The boys had filed an injunction against their exclusive contract back in January. Both Block B and Stardom Entertainment had gone back and forth, with both parties claiming what the other said was false.
However, the Seoul Central Court has dismissed their request, explaining, “From the evidence provided so far, it is difficult to claim that the label purposely did not pay Block B. It is also difficult to say that the label did not provide proper facilities such as studios and dorms, and it is also difficult to say that they did not provide education and guidance. From written records, it cannot be said that Stardom Entertainment violated their management obligations.”
The court added, “There is a possibility that the musical income of 430,000,000 KRW (approximately $385,000 USD) and the event income of 5,000,000 KRW (approximately $4,500 USD) was not properly taken care of. However, from just the evidence provided, it cannot be said that the label purposely kept the money from the members.”
Finally, the court said, “The label has promised to pay the members the part that they have not been paid. There is a big probability that the unpaid fees will be paid. It is difficult to say that the exclusive contract has been nullified because of a violation of management obligations.”
So what led up to this? Quite a lot, actually.
First, news broke that Block B were suing their company for lack of payment, but all they wanted were their contracts nullified. Then they revealed their detailed complaints against Stardom Entertainment. In their initial response, Stardom admits that money was stolen, but denied all other charges. The two sides obviously couldn’t settle, so they took their case to court.
After this time, it was revealed that Stardom Entertainment believed that there was a mastermind behind Block B’s contract nullification request. Interestingly, the company placed almost no blame on the group themselves, but painted them as victims of the higher power misleading them. The company also released an extremely detailed blow-by-blow rebuttal against all charges against them. Block B’s lawyers, of course, had a rebuttal of their own.
During all of this, Stardom changed their legal representatives. They were also being sued by a concert production company, called Show Note, over failure to fulfill what was promised to them. Even while all of this was going on, Stardom had plans to debut a new male hip-hop group, which seemed to be an ominous sign for Block B.
Then the controversy got really real and kicked up a notch when Stardom’s former CEO killed himself in the midst of it all.
And now we’re here.
So, where does that leave us now?
Well, the court’s ruling is a bit weak, to say the least. The way it’s worded, it sounds like they don’t agree with their own decision, but Block B’s side didn’t provide enough evidence to fully convince them. The use of the words “difficult” and “possibility” is telling, especially since they basically admit that it’s likely money was unfairly withheld. Overall, it’s an extremely loose ruling, which is generally the opposite of how courts want to come off to the public, and this just seems begging for an appeal.
With that said, if Block B ends up stuck with Stardom Entertainment, as it seems they will be, this becomes extremely awkward. I think Stardom will treat them right in terms of releasing music, because they aren’t letting a cash cow go to waste. But as for behind-the-scenes punishment? You have to know that’s gonna happen. Though the agency has gone out of its way to not blame the group themselves, this has been a PR disaster for both of them (culminating with the suicide).
These aren’t simply open wounds, but deep gashes — gashes that will in time, get gangrene. I wouldn’t be surprised if shit starts getting amputated at some point.