“SM Entertainment in Korea has filed a lawsuit against Kris and his employers in China, claiming that he has breached the contract with the Korean company.
On January 13, 2008, Kris became an SM trainee in a foreign country to fulfill his dream of becoming a star. During his time as a trainee, his debut plans kept getting pushed by SM Entertainment, on multiple occasions. And after debuting in 2012, in January of 2013 when the group was recording, Kris found out that his part, for which he practiced for about 10 days, had suddenly been cancelled. He asked SM why this was, and they forcefully asked him to leave EXO for a few months, disturbing Kris’ career. After multilateral negotiations, Kris returned to the team, but he was continuously treated unfairly and oppressively. SM’s discriminatory treatment, unbearable treatment, and lack of vacation resulted in a serious health problem for Kris. From July of 2013 Kris worked while taking medication, and in January of 2014, he was diagnosed with myocarditis in China. Despite these situations, SM did not look after Kris and his health. Furthermore, due to unfair profit allocation and lack of support in Kris’ development, he lost all trust in SM’s management.
Due to the reasons above, Kris unfortunately had to file a lawsuit against SM Entertainment with the Seoul Central District Court on May 15, 2014. On May 14, 2015, the Court ordered SM to grant management rights to him outside of Korea. Kris’ side considered the court’s decision fair. But even after a year of negotiations, SM did not accept the court’s decision, and they continue to take the issue to court. This is SM trying delay terminating the contract with Kris and to get in the way of his career as an entertainer.
Kris has always been thankful for SM, and he is also thankful for everyone who has helped him develop. He has wished to accept the court’s decision previously, and he will continue to accept what the court deems appropriate.
Moreover, Kris is currently working with a Chinese-Korean legal team to solve this issue, and as promised, he will continue his Chinese schedule. He will not make any claims to the SM Entertainment’s contract with him until the lawsuit is settled, and he will leave all matters to the legal team.”
1) Did discrimination occur? Likely, yes. Did he have health problems? Likely, yes. Were his career opportunities jerked about? Likely, yes. These are not hard to believe given that he’s ethnic Chinese, given that basically all idols have health problems, and given that the companies control what the idols can do. Like be honest, these are not even remotely unbelievable claims.
2) Do I think those were the primary motivational factors for him opting out? No. They likely just helped him out the door when he saw a better opportunity. I don’t think greedy is the right word, but opportunistic? Absolutely.
3) Do I care that individual idols who do have options are trying to game a system built on threatening idols to accept everything thrown at them or be blacklisted from the industry? No. I’ve said this before, but if your best reason why all idols don’t leave the system once they gain leverage is that they’re Korean and would have nowhere else to turn, I’m not sure that’s the best sign of a healthy system. But it undeniably works as is and the industry continues to grow because 99% of fans don’t give a shit about this stuff, so they have no incentive to change it or to treat idols like they are anything different than premium beef cattle, and thus I also really don’t have qualms when said idols bounce for a better opportunity the first chance they get. Escaping their contract is one way, but I also don’t particularly care when they want to leave idol life to do acting or do fashion or go indie.
I don’t know how this turns out and I don’t particularly care outside of hoping that the parties involved maximize the drama, but from a narrative standpoint, there’s just something amusing about a large company that’s used to getting its way now desperately trying to save face as they realize they have no leverage and there’s not much they can do in the end except smile and accept it.
Must feel bad.