The success of Kpop idols depends significantly on the position, strategy, and management of their companies. Many Kpop idols consider the company as their second family. But, families sometimes have “black sheep”, which are those Kpop idols who were unlucky to be mistreated by the agencies that they devoted most of their youth to.
Kris (formerly of EXO)
Not only known as one of the most popular K-pop groups, EXO also attracts tons of fans thanks to their futuristic vibes, outstanding vocals and top dancing skills.
Yet, don’t you think that the number of 12 members is too large for a group? Because of the overwhelming number of members, there are a few who received better attention from the company than the others. Like Chanyeol or Kai, they are key members of the group and thus received more favors, but the same thing didn’t happen to Kris.
Fairly speaking, Kris not only rapped well, but he also had an ideal height and a standard face. Yet, in EXO’s songs, he can only show off his voice for a few seconds.
When watching their MVs, you’ll also notice that Kris’ screentime was little and his regular position was on the side. Although he was the leader himself, Kris was entirely ignored by SM Entertainment.
Besides mistreating him in all EXO’s activities, SM also turned down all offers for Kris to appear in films in both Korea and his home country, China.
When Kris was still with EXO, fans always wanted to have a separate stage for Kris. But instead of doing that, SM did the exact opposite. They let the main vocalists such as D.O, Baekhyun, and Chen take part in the “Miracle of December” promotion without Kris.
Seemingly, since Kris couldn’t take it anymore, plus the exhausting practicing schedules, he decided to leave the group and fair enough, all of his fans were super supportive of his decision.
Although the SM’s dancing machine has always been well-known for her skillful choreography, she was the one who got the least investment compared to other SNSD members.
As one of the girl groups with the most number of members, there are some who were poorly treated, especially Hyoyeon.
Maybe, it was because Hyoyeon was a bit inferior to other members in terms of appearance like Yoona, Jessica, Tiffany, and Taeyeon.
Also, because of not being the main vocalist, Hyoyeon’s line distribution was only 10 seconds in “Mr. Mr” and it was 5 seconds in the all time hit “I Got A Boy”. Wasn’t it too unfair for her?
In fact, Hyoyeon even once admitted that she used to think of leaving SNSD because the adorable image SM guided the group didn’t fit her at all.
Moreover, since the agency showed no intention of changing the group’s image, she was drowned in hopelessness for a long period of time. Instead of letting her express the true colors through personal activities, the agency just pretended that she didn’t matter at all.
Things only changed when recently, because there were only 5 members agreeing to extend their contracts with SM, the agency started to invest in Hyoyeon’s personal promotion.
Maybe they’re just doing so for their own sake but still, at least Hyoyeon gets to do what she loves now.
Lee Hi was once considered the “gem” of YG when this company wholeheartedly took care of her after the 2012 Kpop Star competition. With a special and unique vocal, Lee Hi debuted successfully with the song “1, 2, 3, 4”.
Up until 2016, Lee Hi got another hit, “Breath.” At that time, many people thought that the song would be an excellent background for her to become the top solo singer in KPOP.
But for no reason, YG stopped promoting her. They didn’t let her come back with other products.
Even once, Lee Hi cried on TV because she wanted to come back so badly, but YG still did nothing.
After 3 years without any product, Lee Hi finally released “No One” in 2019.
However, this song didn’t receive the same positive response from KPOP fans as expected.
At the end of 2019, she left YG Entertainment after seven years of being ignored and mistreated.
When iKON first debuted in 2015, they became the most malignant group of KPOP. Bobby and B.I were the two key members in the group. They were capable of rapping and composing well. Therefore, the two were allowed to sing for more than a minute in the group’s debut song.
Meanwhile, Chanwoo was not allowed to sing for more than 10 seconds. In their recent products, Chanwoo had the least singing lines in iKON.
In a reality show, B.I violently hit Chanwoo, and Bobby didn’t do anything when he saw that.
The story of Chanwoo being bullied and discriminated against by his colleagues and YG was controversial in the fan community.
Some said that the reason was that Chanwoo was less talented, and he did not improve much after joining the group.
However, most fans believed that nobody had the right to bully Chanwoo just because his capacity was not as widely recognized as other members.
Although WinWin had an outstanding appearance and excellent dancing ability, his screen time and distribution lines were much less than the others.
In 2018, WinWin was transferred to a smaller group of NCT, WayV, and started promoting in China. People expected that he would develop more when he debuted in his hometown.
However, WinWin was still treated like a black sheep. His contribution to the group was mainly accompanied by others, just like when he was in NCT 127.
Also, when participating in a variety show in China, he refused to dance because of his bad health. He also often tried to hide in corners to avoid being screened.
