More than 120,000 fans of the K-pop idol group TVXQ, which is embroiled in legal battle against its agency, filed a collective petition with the human rights agency on Friday, judging a working contract made between three members of the group and their agency to be “unfair” and “inhumane.”
Three representatives of the fans visited the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Seoul and submitted the petition and a bulky package of papers with their signatures of support.
They said in a statement, “The contract banning TVXQ members from changing their agency for 13 years since their debut is the same as a life-long working contract, which is extremely disadvantageous to the singers.”
They claimed the period is far longer than that of other agencies. “Singers have the right to change their agency to one offering better conditions. Under the contract, however, they have no choice but to work with the present agency virtually until they retire. This is an infringement of human rights,” the statement said.
A NHRC spokesman told The Korea Times, “It will take at least three months to the complete investigation of the case.”
The controversy over the five-member group’s working contract touched off early this month after three of its members ― Micky, Xiah and Hero ― asked the Seoul Administrative Court to terminate the validity of their contract with their agency, SM Entertainment. The other two members, Max and U-Know, did not take part in the action.
According to the legal document filed, the agency prohibited their freedom as artists by claiming that the group’s and members’ activities belonged to the agency, requiring them to follow the agency’s demands to appear at certain performances and broadcasts, and to stay under the agency’s wing for 13 years.
Reports of dissension started circulating about a month ago.
The three members were said to have conflicting interests with SM regarding their private business endeavors in the makeup industry. Max and U-Know, meanwhile, had been busy pursuing individual acting careers in TV soaps in addition to their work with the group.
This raised concern among fans about the group’s potential breakup. Despite the rumor of internal conflicts, the five singers appeared all together, as planned, at a concern in Japan early this month.
SM said, “TVXQ is a group that represents Asia and we believe that their career should continue. We hope to figure things out soon.”
TVXQ debuted in 2004 with the album “Hug” and shot to stardom in Korea, Japan and other parts of Asia. Their subsequent albums were well received and their fourth album, “Mirotic,” released last year, sold 500,000 copies here despite sluggishness in the Korean record market. (Korea Times)