FIFTY FIFTY have lost their first battle against Attrakt, after a judge dismissed an injunction to suspend their contract with the company. This is the latest blow against the embattled girl group, who have been locked in a legal fight with Attrakt for weeks. The news was first reported today by Korean daily Hankyung.
Earlier this month, the case was referred to mediation court in hopes that both sides would find a compromise. However, on Aug 17, 2023 FIFTY FIFTY unilaterally refused to negotiate the contract dispute in mediation court. They asked that the case be sent back to civil court instead.
FIFTY FIFTY members Sio, Keena, Saena, and Aran previously accused Attrakt of violating their contract. They pointed to a lack of transparency in financial settlements and the agency’s one-sided efforts to enforce contracts, even when health was at stake.
On Aug 19, FIFTY FIFTY’s side of the story aired in an episode of the investigative journalism program Unanswered Questions. The group listed down their allegations against Attrakt and its CEO Jun Hong-Joon. This included daily BMI tests, verbal and mental abuse and financial mismanagement.
However, in the days following the broadcast, some of the group’s claims were debunked by news outlet Dispatch. This included the girls’ claim that Attrakt staff members made them to throw away food sent by family members.
Judge says FIFTY FIFTY claims ‘not proven’
A report by Dispatch outlined the judge’s ruling to dismiss the injunction by FIFTY FIFTY. According to the judge, the group failed to prove their claims that Attrakt had violated the contract.
The court acknowledged the three issues raised by FIFTY FIFTY that led to the breakdown of trust with Attrakt. These were “non-fulfillment of settlement obligations, neglect of health protection, and lack of support”.
For the first point, FIFTY FIFTY claimed that Attrakt failed to pay them for music profits. However, it was shown that this was due to an accounting mistake by The Givers, which Attrakt had since rectified. Therefore, the judge said it was “difficult to conclude that Attrakt has violated the obligation to settle or provide settlement data to the extent of destroying the relationship of trust.”
On the second point, that Attrakt neglected the health of the members, the judge ruled that the evidence submitted by FIFTY FIFTY “did not sufficiently explain” how this broke the contract.
On the final point, FIFTY FIFTY claimed that it was difficult for Attrakt to support their entertainment activities after the outsourcing contract with The Givers had ended. The Givers was in charge of the group during overseas promotions, and was accused of trying to poach them. The judge said that there was no proof that this had impacted the contract between FIFTY FIFTY and Attrakt.
The judge concluded: “It is difficult to conclude that the relationship of trust has reached the point where it is broken.” It is believed that FIFTY FIFTY will appeal the judge’s decision.
The legal outcome received a positive reaction from Korean netizens. Attrakt CEO Jun told the media that he would be focusing on a criminal lawsuit against The Givers CEO SIAHN.