On December 19, the Dispatch reported on the issue of Chuu’s exclusive contract with BlockBerry, revealing that the conflict began with unreasonable contract terms.
When BlockBerry and Chuu signed an exclusive deal in December 2017, they decided to split earnings from all of its entertainment activities 7:3, meaning the company would get 70 percent and Chuu would get 30 percent. On the other hand, a 5:5 distribution of expenses from its activities was agreed upon.
BlockBerry has also adopted a post-settlement system where revenue is shared first and expenses are deducted afterwards. In other words, 20 percent of the cost that BlockBerry had to bear was passed on to LOONA members. Such a contract is a structure in which LOONA members accumulate debt when expenses exceed 70 percent of income. Excluding Chu, the other members of LOONA have earned 18.6 billion won (approximately US$14,275,000) as of 2016. Dispatch estimates that each member is currently approximately 200 million won (approximately US$153,500) in debt to cover half of the US$1,06.09 billion in expenses.
In the case of Chua, who has had a lot of personal activities such as commercials and appearances on variety shows, it is known that she has been receiving payments since December last year and now has about 220 million won (about $169,000) in her hands.
Dissatisfied with the settlement ratio, Chuu filed for a temporary injunction to suspend her exclusive contract with the agency in January 2022, and the court sided with Chuu.
Since then, Chuu has continued his activities by taking all the profits from the individual activities and sharing with the agency only the division of the group activities’ revenues minus expenses. Thus, Chuu signed an amendment to the contract with the agency, which changed the settlement ratio to 3:7. She also gained the right not to participate in certain group activities and the right to terminate the contract at any time.
When Dispatch asked Chu about this, she explained, “My trust in the company almost ended last year. I didn’t even want to participate in ‘Queendom’, but I didn’t want to give up on LOON either. I signed an amendment to the contract to continue the group’s activities.’
In addition to contract terms, there was a major conflict on June 9, 2022 when Chuu showed a short spoiler of LOONA’s comeback choreography during a video call with a fan. BlockBerry’s “A” sent the clip to Chuu’s mother and wrote, “The choreography cannot be revealed yet. What should we do about it?” Chuu’s mother sent a screenshot of this message and sent it to Chuu, and Chuu sent it to BlockBerry “B”. She said, “Just this hahahahahahahaha are you saying something about one second [spoiler]?” She then bluntly stated that the upcoming comeback will not participate.
The Dispatch asked Chuu about this and other conversations shared with B, and said the company appeared to perceive Chuu’s harsh tone in its messages as an abuse of power. In this regard, Chuu replied, “B is the only person in the company that I have been able to communicate with. I wasn’t expressing anger at B. I was expressing my complaints about how the company was being run.’
Additionally, Chuu shared an audio recording of a 2021 conversation with “D” from BlockBerry. While discussing the terms of the contract, D said, “You graduated from elementary school, didn’t you?” and then added that they were joking. Chuu commented, “D treated me like a little child. It felt like they were looking down on me. At that point, mistrust was created, so I was hurt. I thought I had to speak firmly in order to be listened to… so there is also a time when I spoke in a strong tone. I’m human too, so I made a mistake.”
Earlier on November 25, BlockBerryCreative announced Chuo’s removal from LOONA, citing “violent language and abuse of power” against the employee. The agency followed up with an additional statement on November 28, explaining that their original announcement was not meant to be a revelation, and that it was “the rights of Chua herself and the employees who were harmed to provide the truth or evidence about it.” Chuu then spoke briefly about the case on her Instagram.