SBS Entertainment News: [Exclusive] After the Loona Chuu Situation… Are the Other Members the Real Victims?
Member Chuu was expelled from the girl group Loona, which had debuted as 12. What became the issue was Chuu’s alleged power trip towards the staff. As seen from the KakaoTalk messages between Chuu and Manager A in their 40s that were revealed by entertainment news outlet Dispatch recently, it was confirmed that Chuu had made certain aggressive remarks, including “Are you not responding”, “Are you seriously not gonna pull it together until I die and write down everything before I die?”.
On the other hand, there has been the counterargument that Chuu’s behavior started with her dissatisfaction towards the earnings ratio with her former agency, Blockberry Creative. The contract stated that the revenue would be split 7:3, and because the expenses were split 5:5, even if she worked, the debt only increased. The reasoning was that Chuu had made over 200 million KRW in personal payouts starting this year, but a conflict with the agency was unavoidable.
In the midst of Chuu’s conflict with her agency, we have been informed that the Loona members were the ones receiving the fallout.
Even in an uncertain environment, as Chuu established a personal agency after legal struggles with the agency and continued team activities, Loona competed on Queendom 2 and earned the valuable achievement of a runner-up finish. But there are signs that as Loona engaged in activities, Chuu used team activity participation as a lever to apply pressure due to her dissatisfaction towards the company.
In KakaoTalk messages obtained by SBS Entertainment News, during an independent content filming for Loona this past July, and regarding a filming schedule that Manager A had sent, Chuu said “That’s not why I gave you my time like that when I said I had a day free, and if you’re going to be like this, I can’t participate in the group activity”. She pressured, “Are you kidding me with that standby time, and you didn’t confirm the timetable with me and just sent it off to the group chat with the members in it. Think of this as the last time.”
2022 July 6 (Wed)
When I said I had a day free
I didn’t intend on wasting my time
That’s not why I gave you my time like that
If you’re going to be like this, I can’t participate in the group activity
[ Chuu sent file: W.W 714 Time…Loona.pdf ]
Are you kidding me with that standby time
You didn’t confirm the timetable with me
and just sent it off to the group chat with the members in it
Think of this as the last time
It seems, there was a mistake in communications
If you give me your suggestions, I’ll try to get that in as best as I can.
From now on.
Yep. From now on I’ll be careful.
You said you wanted me to participate in the documentary
If you’re going to make me wait that long
Just stop right now really
Are you messing around
Is it not enough to mess around with money
You keep refusing to admit to what you did wrong, really
Even now, trying to treat me poorly
I can see it
Starting with how the parts are distributed
Starting with that, and the commentary too
You know that you're already breaking the contract terms by doing this, right?
I’ll re-adjust this to minimize the standby period during filming.
I think I’ve mentioned standby periods multiple times now but it doesn’t seem to be readjusted very well
I’ll work to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore.
Mentioning a different schedule that the company proposed, Chuu posed complaints, saying, “You said you wanted me to participate in the documentary. I’ll stop right now, really are you messing around. Is it not enough to mess around with money, you keep refusing to admit to what you did wrong, and even now trying to treat me poorly, I can see it, starting with the parts distribution, and the commentary too.”
During filming for the season’s greetings, which is a merchandise set that is sold in the holiday season, Chuu demanded to check the filming schedule first before the members.
Chuu also said, “On-site time aside, the participation hours for the Season’s Greetings are too long. Adjust that so I shoot until 7 o’ clock. I will leave early, getting the last group scene done earlier.”
2022 July 15 (Fri)
Next Monday the Season’s Greeting
Before the timetable goes out
Please send it to me first
I’m organizing it to minimize Jiwoo-nim’s on-site time.
As it comes out I’ll send it to you first for consultation.
Not just the on-site time, the Season’s Greeting too
[ Sent File: Season’s Greeting ti…able_0715.pdf ]
Take a look and if there’s any changes you want to request, let me know!
The participation hours are too long
Please adjust it so that I shoot until 7 o’ clock
Maybe we pull the last group scene to be earlier,
And I leave early, or something like that
Alright. I’ll work it out and get back to you!
Jiwoo-nim I got the adjusted schedule inspected
But they said this would be difficult.
Sorry I couldn’t help.
From my position it’s hard to make any more adjustments,
So if you sent an official note from your mother,
I would appreciate it
One person involved, who led the filming schedule at the time, expressed disappointment, saying “For a group shoot, the schedule should be assigned so that it’s fair for the 12 members with things such as the members’ outfits, concepts, and movements in mind. But Ms. Chuu unilaterally decided on times, and made demands that were more like notices to the company, about having to leave early and pulling her schedules earlier, so the members felt very alienated and confused. It must’ve been hard on the members.“
In Loona’s settlement system, one member’s income is not divided up among the group. Chuu sent many inquiries about this to the company as well.
Chuu asked the company CEO, “Am I paying towards everyone’s debt right now”, and the company responded, “Of course not”. Then Chuu said: “I have one more thing to tell you about settlements, please remove me from the dorm I’ll be living in. I’ll live separately. We’re looking for a place near the dorm where I’ll be living with family, so please exclude the debt associated with the dorm.”
2021 October 5 (Tue)
CEO-nim, am I paying towards everyone’s debt right now
I’m not, right
Of course not.
Send me your questions in writing.
I’ll have the relevant departments find out the answers
And let you know again.
I’m guessing most of your questions are related to the earnings settlements
I’ll consult with the Executive Support Group and tell you.
I have one more thing to tell you about settlements
Please remove me from the dorm I’ll be living in
I’ll live separately, with family
We’re looking for a place near the dorm where I’ll be living with family, so please exclude the debt associated with the dorm
We inquired with Chuu’s agency, By4M, whether Chuu demanded any special treatment that would make it difficult for the other members when it came to Loona’s team activities. We did not receive a response.
Meanwhile, it was announced that Loona would come back next year as 11 excluding Chuu and hold a solo concert in Japan, but Blockberry Creative said through the official fancafe on the 22nd that “we have decided that comeback activities are meaningless while in a situation where various concerns about the members are unresolved”, and indefinitely postponed the release of the new album.
Prior to this, on the 25th of last month, Blockberry Creative expelled Chuu from Loona after claiming to have confirmed that she had abused a position of power towards company staff. After her injunction for exclusive contract termination last March was granted, she had signed a newly written supplementary agreement that re-adjusted her payout share and had her participating only in group activities, and had been working under this agreement.