I dunno what’s been going on behind the scenes in the past couple weeks, but apparently it’s a lot, as there’s more major updates with FIFTY FIFTY’s contract mess. The big news is that ATTRAKT has terminated the contracts of the remaining three members in Aran, Saena, and Sio, while those three have continued to post about their problems with the contracts they had with ATTRAKT.
Prior to the big news, FIFTY FIFTY (or at least the three members left) continued their explanations to the public about their reasons for their lawsuit, once again focusing on the financial transparency aspects of their contracts. They actually really broaden the scope of this to an industry practice, bringing up the talk about proposed revisions to the standard contract to protect companies.
The members provided examples of the language used in the standard contract and the supplemental contract, which lists further costs charged to them itemized out. They provide an estimate of the costs under the standard contract from 2020 to August 2023, which ends up around 815 million won, and then state that the estimate of the supplemental contract expenses over the same time period were 2.4 billion won. They state that it’s more than three times the standard contract, and they charge everything to the group’s debt other than labor and company office rent.
They admit that they did read this before signing, but when they objected to items in the supplementary contract at the time, they were assured it was standard practice and they didn’t have power to argue over it. Their point is that agencies already modify the standard contract to their advantage over trainees/idols, so they don’t understand the talk about having to change it to advantage them more. The members state that they understand the company is taking risk and that is why they get a bigger share, but that if they’re able to deduct so many things then the other party should get transparency at least.
Furthermore, they clarify that through their time at the company there was no differentiation between ATTRAKT and The Givers. To them they were all part of the same company, which is basically in line with what Keena has said recently. They said at the time Jeon Jung Hoon told the girls to follow SIAHN as well, and that they only learned of the dispute between the two parties through the media, which also seems to dovetail with what Keena expressed about the perception of the two sides.
FIFTY FIFTY conclude by circling back to their main point about transparency, explaining that settlement statements were not provided every month like the contract dictates, but were instead provided that information just five times over 2.5 years, which included a period of almost a year without one. They say that the costs in those settlements were divided only by the members with no information about the agency’s share, that they were left in the dark about their earnings against their debts, and that they typically had to sign the settlement statements they did get on the day of receiving them, which they saw as having to do so under duress due to not having time to evaluate them.
On the other side, ATTRAKT seems to have given up their public-facing posture of being open to welcoming FIFTY FIFTY back, having terminated the contracts of Saena, Sio, and Aran.
On October 23, ATTRAKT shared, “We notified Saena, Sio, and Aran—the remaining members of our agency’s girl group FIFTY FIFTY excluding Keena—of the termination of their exclusive contracts as of October 19.”
The agency added, “We have taken action in response to the three FIFTY FIFTY member’s lack of corrective measures or reflections on their serious contract violations. We will discuss follow-up measures against the members in the future.”
With this timing, I think it becomes clearer why Keena likely went back to ATTRAKT, as they probably made a last call for a return before taking this action. I don’t blame her either, as with the way things stand now it’s objectively the best (and maybe only) way to salvage her career. Even aside from the lawsuit being a physical and mental drain, she also simply had the most to lose from information that was made public after the lawsuit, due to SIAHN pilfering ~6% of her songwriting royalties from “Cupid“.
I’m glad FIFTY FIFTY are using this time to reveal more about the inner workings of these contracts since that’s always an educational experience for me, if nothing else. I also appreciate their point in pushing back against the ridiculous proposed revisions to the standard contract. That said, I’m honestly not sure if them playing the opposite side of that issue is going to help perceptions of it in Korea at this point.
There’s not actually a ton that’s unexpected here, though it continues to baffle that FIFTY FIFTY’s side didn’t lead with all this stuff before it was too late. Regardless, it seems likely that the next step will be ATTRAKT’s lawsuits against the other three members.