Blockberry Creative has filed a petition to Korean entertainment industry bodies to ban former LOONA singer Chuu from entertainment activities in the country, and has plans to file another against members Heejin, Choerry, Kim Lip and Jinsoul.
Yesterday (February 1), per News1, the Korea Entertainment Management Association (CEMA) revealed that Blockberry Creative, the embattled agency of K-pop girl group LOONA, had petitioned CEMA and Korea Entertainment Producers Association in December 2022 for the suspension of Chuu’s entertainment activities.
Chuu was a member of LOONA up until November 2022, when the agency announced her “expulsion” from the group, alleging to online skepticism the singer’s “violent language and misuse of power toward our staff”. Chuu later responded by saying she had not “done anything that would be shameful to my fans”.
According to KEMA, Blockberry’s petition claimed that Chuu had “tamper[ed]” with and thus allegedly “violat[ed] the management contract” with Blockberry after she allegedly moved to sign a new contract with a different agency named BY4M Studio in 2021, per translations by Koreaboo.
In response to the petition, KEMA requested Chuu’s attendance at its Reward and Punishment committee. Per Sports Chosun, Chuu’s legal counsel responded with their intention to attend the committee so as “to confirm the facts regarding Blockberry Creative’s claims and… investigate the case fairly”, per Soompi’s translations.
Blockberry Creative later confirmed the reports of its petitions in a statement to South Korean media outlet TV Report. It also revealed plans to submit a similar but separate petition to “prohibit the entertainment activities of the following four people, Heejin, Kim Lip, Jinsoul, and Choerry, to the committee as well”. These are the members of LOONA who managed to secure injunctions and terminate their exclusive contracts with the company last month.
While Heejin, Kim Lip, Jinsoul and Choerry have yet to issue official responses to Blockberry’s statement at the time of writing, Chuu has shared a brief statement on her personal Instagram account.
“It’s really tiring and sad that I must keep revealing my position. Recently, it seems that slanderous articles based on false reports have gone too far,” she wrote in an Instagram story posted earlier today (February 2), per translations by Koreaboo.
“In December 2021, I didn’t even know the company BY4M. It’s hard for me to put up with the fact that even the members are tied up with the lies, so I’ll organise my position and respond soon.”
Besides Heejin, Kim Lip, Jinsoul and Choerry, five other members of LOONA also filed injunctions to suspend their Blockberry Creative contracts: Haseul, Yeojin, Yves, Gowon and Olivia Hye. They had their requests rejected last month as they had reportedly amended parts of their contracts with the agency in the past, said the court. Members Hyunjin and Vivi were not involved in the lawsuit and will presumably remain under the agency.
Following news of Blockberry Creative’s petitions, SBS News reported on February 2 that Universal Music Japan is currently in talks to “directly exercise exclusive rights to the LOONA members”, and “is in the process of crafting detailed plans for LOONA’s Japanese promotions as a full 12-member group”. The company has been an investor in LOONA, and manages the group in Japan.
According to SBS News, Universal Music Japan may exercise exclusive rights to LOONA and thus have the band relocate its primary base of activities to Japan for at least three years, with activities that include album releases, fan meets and more. The report also said that Chuu would be included in the group’s reported relocation to Japan.
According to the outlet, an exclusive contract LOONA signed with Universal Music Japan in September 2019 contains the following clause: “Even if the contractual relationships with Blockberry Creative were to expire, the members must still fulfil this exclusive contract, and if they do not comply, compensation for damages will be required according to Japanese law.”
Blockberry Creative, Universal Music Japan, and the present and past members of LOONA have yet to comment on this report.
LOONA were previously set to release a new record titled ‘The Origin Album: 0’ via Blockberry Creative on January 3, which would have marked their first release without Chuu and as an 11-member group. Blockberry Creative later announced that its release would be “postponed indefinitely” as “various concerns about the members’ situation are not resolved.”