Fans of SM Entertainment artists staged an LED truck protest in front of HYBE headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul, on Tuesday against the agency’s takeover of the company.
On Tuesday, photos of trucks parked outside HYBE appeared on the Internet, with words such as “Our fans oppose HYBE monopoly” and other words.
One message parodied HYBE’s slogan “We Believe in Music,” cutting the word “music” and replacing it with “money.”
HYBE “should have asked the fans and the artist how they felt about everything, but no dialogue took place,” a fan involved in the protest told local media.
Since the day HYBE signed an agreement to buy shares of SM founder Lee Soo Man last month, fans and employees of SM Entertainment have been openly opposing HYBE’s acquisition of the K-pop agency.
HYBE is seeking to buy up to 40% of the company, which would give it effective control.
A total of 208 SM Entertainment employees — the company had 559 employees in September last year — united and issued a statement opposing HYBE’s purchase of the company’s shares.
“Former chief producer Lee Soo-man sold his stake to a competitor he had been belittling and fled after his illegal tax evasion was exposed,” the statement read. “We will protect K-pop’s cultural diversity and SM Entertainment’s unique identity. SM Entertainment’s culture cannot be dominated by HYBE’s capital.”
A general meeting of shareholders will be held on March 31 to appoint members of SM Entertainment’s board of directors.
Yoon So Yeon [firstname.lastname@example.org]