Happyface explained that the reason for the lawsuit is the original contract stated the group would have four months of promotions, which has been previously documented, including at the press conference for the show. However, YG later tried to change the terms to three years in which the trainees could return to their companies for half the year (and later a three-quarters of the year). Happyface claims that such contracts would put smaller agencies in a bind and that it was all about YGE trying to use their clout to force smaller companies to agree to unfavorable terms.
Additionally, Happyface claims that YGE did not provide agreed upon compensation for the training, makeup, clothing, transportation, and whatever else for contestants from their company during the whole six months of the show, which matches up with a report from March on the lack of compensation from ‘MIXNINE’. Happyface also claim they were not paid part of the profits from the music released by the show as was agreed upon. As evidence for their case, Happyface presented the original contract to the court.
Happyface trainee Woo Jinyoung finished ranked #1 and made the ‘MIXNINE’ group, giving the company considerable skin in the game. It’s notable that they are only suing for ~$9,000 in damages, likely making this more about their trainee being screwed over more and recouping wasted expenses than anything to extract money. That said, I suspect they wouldn’t move on an industry giant unless others are going to follow or the scope of this is going to expand.
Honestly, I’m not schooled enough to predict the outcome of the case, but if everything claimed is true, then somebody should have to take responsibility for this mess. Everybody went onto the show with an agreement, YG reneged on that agreement because the show flopped, and he then essentially tried to force other companies into taking terrible terms or have them reject him so he wouldn’t have to bother with debuting a group he figured would flop (likely his desired outcome).
That said, YGE is gonna 100% win this even if it seems rather open-and-shut for Happyface because the former are gigantic and the latter are irrelevant and that’s how these things usually go.
Happyface further explained the lawsuit in an official statement, making clear that the money is inconsequential and it’s about them feeling they’re getting fucked with.
Happyface Entertainment shared regarding the 10 million won, “More than to be compensated for all the damages we have received, this is a symbolic amount filed in our hopes that Korean popular culture, the home of Hallyu, will progress healthily without the overuse of power by large companies.” The agency also explained the situation following the conclusion of the program. “Until March, nearly two months after the conclusion of the show, YG Entertainment did not mention anything to Happyface Entertainment regarding debut preparations or plans. Although they knew the contestants’ earnestness towards debuting better than anyone, they were neglected. Afterwards, YG Entertainment belatedly contacted the agencies of the top nine after being flooded with criticism by the media and fans. Then rather than sharing debut plans as written in the original contracts, they presented changed contract terms without any discussion with the agencies. This was to extend YG Entertainment’s exclusive management period from four months to three years, which was only advantageous to themselves.” Happyface Entertainment commented that YG Entertainment then used the agencies not agreeing as an excuse to cancel the debut. “Although they had the responsibility to fulfill the original contract if we didn’t accept the changes, YG Entertainment was unilateral all the way to the decision of canceling the debut.” The agency also mentions YG Entertainment’s statement at the time, which said, “four months were not enough to prepare new music, film a music video, practice choreography, and hold a solo concert.” Happyface Entertainment clarified, “The ‘four months’ had been selected as the promotion period following the date of the music release, and the music preparation period was separate.”
That all seems to make sense, honestly.
YGE then responded with a statement of their own.
“We thought the situation ended a few months ago when the announcement was made to media after the six agency CEOs met and came to a friendly agreement. As a result, we were not expecting one of the agencies to file a 10 million won damage suit at this point. However, as an official lawsuit was filed, we will respond by discussing with a legal expert, and through the final decision of the court, we will work to minimize all the misunderstandings. Thank you.”
That’s a rather boilerplate response for the specific and thorough accusations leveled against them.
Should be rather fascinating to see how this all shakes out.