It’s too early to tell how the lawsuit will unfold, but it may come down to what Kris wants out of this exchange. Is he seeking a better contract, or is he looking for a move away from Exo altogether? Kris has employed Cho Bum Suk, the same lawyer who handled Hangeng’s case against SM Entertainment in 2009. Claiming the contract was unfair and over restrictive, Hangeng won that suit. He later retracted his claim and settled with the company, nullifying his contract by mutual agreement.
Even if Kris were to lose the lawsuit, however, it’s hard to imagine he would stay with Exo. When Block B sued Stardom Entertainment over financial issues, they lost their suit but were still released from their contract. A contract is an obligation, yes, but it’s hard to force someone to perform and expect anything close to their best. If Kris is not invested in a future with Exo, SM will do better to release him and cut their losses. As long as there is antagonism between the label and one of their artists, the entire group will suffer. And so will the fans.
If the past is any indication, Kris’s lawsuit will be a long and drawn-out affair with little in the way of an official resolution. If Kris truly wants to leave, though, there is little that SM can do to stop him.
We Are One?
Exo’s win at May 15th’s M-Countdown was marred with Suho being the only one present to celebrate the victory (their performance was pre-recorded). Cryptically, his words, “We are one,” could, in fact, be a call for unity within Exo and with their many fans. Or maybe those words are a plea?
Fans of Exo are exerting their own influence over events, many turning against SM Entertainment for their perceived role in events.
#SMentWorstCompanyInKorea let's remain positive and trend #StayStrongEXO and #WeBelieveInYouKris instead :)
— ♦we are one♥ (@baekkhalie) May 15, 2014
Please don't be like this sm.. #WeBelieveInYouKris
— Bibil (@KNBila) May 15, 2014
According to others, this is a battle which must be fought and won.
We're gonna win this guys! Repost #WeBelieveInYouKris #StayStrongEXO http://t.co/OsFSddrpvH
— angel dianber (@angeldianber) May 15, 2014
IF YOU ACTUALLY THINK THIS FANDOM WILL REMAIN SILENT AND CALM AFTER ALL THIS THEN : #SMentWorstCompanyInKorea pic.twitter.com/Cnka59xFbABut most of all, fans of Exo are coming together in the hopes that their support can keep Exo united as one. #WeBelieveInYouKris has been trending #1 on Twitter, a tremendous outpouring of support, a million strong. Can Exo’s fans make a difference?
— Oliver-Ah ✯ Fanboy (@_MyMindTalks) May 15, 2014
Many, if not all, SM artists have stopped following Kris on Instagram. Suho voiced his disappointment in what sounded more like a press release. On Instagram, Tao posted a lengthy post directly addressing the situation and his feeling of betrayal. Here’s just part of it:
“Truth is always only people experience these things came to understand. For example, we have 11 members, our SM company and staff. Can be good or bad on the outside but was turned upside down.You will not feel the feeling of being betrayed later, after being betrayed everyone but a betrayal of others toward people, you can have your own views and positions, but I still want to say, wrong on the facts and clearly, we have to ask ourselves deserved. A person wants to go, no stopping, trying to will flee here, so escape was successful.”
Bad translation aside, this is pretty heavy stuff. Fans are already accusing SM Entertainment of taking control of his and other SM artists’ social media accounts. But nothing can be verified.
This would never have gone well for Exo and their fans no matter when it happened, but it’s hard to argue that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Who knows how this will affect promotions for Overdose or if this will create a rift in the fandom. So far, misinformation, disguised as facts, has been thrown by all sides.
The only thing that is certain at this point is the unbelievable power of Kpop fans. If there is any chance of Exo staying together, of Kris and SM resolving their differences, it just might be down to fan support. If the Exotics can remind Kris of how valued he is, of how much Exo means to them, he just might stay. Time will tell, but we’ll leave you with a few more posts.
You will always have us #webelieveinyoukris
— ㅜㅜ (@gyydae) May 15, 2014
We are one always and forever!! #WeAreOne #WeBelieveInYouKris #ExoStayStrong #ComebackLeeSooMan #StayStrongEXO #twelveforever #
— JaeMiBean (@aywoveyou) May 15, 2014