EXO Members Move to Terminate SM Entertainment Contracts

EXO terminate SM Entertainment contracts
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EXO terminate SM Entertainment contracts
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Photo Credit: Republic of Korea / CC by 2.0

EXO members Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen have moved to have their exclusive contracts with SM Entertainment terminated. 

As reported by South Korean news outlets, the group gave notification through their lawyer Lee Jae Hak. “This is lawyer Lee Jae Hak of the law firm LIN, representing EXO members Baekhyun, Kiumin, and Chen. Hereinafter, our legal representative would like to express the position of the artists regarding the exclusive contracts between the artists and SM Entertainment,” the statement begins. 

“Previously, the artists sent certifications of contents to SM seven times through their legal representative from March 21 until recently, and through this, they repeatedly requested copies of transparent settlement reports and settlement grounds. It is the bare minimum and legitimate right of the artists to request accurate and transparent basis for settlements that have not been clear until now.”

“SM is also obliged to comply in accordance with the exclusive contracts and the Popular Culture and Arts Industry Development Act. However, SM eventually maintained an unjust position stating that they cannot provide copies of the reports.”

The statement continues by saying that SM is pushing for longer contracts for its stars. Whereas artists would sign 12 to 13 year contracts in the past, SM “pushed for the artists to sign subsequent exclusive contracts again, resulting in long-term contracts that span 17 or 18 years or more.”

“The artists feel that SM is using their superior position to force artists to sign so-called slave contracts that span over almost 20 years including their training periods, which are also far from being short.”

Attached to the statement are a series of allegations from EXO, who say they have been unable to speak of these actions until now. EXO believes that if SM accurately paid its settlement to the artists, there’s no reason why the organization can’t provide settlement reports.

“The fact that SM is unable to provide such settlement reports and settlement grounds is strong counter-evidence that SM did not properly pay the settlement to the artists,” the statement reads. “Thus, the artists plan to take all civil and criminal legal action including a lawsuit for settlement payment against SM in order to check the exact details of the settlement.”

Essentially, these three members of EXO argue that SM has imposed excessive quid pro quo and placed an unreasonable burden on the group. “As it is a legal act that violates good moral and other social order, it was judged that there is considerable room to consider that all or part of the contents of the contract are invalid or that it’s validity has expired.”

You can see the full complaint here