Kris and Luhan‘s legal teams released a retort to SM Entertainment‘s latest legal volley, and it made me think it’s fruitless to try to avoid covering this issue from now on because it’s gonna go back and forth forever like TVXQ/JYJ, isn’t it?
Anyway, in three bullet points, the legal team for the two hit back at SME’s past and pointed out why exactly SME don’t have the right to block their activities.
1. The “contract nullification” lawsuit that the artists filed have already entered into mediation. Both sides have been suggesting their own settlement provisions as well as gone through several consultations throughout the mediations. There will be another mediation session on February 27th in Korea, and both sides have agreed to meet with their representatives in China. During this situation, SM has recently released a statement that does not help with resolving the disputes, making one question whether they really have sincerity to settle.
2. As the biggest entertainment company in Korea, SM used their superior status to sign contracts with artists that are unreasonable and unfair. Because of this, the Korean Fair Trade Commission has punished SM many times. The artists have mentioned contract termination to SM many times (because of overload of artist schedules, weekends and holidays have no proper rest times, deteriorating health, the company never considers artists’ opinions, no clear understanding of and unfair income distribution), however, the company either avoids or rejects it. The artists, as a last resort, chose to go through a lawsuit to break away from a slave contract. SM knew of the above reasons yet still stated in their statement, “under no justified reasoning, no consideration of the contract, trust and ethics, and for only personal benefit left the group EXO,” you can see that SM is creating confusion between right and wrong to purposely hurt the artists.
3. During SM and JYJ’s (formerly TVXQ members who broke away from the group) exclusive contract dispute, SM used “as the artists are in a contract dispute” as a reason to send television broadcasts, radio broadcasts and others letters requesting to stop all JYJ artist activities in Korea. In the end, Korean Fair Trade Commission issued a sanction to SM requesting that they correct their “interfering with artist activities” actions. Now, in China, Hong Kong, and other regions, SM is repeating their old tactics, recklessly sending Chinese artist agencies and media legal letters in order to interfere with artist activities, and even further directly files a lawsuit with the goal of slandering the artists reputations and strangle the artists’ activities.
Then it ended with what essentially amounted to a legal threat.
Lastly we reiterate, artists continue to try to settle this dispute through consultations. However, SM continues to release misleading and threatening statements, artists will discontinue chances of settlement and bring out the weapon of law to protect their legal rights and interests. We also express apologies to those friends who have suffered from these disputes.
The first point is basically just saying that SME are being dicks and should focus on the settlement case that’s already in court. But the second point is mostly just PR as a rebuttal to SME’s PR, as it’s designed solely to remind people how many problems SME have had in the past with their artists. I frame it as PR because that has little to do with this case, since those ‘slave contracts’ have been abolished already.
The third point is the legitimate one, and it’s what I’ve been mentioning all along. It’s obvious to everybody why SME wants to stop their activities and drag the case out for years like they did with JYJ, because it affords SME leverage in settlement negotiations and because it essentially blacklists them legally instead of them having to go through back channels. That’s ideal for the company in any scenario. As Kris and Luhan’s side pointed out though, SME have gone down that road before and lost, so they probably shouldn’t think they’re in the right to try and prevent activities again.
In any case, none of these barbs being traded really accomplishes anything important, but it sure adds to the building drama, as the respective fandoms are getting more and more heated because of this mess. That building rage will inevitably lead to a bunch of epic meltdowns at some point when the results come in.
Also, this happened. I can’t understand shit.