I’ve been watching both of these issues since the news of them first broke, and I’ve been thinking through them to try and see both sides of the argument and figure out where I want to stand as a fan of both DBSK and Super Junior on this issue.
My point here will make a lot of you mad, but let me explain first. I think the lawsuit of JYJ and Hangeng was in the clear. I don’t know their contracts with SM Entertainment, and don’t pretend to, but regardless of who was in the right, the lawsuits have forced the Korean Government to look more deeply into entertainment companies and force them to give artists more fair contracts. Some companies were forced to improve their contracts before the government got involved in order to save face, SM Entertainment was doubly pressured, and I think that was a good thing. Some companies have been found to have outrageous contracts that can only be defined as “Slave Contracts”.
So I believe it was good that they drew attention to this issue. They helped to improve the lives of many celebrities in Korea.
OK, here is where my rant will probably piss off the fans.
However in the clear I believe JYJ and Hangeng were when they filed their lawsuits, I think they’ve overstepped their bounds now. I’ll explain on a case-by-case basis.
DBSK vs JYJ
When JYJ first filed lawsuit they stayed with DBSK up until SM Entertainment finally stopped allowing the group to promote. This fostered a lot of bad press and tension between the members and the company must have been extreme. After they broke away the two groups went quiet for a while, before JYJ announced they were grouping together under a new company to return to the music scene.
You can set time by what happened.
1) They file a lawsuit that set off a huge bomb in the K-Pop world and fans vs Entertainment companies
2) Things start to quiet down
3) They suddenly announce they are re-grouping under a new company, fans go crazy
4) Things start to quiet down
5) They do a big US tour, gaining lots of popularity
6) Things start to quiet down
7) They release a big CD about how mean SM Entertainment was to them and how sad they were
8] Things start to quiet down
9) They freak out over “Keep Your Head Down”
10) Things Start to Quiet Down
Anyone else starting to see the pattern? It seems like whenever they fall out of the spotlight JYJ comes back to talk about how hard their lives were and how much they suffered, as if they were the only people in the world to feel so. However true their words may be, what they’re doing surprised me. From an outside point of view (I’m not a huge Cassiopea, I think DBSK is funny and hard working, but their music isn’t my style 89% of the time) it just looks like they are using Cassiopea to make money. Whenever people stop paying attention to them they find some new way to dredge up the past. They don’t seem interested in moving on and making their own way, when they keep bringing up the topic like this they seem only interested in milking the media for all the album sales they can get.
Not that they’re totally in the black here. I think “Keep Your Head Down” was a bad move on the part of SM Entertainment. There is no way they should have been so surprised that fans took the song wrong. The ambiguous lyrics are definitely intended to have double meanings, they did their own share of turning the controversy into a profit-margin. But JYJ seems to have made it their mission to make Yunho and Changmin, the two remaining members, and SM Entertainment out to be the bad guys.
Here’s another timeline for you:
1) Lawsuit filed, fans explode
2) Kyuhyun fires back, fans explode even more (within the same day as #1)
3) Things quiet down
3) Hangeng makes a sudden, unannounced TV appearance, fans explode
4) Things quiet down
5) Hangeng suddenly announces his comeback as a solo singer
6) Things quiet down
7) Hangeng holds concert in Beijing, invites all SJ members, goes all sad-face when they don’t come
8] Things quiet down
9) Hangeng talks about how he talks to the members how Heechul visited him on the set of his MV shooting in Korea
10) SJ says he’s lying
11) Hangeng changes his statement to say he’s talking to 2 members regularly
12) Members deny this too
12) Things quiet down
13) Hangeng talks about how hard life was with Super Junior
14) Things quiet down
Honestly, just wait, I’m willing to bet he’ll make another statement about how hard his life was before. Hangeng is more shameless than JYJ about the statement’s he’s making. He’s being more obvious- in case anyone didn’t see his pattern. It really feels like he’s using ELF for all he can. He for sure is not ready to move on, and he seems determined to grab all the fame and attention he can.
In this case though I think both SM Entertainment and Super Junior have shown incredible restraint (except for Kyuhyun, who showed his anger very early on, but has since been silent). When the lawsuit was filed SM did not make him continue his work with SJ, which prevented the tensions we saw with DBSK, and Super Junior made no statements except to say they would welcome him back and to refute things he’s said about them (and only when they are specifically asked).
And as far as Hangeng making a very public invitation to the members to come to his concert in Beijing, that was clearly just a press-thing to incite the fans. Kangta was having a concert in Beijing at the exact same time (Hangeng’s concert was over 3 days, Kangta’s was on the 2nd day). I have enough friends and family involved with the music industry to know that there is no possible way he was not aware of the Kangta concert and probably scheduled his for the same time on purpose. And as for acting all sad-face when SJ did not attend, again I know that the day before a concert anyone working the performance is involved in a painfully extensive dress rehearsal, during which every performance is done as it would be the day of, and scrutinized. Stage entrance and exit is rehearsed for hours on end and it is literally an all-day event. The day after the concert too the performer is either busy with the wind-down, reviewing their own performance on tape to spot imperfections or traveling to their home or to the next venue. The key here is that there is no way the members could have made it to his concert, even if they really wanted to go. So this, one of his major “Poor Hangeng” publications, was definitely not as simple as “If you come you like me, if not you hate me”.
Hangeng is really the area where I get annoyed, because he does this more than JYJ, who just seems unwilling to move on and start again as musicians. He seems determined to get as much press as humanly possible and use whatever means he has to in order to get it.
Hangeng and JYJ left SM Entertainment, if their reasons are good or not is for the fans to decide for themselves, but my opposition to the two is due to how they are using their old fan bases to shamelessly increase their own popularity early on. Neither seems willing to truly move on and start again. I don’t think I’ll be able to take either seriously until they actually try releasing an album without making tons of statements about how hard their lives were under their old groups. That’s old news, the fans get it, don’t use them to improve your own careers like that. The fans exist to be a support for their artists, a critic when need be, and a group to raise them up while also making sure they are keeping themselves grounded. They are NOT for the purpose of making a big commotion so you can get that 2nd home or luxury apartment you’ve been wanting.