Why Did Nine Members of LOONA Reportedly File a Lawsuit To Terminate Their Contracts?
LOONA is a K-pop girl group that became famous for unveiling its 12 members one at a time by giving each their own single. However, if recent reports are to be believed, the famous group may be down to just two members as nine LOONA members have filed lawsuits to end their contracts with the label Blockberry Creative. The news comes just days after Blockberry Creative announced that one member, Kim Ji-woo, known professionally as Chuu, had been expelled from the group.
In the statement they released about her removal, Blockberry Creative alleged that an investigation found that Chuu had been abusive towards staff. However, her removal was suspicious as it came after reports that she, too, had filed a lawsuit to end her contract with Blockberry Creative. Fans speculated that she had been overworked by the label as evidenced by her alleged lawsuit and the fact that she was absent from a LOONA concert due to health issues. Several individuals who claimed to be former staff members for LOONA also spoke out in Chuu’s defense and denied ever witnessing her abusing her power.
Chuu also spoke out and denied the allegations in an Instagram Story. Part of her statement read, “[W]hat I’m sure of is that I haven’t done anything that would be shameful to my fans.” She also indicated that the label wasn’t in contact with her and that she hadn’t fully grasped the situation yet. Blockberry Creative later issued another statement inviting Chuu or any staff members to come forward with evidence if they felt the allegations against her were due to a misunderstanding.
Nine LOONA members file lawsuits to terminate contracts
The ongoing discussion of Chuu’s removal from Blockberry Creative took an interesting turn when the Korean network JTBC reported on November 28 that nine LOONA members filed lawsuits to have their contracts with the label terminated. HaSeul, Yves, JinSoul, Kim Lip, Heejin, Go Won, Choerry, Olivia Hye, and YeoJin were the nine members who allegedly filed the lawsuits. Members ViVi and HyunJin reportedly did not file lawsuits. JTBC’s report states:
[T]he nine members made this decision after judging that the relationship of mutual trust, which is the premise of the contract, has collapsed and it has reached the point where it is difficult to expect management work and entertainment activities based on cooperation.
No further details were given as to the reason why the nine LOONA members filed their lawsuits. However, the report suggested Blockberry Creative’s financial problems could’ve added to these feelings of broken trust between LOONA and their agency. Last year, it was reported that Blockberry Creative was facing a “financial crisis” and owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages to their employees.
LOONA members’ lawsuits, explained
Blockberry Creative denied JTBC’s reports of the alleged lawsuits, but they don’t have a history of being open and honest. If the reports are true, it means that LOONA’s future could be hanging precariously by a thread. If the nine members win the lawsuit, the group will dwindle to two members, which would likely mean the dissolution of the group. Also, if true, it brings greater scrutiny to Blockberry Creative and its reasons for removing Chuu—nine members seeking an out from the label certainly hints at something being wrong.
The incident as a whole might bring further attention to the lesser-known side of K-pop. While the genre has risen in popularity over the years and produced many hit boy bands and girl bands, there have been disturbing allegations about what the industry is really like. These allegations include unfair contracts, abuse, exploitation, and violations of human rights by record labels attempting to completely own their musicians and burden them with rigorous training, expectations, and rules. If the LOONA lawsuit report is true, then we hope it continues to place greater scrutiny on the K-pop industry and perhaps invoke change.
(featured image: Blockberry Creative)
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