Hello and welcome back to the FIFTY FIFTY/The Givers/SIAHN/ATTRAKT/Jeon Hong Joon contract mess, as coverage took a break due to me being busy with work and not wanting to update on every detail as the court case dragged along forever.
So, let me summarize what’s happened since we last left off, as there’s actually been a decent amount of stuff.
For starters, Dispatch reported that SIAHN of The Givers forged the signatures of at least two of the three Swedish students in order to get the copyright for “Cupid“, and said that he also diluted FIFTY FIFTY member Keena‘s share of the copyright from 6.5% to 0.5%.
Curiously though, despite that being an allegations of a serious crime, nothing further has been updated on that front. And while I assume Dispatch would not be sloppy enough to confuse an automatically generated DocuSign signature as their “originals”, it now seems at least possible cause I’ve stamped dozens of online contracts on that site in a similar manner. Furthermore, a couple days later The Givers released a statement explaining that the copyright for “Cupid” was not purchased in relation to ATTRAKT or FIFTY FIFTY at all, as it was initially done for a different artist. They also reject the allegations of diluting copyright shares, saying that they’re accurately represented at the time of registration, and that the original composers’ contributions remain on official sources. The Givers explain that they do not receive all the profits from “Cupid”, claiming that 50% goes to ATTRAKT and 10-11% go to the copyright holder (30-35% for service providers and 6% for performers). Most notably, they deny forging signatures and say they did not take shares from foreign composers.
Apart from that, The Givers did make some rebuttals to the ATTRAKT. Notably, SIAHN revealed KakaoTalk messages that he claims shows the call that Jeon Hong Joon was aware of the label deal offers, and that JHJ simply wanted to take the company public himself. The Givers further explained that ATTRAKT did not supply funds in a timely manner, causing complications to production. This basically comes down to whether SIAHN discussed a buyout of the whole company privately with Warner Music Korea as if he represented ATTRAKT, because Jeon Hong Joon was certainly aware that they were pursuing equity deals in the label.
Additionally, The Givers released further KakaoTalk convos, showing the Jeon Hong Joon was the one who suggested the FIFTY FIFTY music video for “Barbie Dreams” be cancelled contrary to previous reports that SIAHN did it, and furthermore showing that he asked SIAHN to lie about it by saying Saenz had COVID-19 and Aran was recovering from gall bladder surgery. So this basically paints a picture that Jeon Hong Joon knew the value of ties with overseas companies, but couldn’t convince the FIFTY FIFTY girls to continue with the shoot. Thus, he told SIAHN to lie about the reason in hopes of buying time so that this whole debacle we’re reading about right now wouldn’t become public. It’s sort of a behind-the-scenes look at how all sorts of things are blamed on the health of idols, going as far as putting the blame on them towards major companies and the public, just to hide internal issues.
On the other hand, SIAHN has been accused of lying about his educational background and part of his resume, and he admitted to at least the educational part of it. To be fair, he’s never not seemed at least like a shady industry veteran type of figure throughout this whole saga, and his been rightfully under fire for it, but this is just confirmation of him not being worth trusting.
As all this was going on, nothing much was happening in terms of the actual legal case. On August 9, the court recommended mediation, but nothing was able to be worked out. On August 16, they recommended further discussions, but again things fell through and the the trial is set to resume. That’s where the contract part of this is left at.
So that brings us to the latest in the case, which is FIFTY FIFTY themselves delivering a handwritten letter to fans, sharing their position on the proceedings. The portion that addresses all the speculation and what not is surprisingly light.
It has been heartbreaking to see so many untrue stories being reported in the media articles and social media these days. Nevertheless, we have been careful about commenting on ending our exclusive contracts with our agency. This does not mean we admit or accept what has been reported in the media. We believed that taking this issue to court based on facts was the right way to solve the situation. We had hoped that the truth would be uncovered during the trial process and our right would be guaranteed. This is something we hope for even to this day. To realize that hope, we will continue to collect and submit materials and evidence based on facts. In doing so, we hope to clarify any doubts and misunderstandings. We sincerely hope that you do not make too much criticism based on false suspicions and misunderstandings and look at the facts objectively.
Well, hopefully things do work themselves out legally, and it’s certainly a valid way to go about things. That said, as public figures, you’re automatically also thrust into a trial by public whether it’s fair or not, and not clarifying much of what’s being said hasn’t gone well for them either.
Regardless, the most substantial news is that they are filing criminal charges against ATTRAKT CEO Jeon Hong Joon for embezzlement, claiming he used the group’s profits to repay debt.
It came to light that CEO Jeon Hong Joon used the advance payment Star Crew Entertainment originally received from their album distributor for unknown expenditures, then nominally included it under girl group investment costs, meaning that ATTRAKT took on the financial obligation of that advance payment, and FIFTY FIFTY’s digital music and album revenue is being used to pay off this debt.
Additionally, it was confirmed that ATTRAKT had the advance payment of 2 billion won (approximately $1.49 million) that needed to be received from FIFTY FIFTY’s album distributor deposited to Star Crew Entertainment, not ATTRAKT.
Up until now, the agency [ATTRAKT] has consistently evaded responsibility by making light of FIFTY FIFTY’s request for provisional disposition [to suspend the validity of their exclusive contracts] as complaints about the payment of their earnings. However, the FIFTY FIFTY members’ [grievances] about ‘the agency’s delay in providing statements on their earnings, missing revenue, and violation of their settlement obligations’ go beyond mere complaints. Therefore, as long as CEO Jong Hong Joon, who has committed breach of trust through embezzlement and misconduct in financial accounting, remains in charge of ATTRAKT, they can no longer maintain their exclusive contracts with their agency ATTRAKT.
Throughout the process of the court case, the question of where the investment money that ATTRAKT received was going has been brought up constantly, so this is a significant declaration of what their contract termination was always about to them and why they feel like they can no longer remain with ATTRAKT even though it’s probably in their best interest to do so from a PR perspective. One of the most valid points FIFTY FIFTY have had throughout all this is why ATTRAKT would not provide financial transparency, and the fact that they still not have done so is worthy of giving one pause as to what’s actually going on behind all the noise.
Anyway, it should be interesting to see how all of this shakes out legally, as FIFTY FIFTY’s side basically seems to be staking their careers on getting a verdict to change people’s minds, though with the way the media coverage has gone, I almost feel like even that might not be enough.