Former Teen Top member L.Joe has been restricted from contacting other agencies until his issues with TOP Media, his former agency, are resolved.
Back on July 31st, KEMA (Korean Entertainment Management Association) released a statement back, “We received a request for dispute mediation from TOP Media. Our disciplinary coordination ethics committee has recognized the dispute as an important issue related to exclusive contracts in entertainment management. We have considered all areas of the case comprehensively and carried out our deliberations based on the material and testimony submitted by TOP Media.”
KEMA also stated “We also requested L.Joe to testify at our disciplinary coordination ethics committee for fair deliberation.” They also went on to state that “until the legal dispute is resolved, L.Joe is banned from signing exclusive contracts or contacting third-party agencies.”
This is all following L.Joe’s request from February of this year to have his exclusive contract terminated/nullified prior to its expiration date (which was to be in January of 2018). L.Joe and TOP Media had a conflict which involved scheduling that largely interfered with personal activities. Soon after, a controversy erupted after the company was accused of overusing their power in such situations, resulting in a broken trust between both parties. Supposedly, the conflict began in October of 2016 when L.Joe initially brought up contract renewals and personal needs and said his activities were wrongly restricted. This misunderstanding and broken relationship is was what led to a dispute and resulted in the original decision of L.Joe.
A source from TOP Media stated, “It’s true that L.Joe did request a contract termination, but because there is still time left on his contract, we are hoping that he will continue to promote [with Teen Top]. The other five members renewed their contracts last year in December. They are currently preparing for their comeback in March.” However, L.Joe did not end up participating in that particular comeback.
A few members of Teen Top had revealed in previous interviews (just following their comeback date) that they hadn’t been aware of what was going on at first and were hurt to find out through the media rather than from L.Joe himself. They expressed their disappointment and other feelings at a fan meeting in April of this year.
Member Niel said, “I want to apologize. I can’t reveal everything, but a lot has happened. We kept trying to talk to him, but he had already made up his mind. From then on, I thought a lot about the team, regarding whether it would be right for us to keep going as five members, or if we should go our separate ways like the member who left. Every time I thought about that, I longed for the stage, and I think the other members had similar feelings. We pulled ourselves together and prepared really hard for a comeback.”
Teen Top leader C.A.P had also stated his opinion on the matter,“While deciding whether I should extend my contract with the agency, I realized that I really like my team. They’re recognizing me little by little at the company too,” and added, “I was very shocked when he suddenly left while everyone else was working hard. I knew he was contemplating leaving, but I thought he would stay with us if this album turned out well. He had even recorded the title song with us. To be honest, it was really hard on me when I heard about the news through the press. It would have been better if he had talked to the members before making up his mind.”
Staff and fans at that particular event also claim that lots of tears were shed from fans, as well as the band, after the members opened up suddenly in regards to the situation.
Soon after, with the more recent restrictions laid upon L.Joe to keep him from contacting other labels, fans had hoped for better communication between the two parties. However, on September 15th, a source from TOP Media confirmed that they would be suing L.Joe for breaching their contract. They stated, “It is true that we have filed a lawsuit against L.Joe at the Seoul Central District Court for damages due to him breaching his exclusive contract.”
Meanwhile, since L.Joe terminated his contract last February, he has been promoting through musicals, including “Liar,” “S Diary,” and “Secretly, Greatly.”
There has been no public response from L.Joe regarding the matter. As always, we will do our best to keep posted on the matter whenever definite news comes out.
CaptainMal has been into Korean Entertainment for seven years now, since 2010. She travels to conventions in her area, showcasing her “Kpop Game Show’” and occasional Kpop cosplay. Although her favorite bands are Infinite, Super Junior, and VIXX, she boasts a love for a huge variety of artists. Other than Kpop, CaptainMal loves Disney, 80’s rock, Daft Punk, Gaming, and Orange Juice.
Cr: TOP Media