If you recall, the lawsuit is over YGE changing the terms of the contracts and not providing agreed upon compensation.
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.
Yes, HFE’s trainee Woo Jinyoung was going to be the center of the group, but the paltry amount they’re suing for is far more symbolic than anything else. Basically asking the court to recognize that big companies can’t simply do whatever they want to little companies, which HFE essentially said as well.
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.”
Honestly not sure how anybody can side with YGE over HFE in this, really. True, the explicit details of the contract haven’t been revealed, but what ‘MIXNINE’ had been promising from the very beginning didn’t happen, so it’s difficult to say YGE did the show’s participants justice here. They certainly fucked SOMETHING up even if they manage to wiggle off the hook legally.
Plus, the dynamic at play here is rather clear in that YGE screwed with a bunch of smaller companies and their trainees simply because he could after he didn’t get the ‘Produce 101‘ level reality show he desired. Like most things, he expected the smaller companies to just take it and thus it would eventually die out as a story. But now that somebody had the gall to stand up for themselves, he wants to crush them to make sure this doesn’t set a precedent.
I’m really cynical when it comes to expectations in this kind of matchup, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if YGE won simply because they have the money and influence, and that typically wins out over anything else. God knows Kim & Chang don’t exactly care about the rules either.