Today (June 1), lawyer Lee Jae-hak, the legal representative for Baekhyun, Xiumin and Chen, said that they trio are terminating their contracts with SM Entertainment due to “mistreatment and unfair contract terms”, per Korea JoongAng Daily.
Lee claimed that SM Entertainment had repeatedly failed to furnish the three K-pop idols with data on how they were being paid since they made their debut in 2012. “It is the artist’s most basic right to demand clear and precise proof of how payment has been made, and SM Entertainment is required to abide by the law,” Lee said. “But SM Entertainment maintains that such data cannot be shared.”
“The artists have been asking very firmly for the payment data until Wednesday but have resorted to demanding a termination of the contract as of Thursday upon the company’s refusal to do so,” Lee added. He also claimed that SM Entertainment had offered Baekhyun, Xiumin and Chen 12 to 13-year contracts, notably longer than the standard, government-recommended 7-year contract.
Meanwhile, SM Entertainment has released its own statement regarding the situation. The K-pop agency claims that “some outside forces” have been “committing illegal acts” by cajoling its artists to violate the terms of their contracts. “We will take all necessary legal actions against these forces,” SM said, per The K-pop Herald.
The move by Baekhyun, Xiumin and Chen comes just weeks after SM Entertainment announced that EXO would release a new studio album in the third quarter of 2023. It’s currently unclear if those plans are still going ahead.