SM Entertainment is putting its foot down and suing Tao to prevent him from carrying out his entertainment activities in China.

The Korean entertainment powerhouse struck back with a lawsuit against their previous artiste Tao, who earlier started the official legal process to end his exclusive contract with them and quit EXO.

EXO Tao - Exodus


Tao unofficially left the group in May as he was reported to have flown to United States to study and to receive treatment for his injuries. In June 2015, he returned to China and set up a personal studio for his future solo activities. He then made his solo debut with his first mini album titled “T.A.O”.

Following his solo debut in China, SM decided to file a lawsuit against Tao for carrying out illegal Chinese entertainment activities.

Z.Tao Comeback 2015

This is similar to their previous cases with Wu Yi Fan (formerly known as Kris) and Luhan, who left EXO-M in February and July of last year respectively to pursue their own individual activities in China.

SM Entertainment submitted the lawsuit to Beijing courts on 18th September (Friday).

In order to protect (SM) and EXO’s rights and interests from Tao’s continued illegal activities, and to prevent well-intentioned companies from getting involved in said illegal activities, we’d like to state the following,” said SM Entertainment.

They continued:

In April of 2015, Tao was already working with another company to create his own album, and he left SM and his team without permission. Moreover, in July of the same year, he released a mini album and continued to engage in illegal solo entertainment activities. While using what he gained with EXO to his advantage, appearing in advertisements, broadcasts, etc., he suddenly sued SM Entertainment on August 24, 2015.


SM added, “Until a final verdict has been reached, Tao is required to stay true to the obligations and duties outlined by his contract, and he cannot carry out (other) entertainment activities.


SM mentioned that various organisations in China, including the Publishers’ Association of China, have concluded that from the aspect of workplace ethics, “the contract must be respected, and one should not engage in actions affecting the faith and order of the industry”.

Thus, SM said:

(Wu Yi Fan), Luhan, and Tao are not respecting their contracts.

Rather than faith, they are pursuing immediate monetary profit, unilaterally trying to back out of their exclusive contracts, in what is clearly a breach of the original contract terms. They are negatively affecting the promotion of cultural exchange and cooperation between Korea and China in the private sector, and are affecting well-intentioned third parties, as well,” they added.

What do you think of the lawsuit against Tao? Do you think it’s right for them do that? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

UPDATE (25th September, 3:30pm):

Things are starting to get real intense as Tao and the Chinese label that assisted in launching his album claim that SM Entertainment is attempting to manipulate media with their lawsuit against their former artiste.

They added by saying that while Tao’s attempt to amend the situation, the Korean entertainment giant attempted to manipulate the media with their exaggerated truths. Tao posted his statement regarding the lawsuit via his workshop on 23rd September.

You can read the full statement below:

“The explanation that SM released was full of falsehoods, so we are releasing the following statement in order to make the truth known and protect Tao’s honor.

“1. After Tao and SM signed an exclusive contract, the agency was negligent in their guarantee of basic living needs, and throughout his time promoting [in Korea], Tao put off treatment for the scars he received. In addition, there were a lot of issues, not excluding discrimination of Chinese artists, which led to severe mental and physical stress on Tao. Even in this situation, Tao stayed with SM and openly expressed his displeasure with the unfair treatment, hoping for improvement. However, SM did not do anything. When Tao returned with an injury and was receiving treatment, he and his father attempted to negotiate with SM over eight times, but were met each time with a harsh proposal from SM, who said that they could not change the contract. You can plainly see SM’s insincere attitude and lack of respect for Tao.

“Because of this, Tao filed a lawsuit against SM to end his contract, submitted on August 24 of 2015. After continued tolerance of the above actions [of SM], Tao couldn’t take it in the end and sued.

“2. SM’s statement contains exaggerated truths. Taking Tao’s lawsuit and expanding it into an issue of cultural relations between Korea and China is [SM’s] method of attempting to ruin Tao’s future entertainment activities. We find this quite regrettable. Third parties cannot intervene in Tao and SM’s legal battle and it will bring no results. SM’s abuse of the legal process isn’t any help in resolving this issue. Moreover, according to stipulations outlined in the exclusive contract, any legal disagreements between Tao and SM must be dealt with in Korea, and SM’s lawsuit in China is not in accord with those stipulations.

“We are releasing the above explanation in order to block SM’s attempt at media manipulation. In the case of any future statements attempting to defame Tao, we will take legal action to protect our rights.”


What do you think about Tao’s statement regarding SM’s lawsuit? Which side are you on? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

*PS: Thanks Twitter user @hanulyi for the tip.

Source: Soompi (1) (2)

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