On June 1st, EXO fans woke up to the shocking announcement of three EXO members filing requests to terminate their contracts with SM citing ‘slave contracts’ as the reason, since then, many details have emerged and each side continues to share updates to the other side’s arguments via press releases.
As of June 19, the issue seems to have been resolved, thus, this now serves as an archive.
- Each press release/ statement update will be summarized but considering how lengthy each response is, its advised you proceed to read the full article for full context on each point.
- This page will be updated whenever a new development happens
Table of Contents
**June 1, 2023
1- EXO members notify the press of their intentions to terminate their contracts with SM
EXO members Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin want to part ways with SM Entertainment and have notified the agency they want their exclusive contracts to be terminated via their lawyers official press release.
The three members filed the lawsuit on April 29, 2023, at the Seoul Central District Court. They are seeking to terminate their contracts with SM Entertainment, which were originally set to expire in 2025.
The members cited “unfair contract terms” as the reason for their lawsuit. They allege that SM Entertainment has been taking advantage of them financially and has not been providing them with adequate support.
2- SM responds to the report and says ‘outside forces are to blame’
The agency released a statement on May 2, 2023, saying that it is “disappointed” by the lawsuit and that it believes the members’ claims are “groundless.” Blames outside forces and claims someone is trying to recruit them.
SM Entertainment said that it has “provided the members with the best possible care and support” throughout their careers and that it has “always been fair and reasonable in its dealings with them.”
The agency said that it is “confident” that it will be able to “vindicate” itself in court and that it will “continue to do everything it can to protect its artists and its rights.”
3- SM Accuses BPM Of Being The Outside Force Trying To Recruit EXO-CBX, BPM Denies
On the 1st of June, an SM representative stated to Maeil Business Star Today, “It is true that we have sent a proof of content to Big Planet Made Entertainment.”
Later, Big Planet Made Entertainment countered the report in an interview with Sports Seoul, stating, “MC Mong met the junior artists out of personal connections, but there was no intention of recruitment,” and “MC Mong is not currently an executive director at Big Planet Entertainment.”
However, Big Planet Made Entertainment acknowledged that they did receive a proof of content from SM.
4- SM claims EXO comeback will proceed as normal
Despite news of EXO members Baekhyun, Chen, and Xiumin notifying their agency, SM Entertainment, about their intention to terminate their exclusive contracts, SM has issued a statement saying they’re expected to film their upcoming music video as scheduled.
5- SM Entertainment Follows Up With A Detailed Statement Addressing EXO- CBX’s Slave Contract Allegations
In the statement, SM Entertainment denies all of the allegations made by the members, including claims of unfair contract terms, lack of support, and financial mismanagement.
The agency also states that it has been “fair and reasonable” in its dealings with the members and that it has “always provided them with the best possible care and support.”
SM Entertainment says that it is “disappointed” by the lawsuit and that it will “continue to do everything it can to protect its artists and its rights.” they also call out BPM by name and say they’re trying to lure their idols in.
**June 2, 2023
1- EXO-CBX’s Attorney Fires Back At SM Claims Of Outside Forces In Lengthy Statement
In the statement, the attorney denies all of SM Entertainment’s allegations and says that the members have “legitimate concerns” about their contracts.
The attorney also says that SM Entertainment has been “unwilling to engage in meaningful discussions” about the members’ concerns and that the lawsuit is the only way for them to get a fair resolution.
Here are some of the key points from the statement:
- The attorney denies all of SM Entertainment’s allegations.
- The members have “legitimate concerns” about their contracts.
- SM Entertainment has been “unwilling to engage in meaningful discussions.”
- The lawsuit is the only way for the members to get a fair resolution.
2- MC Mong Refutes Interference Allegations Made By SM
In the statement, MC Mong denies all of SM Entertainment’s allegations and say they will take legal action if this continues.
**June 5, 2023
1- EXO-CBX File Official Complaint Against SM Entertainment With The Fair Trade Commission
On June 5, Attorney Lee Jae-hak from the law firm Linn announced the decision to report SM to the FTC through a third statement, “We have filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment with the Fair Trade Commission regarding their ‘abuse of market dominance’.” Their statement explains why they’re doing it.
They say that SM has ignored the FTC issuing corrective orders to SM twice in October 2007 and January 2011, and continued to do with their contracts as they’ve done.
2- SM Entertainment Claim They Will Provide Copies Of Settlement Documents For EXO-CBX [same time as the point statement issued]
On June 5th, SM issued an official statement regarding the recent request for copies of settlement documents from Baekhyun, Chen and Xiumin. SM said, “We would like to inform you of the decision we have made after careful consideration of the request for copies of settlement documents from the 3 artists.”
SM emphasized in their statement that settlement documents are confidential information that cannot be disclosed to third parties. They further explained, “In the case of a group, the information of other members is also included, requiring special caution.”
Furthermore, SM explained the situation and obtained consent or agreement from the other EXO members, apart from the 3 artists, regarding the provision of settlement document copies. They emphasized their commitment to do their best to ensure that EXO’s activities, which fans are eagerly anticipating, are not affected.
3- SM Entertainment Issues Official Response After EXO-CBX Report Them To The FTC
SM Entertainment released an official statement emphasizing that “the artists’ press release contains many parts that are not true and argue that its evident that the intention of the artists, who triggered this incident, is to invalidate the effectiveness of the new exclusive contracts.
4- EXO-CBX Issue Detailed Response To SM’s Recent Response After Being Reported To The FTC
The lawyer issued a follow-up statement addressing all the points SM made. They deny what they said and also add they have not yet been provided the Settlement Documents SM promised
** June 8, 2023
1- EXO members spotted together departing to film a variety show somewhere in Korea
A rep from SM confirmed the group is filming for a reality show somewhere in South Korea.
2- FTC begins investigating SM
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has begun reviewing the dispute between EXO members Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin and their agency, SM Entertainment. The FTC has mainly handled disputes over exclusive contracts with entertainers through the Seoul Office of Competition. However, considering the significance of the dispute involving popular K-pop group members, there is a possibility that the case may be transferred to the FTC headquarters.
**June 19, 2023
On the 19th of June, SM and EXO-CBX issued a joint statement, stating, “We have been able to resolve the misunderstandings and disagreements that arose due to previous misunderstandings and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.” The members have resolved the issues they had with SM and have reached an agreement and will continue to be represented by SM.
Stay tuned for more.