In December 2017, Chuu (Kim Ji Woo) wrote a handwritten letter. The recipient is Director B of Blockberry.
However, in June 2022, Chuu’s KakaoTalk messages to Director B were the complete opposite.
Chuu showed a part of the choreography for the new song during a live broadcast. Representative A sent a text message to Chuu’s mother saying, “The point choreography shouldn’t be spoiled yet, what should I do?” Chuu’s mother captured the text messages she exchanged with Representative A and sent it to Chuu. Regarding this, Chuu asked Director B, “Who sent such a text message?” It happened on June 9th, 2022.
In December 2017, Chuu was definitely a warm girl. However, five years later, she made harsh remarks towards the head of the company. In the meantime, what happened? We traced the conflict between Chuu and Blockberry.
◆ From the beginning, it was wrong
Chuu is a beneficiary of LOONA’s system. Her trainee period was only about 3 months. She joined the company in September 2017, and joined the group as the 10th member in December 2017.
About 6 billion won was poured into this system. Chuu was able to grab a chance to debut quickly. Conversely, the company ran out of its balance in a short time. This was the beginning of the tragedy.
◆ Blockberry, boomerang of tricks
On Dec 4th, 2017, Chuu signed an exclusive contract with Blockberry.
It is a problematic contract. The ratio of revenue settlement and the ratio of cost processing are different. In other words, the revenue is divided by 7:3 and the cost is divided by 5:5.
In addition, Blockberry chose the post-settlement system. This is more of a trick.
Blockberry invested a huge amount of money to launch LOONA. It was such a risky project. From the company’s point of view, it was important to endure. Accordingly, the cost processing method (7:3->5:5) was changed anomalously.
But this trick contract ended up being a boomerang. It came back as an excuse for a contract termination lawsuit.
◆ The tides have turned
In January 2022, Chuu’s time began. She applied for an injunction to suspend the validity of her exclusive contract. In March, the court ruled in favor of Chuu. In other words, this event has set the stage for Chuu’s future independent movement.
The more desperate and urgent one here is Blockberry as it has already invested more than 15 billion won in LOONA. In order to maintain the team, the agency had no choice but to please Chuu with a subsidiary agreement.
How has Blockberry and Chuu’s relationship changed? Dispatch has obtained a separate annex agreement written in April. This annex agreement shall have the effect of overriding Chuu’s then exclusive contract.
First of all, the settlement ratio has changed to Chuu receiving 70% of her profits. If the cost exceeds the profit, Blockberry will pay 50% of the cost. In the event of damage to either side, the affected side may request KRW 50 million. The “added agreement” also included a provision that the contract could be terminated immediately.
◆ Chuu got the right to refuse any schedule with LOONA
Chu also got the right to refuse any LOONA activities. The agreement stated, “To guarantee Chuu’s personal schedule, she has the right to not attend LOONA’s schedule.” More specifically, Chuu is allowed to skip LOONA’s group activities 3 times a month, and LOONA’s album promotion 3 times a month.
In addition, for schedules that have not been discussed beforehand, Chuu’s schedule would be prioritized. When Blockberry inevitably has to change the schedule, this agency can only request to change only once.
Finally, Blockberry decided to transfer all management related to Chuu. Chuu’s side also requested it immediately transfer all her external proposals, such as broadcasting and advertising, to them with no additional cost.
The validity of this separate contract is until December 31st, 2022.
◆ What happened on the music video set
At 9 a.m. on May 24th, the music video shoot for “Flip That” began. However, the shooting got delayed, and the group dance scene, scheduled for 11 p.m., was also pushed back. At the time, a member of LOONA called the agency to ask for help as Chuu said she was leaving before the group dance scene was finished.
Immediately, Blockberry called Chuu’s mother to ask for an hour of understanding, but Chuu’s mother insisted through text messages on receiving 50 million won in compensation for the delay as she claimed the delay disturbed Chuu’s personal commercial filming the next day (May 25th).
Filming then resumed on the condition that Blockberry compensated 50 million won. Fortunately, they were able to shoot the group dance scene (#16) and Chuu got to go home at around 3 a.m. However, the #19 group dance scene requested by CEO A couldn’t be filmed, and the filming set fee went to waste.
◆ Then, is Chuu power tripping?
Chuu was kicked out of LOONA, and Blockberry explained that it was the result of Chuu’s power tripping. In the Kakao Talk conversation (2021.08-2022.07) between Chuu and the staff, provided by Blockberry, Chuu’s constantly called the agency’s staff “liars“.
From the point of view of the staff, Chuu’s words are harsh. But Chuu has already lost trust in the company. She already defines the company as an incompetent group and has a strong definition about them as “liars“.
◆ Blockberry’s incompetence?
December 30, 2021
Chu: Director? My mother asked for my stamp. Aren’t you going to give it to me? You don’t give me my money~ also my stamp~ and the document of settlement details.
Director B: I’ve never ignored your mother. I’ll reply to you after checking with the company.
It is true that Chuu’s distrust of Blockberry started with “money”. In particular, B is the person who participated in the casting of Chuu in 2017.
◆ Chuu’s media manipulation?
People gave Chuu the nickname “Chuu Dad”, which means she makes money to feed LOONA. This is misinformation. LOONA member receives income separately. On October 5th, 2021, Chuu texted CEO A, asking “Am I paying off the group’s debts?”, and A responded, “Of course not”.
According to Blockberry’s settlement data, LOONA earned 18.2 billion (sales) won from 2016 to October 2022 and spent 16.9 billion won (cost). LOONA received 30% of the profit, which is 5.4 billion won. Excluding 50% of the cost, their income were -3 billion won. Dividing this by 12, each member has a debt of about 200 million won.
However, Chuu’s situation is different. In December last year, her settlement changed to “+”. In fact, she got her first settlement of 70 million won in January this year and has received about 220 million won so far. Chuu then founded Chuu Co., Ltd. in April. After the court decided on a provisional disposition, she began to take independent steps. Chuu earned 100% of the profits from her personal activities. Blockberry only supports LOONA schedules.
◆ Blockberry provided an excuse
According to Dispatch, Blockberry challenged an unaffordable project and spent 17 billion won over the past 5 years for 24 albums and 44 music videos. Chuu, who joined the group after three months of training, was raised by Blockberry as a strategic member. Chuu did well and Blockberry also provided her with more opportunities.
However, the primary cause of their conflict is the agency’s trick in handling costs. If Blockberry had handled the cost according to the standard contract, the exclusive contract termination issue would not have arisen.
“It would have been difficult to maintain the company if we hadn’t divided the costs with the artists by 5:5. At that time, we thought it was a way to save the group and our company. We explained it to the members, and they all agreed.” (Blockberry)
◆ Chuu took the initiative again
Blockberry made an excuse. Chuu attacked their weaknesses. Chuu initiated a separate contract with a 7:3 ratio. At least this year, she stood out as an individual rather than a member of a team. She participated in planning and deciding the time for her schedules. Blockberry had to accept Chuu’s order.
In the end, Blockberry cut the relationship with Chuu first.
In short, the conflict between Blockberry and Chuu was much more complicated than it was known to the public. It cannot be concluded as a one-sided fault by either side. It was a collaboration of settlement, distrust, incompetence, and disrespect issues.