backstage, “All the members had a conversation. We don’t understand Kris’ actions at all. Everyone was caught off-guard and has mixed feelings. I think Kris’ actions are irresponsible and show that he’s not thinking about EXO at all. Our members and agency have no issues (with Kris). What Kris needs to do right now is take back the lawsuit and apologise to the members and company.”
And that’s not all. After receiving the trophy on the M! Countdown stage for EXO’s “Overdose” win, Suho made a comment that fans strongly believed was in reference to Kris and the lawsuit:
Thank you for the big award. Thank you to all the people who love us. It’s Teacher’s Day, so I want to thank Lee Soo Man sunsaengnim. We won’t forget this blessing. I sincerely love the EXO members. Our motto is, ‘We are one,’ and like the motto says we’ll become an EXO that think about EXO and our fans instead of just our individual selves. We’ll work hard. Thank you. We are one. EXO, I love you.
Suho later went on to perform the encore alone.
We’re not sure how SM Entertainment, EXO, or the fans are going to cope with further “damage” being done. What more at a time when EXO is in the midst of preparations for their first solo concert, slated to be held from 23rd -25th May at the Olympics Gymnastics Stadium in Seoul. What are your thoughts, though? Drop us a comment or two!
Kris updated his Weibo account to say the following:
(I am) One person against a multitude, (but) I’m alright, I wish you all the best, and that things will get even better for you guys. Thanks to all of those who supported me, thanks for all your voices of support. Wu Yi Fan will always be here!
The question is, where is Kris? More to come as the story unfolds.