I need to get this off my chest. It's about a K-Pop idol, so if you don't care about K-Pop don't bother reading any further if you don't want to.
In South Korea, there's a band that has a rather large fanbase. It's called EXO, and upon debut, there were four Chinese members integrated into the EXO-M side of the band (the half that produces music in the Mandarin language as opposed to EXO-K who promotes in Korean) and last year, two of those Chinese members left the band, filing lawsuits and suing the company (SMEntertainment) who owns them.
SMEntertainment has a history of idols backing out of their contracts, and even more of a history of abusing their idols and practically treating them as entertainment slaves. The most dramatic lawsuit involved a band called TVXQ which consisted of five members until the band literally split, three of them filing and two of them staying. (The three members who left went through several years of lawsuits before settling down with another company that seems to be treating them better, considering they're staying with that company right now, and they formed their own band called JYJ). Back in 2014, SM lost several people from their well known bands. SNDS (Girl's Generation) lost one of their members, Jessica, because she wanted to start her own fashion line and SM forced her to choose between the band and the fashion industry - but earlier that year, she specifically asked them if she could do both, so with everything in place, suddenly, she was being kicked out of her band. This is all on top of what happened with EXO.
Luhan and Kris (Yifan to those who don't call him by his stage name) both filed and left EXO in the same year. The interesting thing many fans noticed was that it was only the Chinese members filing - yes, in Korea, there is racism against the Chinese. Now, Koreans are beginning to believe they never should've let the Chinese members in the first place, deeming them untrustworthy, pinning them all that way as a whole. However, Luhan and Kris had very good reasons to leave. Luhan's injuries were piling up, and frankly, so were Kris's, and SM never let them seek proper medical attention or even gave them enough rest to heal and recover. They were literally being worked into the ground, and they filed in order to protect themselves and their bodies (at least this was why Luhan did it, I know for a fact - I'm still not 100% sure why Kris left, but I would bet it was for a very similar reason)
And now, there is Tao. Word on the internet has been spreading that he injured himself while preparing for EXO's recent comeback (a song called Call Me Baby) - which in fact is true. On top of that, SM never gave him any time to properly rest his injury, causing it to worsen during promotions. On top of that, he was spotted in public, on crutches, no manager in sight, buying medicine for himself. Rumours spread all over Chinese media that Tao was leaving. SM squashed those rumours. But now, I'll be honest, I'm not so sure Tao will be staying with EXO much longer.
And you know what? Thank god for that.
Earlier today, Tao's father posted a heartfelt message on his Weibo account. I'll leave pieces of the translation here for you to read:
"as a father, I have the responsibility to make sure that he grows up happily and healthily and I cannot bear to see his health continue to deteriorate!"
"in these three years since his debut, he has gotten all sorts of injuries large and small. Back pains, body pains, leg pains, to the point that during each performance, whether I am physically there or at home, if he does a flip, I will be worried to no end, nervous that his old injuries will only worsen."
"In the eyes of others, I should be very happy, a full family, my son is an idol, but how will they know the number of sleepless nights spent worrying about my son? This time I will do whatever it takes to bring Zi Tao back to heal his wounds."
"Zi Tao did not get the company’s support, instead only returned with an injured body,"
"To parents, there is nothing more important than a child’s wellbeing. Compared to flowers, applause, and stage lights, his health and wellbeing will always be first on our hearts!"
(Full article here: www.koreaboo.com/breaking/taos… )
If I can be honest...reading about the life of an idol from a parents point of view for the first time I nearly broke down. Tao is hurt, and it's only going to get worse and worse, and frankly, I agree with his father. His health is what matters more than anything, even I agree with that as a fan. I want Tao to be healthy and happy, and I don't want to see him falling apart on stage or getting more and more injured - hell I don't want to see him get hurt like what happened to Jaejoong, former TVXQ member, where the man blew out his knee during a dance and had to be rushed for surgery. He still has troubles with his knee.
And as a fan, it truly burns me up to see so many people begging him to stay in EXO, begging him not to leave SM, BEGGING him to continue working with the other members of this band - don't they understand? I would rather Tao leave EXO altogether - it would mean watching the only one in that band that I love and admire leave, but I am willing to sacrifice that for the well being of an idol I care about - because I genuinely care about these idols. I think constantly about their well being and hoping they're getting enough to eat and sleeping properly, and honestly, I'm scared for them, especially the ones still working under SM.
The Korean music industry is a brutal and messed up place. Maybe it would've been better if I'd never gotten into K-Pop. But the fact of the matter is, I DID get into K-Pop, and now their problems are my own. I will not abandon them for peace of mind.
타오 파이팅! 사랑해요!
Tao is leaving EXO. www.koreaboo.com/news/tao-has-…
These are his injuries: www.koreaboo.com/news/heartbre…