Later on, fans realized that the real reason WinWin could not perform was that the company didn’t allow him to sing and dance solo without the other members.
The other time, to congratulate WinWin’s debut day, fans made an LED light board with the words “Dong Sicheng” (which is his real name), 4 years of happy debut” at WayV’s fan meeting.
However, this lightboard was taken down by the staff, while the other members’ ones were still intact.
Henry is known to the public as a musical genius for his excellent ability to play the piano and violin. He received a full scholarship from Berklee College – the most prestigious music conservatory in the world.
Moreover, he passed the entrance exam to the musical performance department of the University of Toronto (Canada) before going to Korea to become a trainee of SM. Being a Korean Chinese, He is also famous for being fluent in 6 languages.
Henry is multi-talented but ironically, he still had the same fate as the Kpop idols above. Henry only appeared in the sub-unit Super Junior-M and never became an official member of SuJu. A long time after his unofficial debut, Henry became a solo artist.
However, he received little support and investment from the company. Henry even had to ask for help from his fans when he was treated unfairly by SM.
Henry left SM in 2018, ending 11 years of living under mistreatment and indifference. Currently, he has opened a company to manage his own activities in Korea and China.
Many fans hope that he could be more successful by making use of his excellent potential.
CL is a famous name in KPOP, she was once known as “YG princess”. During her prime days, CL was wholeheartedly supported and invested by the company. However, 2NE1 disbanded in 2016, and CL became less popular than she used to be.
After 2NE1 stopped working, YG promised to support her career in the American market. But for some reason, CL didn’t have any promotion for many years. She even frequently required YG to promote and give her a chance to come back.
Things were actually so bad that she once had to comment on Yang Huyn Suk, the former CEO of YG, that he should stop ignoring her and reply to her messages.
Fortunately, in 2019, CL decided not to stay with YG and went her own way. YG, at that time, was fully focused on BLACKPINK and a new survival show so that didn’t seem to bother them at all.
Yet, since a star can’t shine without darkness, CL’s career is now brighter than ever. With the inherent hip-hop vibe and the in-depth knowledge of Western music, her reputation is growing rapidly in America.
There was a time the two members of DAY6, Jae and Young K, participated in the recording for the Youtube channel “DIVE Studio”.
However, the group’s official account only promoted the episode with the appearance of Young K and totally ignored Jae. Then, in June 2020, Jae himself had to go on Twitter and expressed his wonder why JYP posted Young K’s DIVE Studio content without posting his own content.
The next morning, he continued to post a new tweet questioning why his personal activities were not shared on DAY6’s Twitter account.
Then, Jae posted another tweet explaining why he had to speak up like that. Accordingly, Jae said that JYP Entertainment forced him to stop his personal Youtube channel, even though everything was done by himself without touching the company’s investment.
Meanwhile, the company invested a lot in content, budget, and staff support for other members’ individual activities.
After Jae decided to express his frustration about the company’s unfair management, fans began to stand against JYP and asked for a sensible explanation.
Amber (formerly of f(x))
After leaving SM Entertainment, Amber revealed the difficulties she experienced during her time with the company.
She shared that “I remember my skin was quite tan at the time; the company forced me to lighten my skin. Moreover, I lost a lot of weight and had serious eating disorders.”
What’s more, Amber and F(x) were just allowed to come back once a year, while other groups were releasing many songs and albums. Amber was a talented and energetic idol.
However, she didn’t receive enough support and care from the company. During 10 years, she had very few solo promotions and activities.
Amber didn’t have a chance to show her ability and potential. She once accused SM of confining her for 5 years: “I was very patient … My fans were also very patient. But I could do nothing but sit still. I waited and was continually rejected, then embraced fanciful hopes”.
Many people think that leaving SM Entertainment was her right decision.
Even though Heechul is one of the most famous members of Suju, he still suffered from being unfairly treated.
Just like EXO, Suju is also a boy group with a large number of members. That’s why there were people who could only sing for a few seconds. Heechul had a stable vocal and an impressive visual. Yet, his screen time and distribution lines were assigned unfairly.
On an episode of the reality show Family Outing 2, Heechul frankly revealed that he was just allowed to sing very little in Super Junior’s songs.
In all of Suju’s 6 singles, his solo parts were only around 37 seconds. Quite surprisingly, his distribution line in most songs was not more than 1 minute. As a result, many people now know Heechul as an MC or comedian instead of a Kpop idol.
So who do you think is the one being put at the greatest disadvantage? Are there any mistreated Kpop idols that you want to add to this list? Feel free to comment down below!
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