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EXO Members Baekhyun, Chen and Xiumin hit back at SM Entertainment's latest claims

EXO once again spoke through the means of their legal representative to shoot down supposed clarifications made by SM Entertainment.

Snigdha Behera Written By: Snigdha Behera New Delhi Published on: June 06, 2023 16:22 IST
EXO's Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin
Image Source : INSTAGRAM EXO's Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin

EXO members Baekhyun, Chen, and Xiumin have taken their label SM Entertainment to court, claiming there are discrepancies in payment and that they were forced to sign slave contracts. The trio has accused SM of lacking transparency over payment and demanding unreasonably long contracts that extend past 12 years, while the industry standard is seven years. While signing a long-time deal of 12-13 years with its artists, SM made its artists sign another exclusive contract term comes to its end, leading to prolonged terms of at least 17-18 years.

While the three singers stated that SM Entertainment violated Fair Trade Commission’s correction order, the agency said that the members are ignoring the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Now the new statement from EXO members says that the 2018 case differed from theirs as it concerned a Chinese member (Tao). However, Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin are all Korean artists with Baekhyun being a part of the group’s Korean division right from the start. They have also claimed that as Chen and Xiumin’s overseas promotions were not decided at the time of the initial signing, the annex agreements extending contracts for three more years are unfair.

In 2010, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission issued a rule that limited entertainment contracts to seven years. However, in 2017 more restrictions were added such as reducing the financial penalty for trainees who wanted to break their contracts or leave the industry, as well as making it more difficult for companies to force K-pop stars to renew their contracts, especially long-term ones.

Former EXO members Kris Wu and Luhan filed lawsuits in 2014, claiming their contracts were unfair. The pair were forced to settle in 2016, which allowed them to no longer be members of the group to pursue solo activities, although their contracts with SM remained intact until 2022. 
Tao, similarly, filed his own lawsuit in 2015, claiming the company had mistreated him in addition to treating Chinese members of the group differently from the Korean ones. During his legal battle, he was counter-sued by SM and lost it when it was found that he did not pay back an amount owed to the agency within the promised timeline. Like Wu and Luhan, Tao also eventually reached a deal that allowed him to leave EXO, although his contract with SM also remained valid until 2022.

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