Sohu analyses and compares Luhan’s and Kris’ lawsuits

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After much speculation, EXO’s Luhan made his request for contract termination earlier this week, just months following Kris’ decision to file a similar lawsuit.  In order to better understand the situation, Chinese media outlet Sohu Entertainment has released its own analysis of the lawsuits.  Read on for a summary of the report and tell us what you think of the situation.

Why did Luhan have to terminate his contract?

The essence of the conflicts of these popular members and SM Entertainment was this: the activities given by the company were not enough, restricting their personal growth. It is understood that Wu Yi Fan (Kris), before his contract termination, received nearly 15 film offers, but they were all refused by SM. Luhan has enjoyed extreme popularity across all of Asia, but SM only allowed him a supporting role in the film “Miss Granny”.  Simultaneously, the same group’s Korean members were able to perform in musicals, films and dramas.


Credit: Somewhere Only We Know official pictures

After termination:  Who will be responsible for networking?

A fan has informed Sohu that Wu Yi Fan’s mother has used connections to help him for the past few years. On May 15, when he suddenly left his group, his mother was seen at Yuehua Entertainment. Furthermore, when he was seen attending Bazaar’s Charity Event, a seat with the name tag “Wu Yi Fan’s mother” was photographed.

A key figure in Luhan’s contract termination is his longtime friend “Lao Gao”. According to a leak by an insider, Lao Gao is an outsider of the entertainment circle, has a very good family background, and is very interested in film, but has few connections within the industry. Because of the lawsuit, Luhan needs a third party to communicate with agencies.  This third party is believed to be Lao Gao.

Conspiracy theory: Who is Luhan’s “behind-the-scenes influence”?

1. An agency?

After Luhan’s termination, SM claimed that a “behind-the-scenes influence” was operating. Most people initially believed this “influence” to be Luhan’s next agency. According to online speculation, this is H&R Century, who is said to have offered him roles in “Zhu Xian” and “Grave Robber’s Chronicles 2”. However, through Sohu’s investigations, H&R Century has denied this.

Wu Yi Fan left several months earlier than Luhan, but up until now, his “behind-the-scenes influence” has not surfaced. One rumour is that he has signed a recording contract and an acting contract separately, to Yuehua Entertainment and Huayi Brothers respectively. Yuehua has directly denied this, while neither Wu Yi Fan nor Huayi Brothers have confirmed it.

2. Fans?

Amongst Luhan’s fans, it can be confirmed that a famous influence is former vice president of Baidu, Wang Mengqiu. Wang Mengqiu’s husband is Xu Yirong, CEO of Meilishuo (a Chinese website, similar to Pinterest). This year, EXO was appointed ambassadors of Meilishuo, a deal allegedly arranged by Wang Mengqiu. Their fans are already so influential. SM, comparatively, seems to completely lack power.

Credit: Meilishuo Weibo Update

Credit: Meilishuo Weibo Update

Luhan’s departure process.

Analysis of the process of Wu Yi Fan’s and Luhan’s terminations have led people to suspect that they have used the same public relations managers.

1. Sudden disappearance during Chinese promotions.

On May 11, EXO was in Shanghai to attend their Overdose showcase. On the 12th, only Wu Yi Fan did not appear at the airport back to Korea.

On September 4, EXO was in Changsha for the recording of Hunan TV’s Mid-Autumn Festival evening. That night, all of the members appeared at the airport to fly back to Korea except Luhan.

2. Media reports of poor health.

On May 28, photos surfaced of Wu Yi Fan in the cardiology ward of a Beijing hospital for examination.

On September 8, photos surfaced of Luhan on his way to visit a doctor in a Beijing hospital. On September 11, he posted a message on Weibo, apologising for not being able to attend a concert in Thailand, following doctor’s orders to rest.

3. Fans brainwashed: “SM’s Unfair Treatment”.

Fans wrote many posts about SM’s unfair treatment, mostly citing their turning-down of film offers, only his face out of all members’ not being shown on television broadcasts, and so on.

Similarly, fans published many posts and pictures about SM’s declining of activities and Luhan’s attendances at concerts while ill.

4. Lawsuit formally submitted to court.

Notice that Wu Yi Fan and Luhan have sought the same lawyer, who had also represented Hangeng. The difference between the two, however, is that Wu Yi Fan used a “quick escape” approach, whereas Luhan took a long time before formally requesting termination.

Sohu Entertainment believes that Wu Yi Fan was “forced” to use a “quick escape” approach, because he needed to film Xu Jinglei’s movie and SM did not let him go. So, without a better option, he followed through with this unwise decision.

Probably learning from Wu Yi Fan’s experiences, Luhan gave fans and members sufficient time to understand him. An inside source stated that, in fact, Luhan’s team had been planning the lawsuit for six months.

How can Luhan avoid obstacles to achieve his comeback?

Chang Heng Law’s Xing Yanchao expresses that Luhan signed a contract with a Korean company. Therefore, Korean laws apply. According to South Korean law, artists’ lawsuits typically involve two requests: verification of the validity of the contract, and injunction. Injunction is when, during the process of the lawsuit, temporary provisions are set to allow the artist to continue personal activities.

It must be emphasised that injunctions are temporary and that both parties are still under a legal relationship. Hence, it is likely that Wu Yi Fan and Luhan’s lawyers will file to adopt an “injunction strategy” to avoid the risk of breaching contract, so that the artists can quickly undertake activities.

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