August 15, 2023

SM Entertainment Responds to Contract Dispute Claims by EXO Members Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen


SM Entertainment has released an official statement on June 1 in response to allegations made by EXO members Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen, concerning their ongoing contract dispute. The company has denounced the actions of "external forces" who are approaching their artists with false information and inappropriate legal interpretations, urging them to ignore their exclusive contracts with SM and suggesting they could sign agreements elsewhere.

The company went on to state, "These external forces, despite having no genuine concern for the artists, are carrying out illegal acts to lure our artists into violating or signing duplicate contracts through rumors, slander, and sweet words. Not only do these forces tempt our artists to breach their valid contracts with us, but they also attempt to lure other artists in our company to violate or sign duplicate contracts."

SM Entertainment asserted that these attempts by external forces are clear illegal activities aimed at instigating conflicts between the company and its artists, as well as between artists themselves, with the intent of destabilizing the existing teams. The company vowed not to overlook the actions of those who are driven by greed for money, without any regard for the artists' futures or their legitimate legal rights. It emphasized its commitment to taking all possible legal actions against such individuals.

Lastly, SM Entertainment promised to respond sternly to the illicit activities of these malicious external forces and to strive to meet the high expectations of genuine fans who love their artists. The company's aim is to continue to protect their artists from any unlawful interference, ensuring their rights are upheld.

Previously, on June 1, Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin, through attorney Lee Jae-hak from Law Firm Lin, claimed that SM Entertainment had forced them into "slave contracts". They stated, "From March 21 until recently, we have sent content proofs to SM seven times. Through this, we repeatedly requested copies of transparent settlement data and calculation basis. However, SM ultimately maintained the position that they could not provide copies of the documents."

The members also apologized to their fans for any concerns caused by the dispute, promising to find a wise solution to minimize worry, despite their fear and anxiety in raising their voices against the perceived injustices. They expressed their deepest gratitude for their fans' long-standing support and requested their continued understanding and attention to their situation.

With the recent turmoil, the controversy has reached fever pitch, causing concern among fans worldwide who have faithfully followed EXO's career. The members of EXO made it clear that, while they are facing a situation where legal action against SM Entertainment seems inevitable, they are committed to finding a peaceful resolution that does not cause undue worry for their fans. They also expressed their apprehension at the prospect of voicing the injustices they claim to have been subject to, and pleaded for their fans to be understanding and interested in their struggles.

SM Entertainment has been a powerhouse in the K-Pop industry, known for housing popular groups like EXO, Super Junior, and Red Velvet. However, this recent conflict has brought attention to the darker side of the glitzy K-pop world, particularly focusing on the issue of so-called "slave contracts" that many young idols are allegedly forced to sign. The K-pop industry has been scrutinized in the past for these long-term contracts that can span ten or more years, with critics claiming that they exploit young artists. This incident has added fuel to the ongoing debate over the fairness and transparency of such contracts.

The members of EXO ended their statement by reiterating their gratitude to their fans, saying, "Once again, we sincerely thank our fans who have supported us for a long time." They also expressed hope that their fans will continue to pay attention to their struggle and support them in their efforts to navigate the difficult situation.

As the controversy continues to unfold, fans are waiting with bated breath to see how the situation will resolve, hoping for the best outcome for their beloved artists. In the meantime, the global K-pop community is using this incident to spark important conversations about artist rights and the need for transparency and fairness in the industry.

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