No two idols’ experiences are the same. While some continuously praise their agencies for providing good resources and support, others end their contracts on a sour note. Three of these Cube Entertainment idols shared stories of mistreatment and mismanagement after parting ways with the company.
1. Elkie (CLC)
In an exclusive interview with Mingpaoa Hong Kong newspaper, Elkie shared the true reasons why left Cube Entertainment and her former group, CLC. During her time at the agency, she suffered both mistreatment and mismanagement.
A composer at the company harmed Elkie’s mental wellbeing by allegedly calling her “really dumb” and “totally useless“, while an extreme training schedule took a toll on her physical health. She recalled dancing for 16 hours straight.
The most extreme incident was when I couldn’t sleep for several days and wasn’t even able to remove my makeup. The longest time I’ve had dance practice was for 16 hours straight, from noon to late at night. I was so tired that I walked like a zombie.
Moreover, Elkie says CLC was robbed of opportunities to succeed. For instance, CLC’s song “La Vie en Rose” was given to FROM THEM. CLC released “NO” instead.
The song and opportunity that originally belonged to us were given to someone else and the situation felt so helpless. The 7 of us worked really hard, but the agency took away our opportunities. I think the agency was way too out of line. I feel so disappointed.
Release schedules can make or break a K-Pop group; more releases result in more interest from fans and more revenue from album sales. CLC suffered from a lack of regular releases and resources that, in the end, resulted in Elkie’s decision to leave the group.
CLC did not have releases frequently…sometimes it took a year to have a new song or album. When the agency said they will not give CLC any more resources, I thought there was no point for me to stay. As an artist I just wanted to meet with fans through my works. If nothing can be done, there’s nothing I can do to repay the fans, and I can’t accept that.
HyunA and DAWN (then E’Dawn of PENTAGON) found out through the media that Cube Entertainment had terminated their contracts. In 2018, the couple (then Cube Entertainment labelmates and Triple H members) revealed that they were in a relationship and had been dating for two years. While DAWN did not publicly comment about his removal, HyunA did.
In a handwritten letter, HyunA revealed that CUBE Entertainment had treated her unfairly, casting her aside despite the loyalty and support she had shown them.
Firstly, when I was parting ways with JYP, I was on Chairman Hong’s side. Secondly, when there was a conflict between Chairman Hong and President Park Choong Min, I turned down President Park even when he tried to convince me and stood on the side of Chairman Hong. Thirdly, after Cube went public, the only thing I’ve done is do my best to help create the Cube that it has become today.
After HyunA’s dating news broke, her schedules were canceled and her contract was terminated prematurely, all without telling her beforehand.
I don’t know how great of a crime I’ve committed, but since the beginning of September, all of my schedules have been canceled. Then on September 13, I read the news of my removal. Even though I could’ve been told in person.
HyunA was told that the company’s stockholders would be holding a meeting about the dating “scandal”, and she would be informed of the results, but she didn’t hear back from them.
After patiently waiting while enduring declining health and damage to her reputation, HyunA finally gave CUBE Entertainment a deadline.
Everyday is torture for me. For these past two months, it has been too difficult for me to wait. I ask that you give a response by the 15th. Then, I would like for the contract to be canceled cleanly and gentlemanly. If I receive no response by then, I will go my way through a press conference on the basis of the facts that have occurred thus far.
I ask once again but I’ve only done my very best, deteriorating my health in order to sacrifice for the Cube that exists today. Despite my feelings, my image has hit rock bottom and my reputation has been tarnished because of my removal from Cube.
3. Lai Guanlin
A former Produce 101 contestant as well as former member of WANNA ONE and the duo Wooseok x Kuanlin, Lai Guanlin was involved in a legal battle with Cube Entertainment. It began in 2019 when Lai Guanlin requested that his exclusive contract with the agency be canceled.
Through his lawyer, Lai Guanlin revealed that Cube Entertainment sold his promotional rights in China to another agency without permission. Cube Entertainment has refuted the claims, stating that they have not violated any contractual agreements.
On July 27, 2017, Lai Guanlin signed an exclusive contract with Cube Entertainment. Within just a few months, in January 2018, Cube sold Lai Guanlin’s management rights in China to a third-party agency. Through the transaction, Cube was given a sum that was dozens of times larger than the contract fee given to Lai Guanlin.
Lai Guanlin and his parents were not consulted about this at all, so they weren’t able to agree or disagree with the transaction.
— Lai Kuanlin’s Lawyer
Lai Guanlin’s lawyer also stated that Cube Entertainment agreed to conflicting schedules without Lai Guanlin’s consent that caused his image to become “damaged” in the Chinese broadcast industry.
Although the Seoul Central District Court dismissed the request to suspend his exclusive contract, Lai Guanlin has since filed an appeal. Since then, his appeal was successful and in June 2021, Lai Guanlin’s contract with Cube Entertainment was officially suspended.