Why are Orbits boycotting LOONA?
Anyone who has been in the K-pop community recently should have noticed by now that LOONA’s own fandom, Orbit, are boycotting against them, but why? Read this article written by one of these Orbits to find out the many reasons as to why this boycott is important. We encourage you to spread the news and make others aware of what is happening to LOONA.
What has happened?
First, one needs to know of the poor treatment that LOONA has faced since debut. It is no secret that LOONA is under a company that is not very well known, let alone a company that does not have very much money. BlockBerry Creative, LOONA’s company, has gained a very negative reputation with Orbits. Once one knows the reasons why, it’s easy to understand this bad reputation.
LOONA’s entire debut process was very elaborate and expensive, reportedly costing $1,000,000 USD. Though this was a very iconic and unnique concept, it most definitely set the group up for failure. From the start, LOONA and their companies were put into debt, and it started with this lengthy debut project. Not only did BlockBerry create solos for each girl, but this pre-debut project also included sub-units as well. Each unit and solo had physical releases complete with photocards, which only ups the cost of debuting more.
So, how much debt are the girls of LOONA in exactly? According to Dispatch and Vulture Magazine, each LOONA member (excl. Chuu) is in 200 million won (approximately $13,500) in debt, despite having earned 18.6 billion won ($14,275,000).
The reason Chuu has no debts to BlockBerry is because of her popularity. She is the only LOONA member to have earned money from the company, having earned about 220 million won ($169,000). Chuu is very popular in Korea, and has done numerous solo schedules and even had her own YouTube channel. All proceeds from the channel were donated to the Korea Music Development Corporation Aggregate. In a message served to fans, a certificate was posted with the following:
“This certificate is given to thank said donor (Chuu Can Do It – Kim Ji Woo) for donating to the Korea Music Development Corporation Aggregate which will help improve the welfare of musicians. The donated amount will be used preciously towards the independence and music promotions of senior and rookie musicians.”
Chuu was also the first member to be removed from the group. On November 25, 2022, BlockBerry Creative officially announced Chuu’s removal from the group. Some fans had expected this once Chuu stopped appearing in group schedules right around the time that members started preparing for LUMINOUS. In fact, news of Chuu filing a lawsuit against BlockBerry Creative started circulating around March of 2022. It goes to show that this mistreatment has been going on for a very long time, and that these girls are doing everything they can to get freed from this company.
After tags for LOONA’s Chuu began trending, BlockBerry Creative started to feel the imminent pressure of losing their group. Not only did the company put together a series of messages quote on quote “exposing” Chuu, but they also rushed to put together a comeback for the girls. Below will be some quotes from the messages, and a link to an article with more context and information on the messages will be here.
Chuu: When I said that I had a day free, I didn’t mean I wanted to waste my time that day with this kind of unproductive schedule. If this continues, I can’t participate in group activities. (Sends a file.) I don’t know if you’re trying to play games with these wait times or what. But you sent the schedule to the group chat room with all of the members before confirming the times with me. This is the last time I’m giving you a warning.
Manager: It seems that there were issues in communication. Please let me know of any changes you would like me to make, and they will be reflected.
Chuu: From now on.
Manager: Yes, I will take caution.
Sent within the same day
Chuu: You said you wanted me to participate in the group documentary. But if the wait times are like what they were in that schedule, I will quit immediately. I’m serious. For real, are you joking with me. You played games with money and as if that wasn’t enough, you won’t admit to your mistakes and you still want to treat me like a fool. I see it with my own eyes. Everything from the part division to each person’s lines. You’re proceeding with all of these knowing that you’re breaching our contract?
Manager B: We will adjust the filming schedule so that your wait time will be cut down to the bare minimum.
Chuu: I’ve mentioned the wait time a handful of times already, but it seems that nothing is being adjusted. I have to do this every, single, time?
Manager B: I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. I apologize.
What do these messages mean? Well, to give some context, let’s look into BlockBerry’s statement from when they first announced that Chuu was being removed from LOONA.
Specifically, it is important to highlight BlockBerry’s attitude towards staff vs. Chuu, and assess how they are going to move forward.
BlockBerry Creative claims here that Chuu verbally abused staffs, which we can see some of these examples within the KakaoTalk messages, and also sided completely with the staff, stating that they were serving consolation for the staff members that were hurt by Chuu’s actions.
Assessing the Evidence
Many fans and non-fans are split on this. Although Chuu’s behavior is a bit harsh and immature, there is also a lot to be said about the power dynamic between a company vs. their artist. Chuu is an artist, and BlockBerry is her company. It goes without saying that companies have a lot more power when it comes to what happens behind the scenes, and also taking the years of mistreatment into account, the picture here is almost crystal clear.
LOONA, especially Chuu, were exploited for years by this company, all the while nearly none of them not earning a single cent from their activities. The only reason Chuu is the one member making positive earnings is because she had dozens of solo activities, compared to the few amounts the other members had. Chuu was undoubtedly the most popular member of LOONA when she was under BlockBerry, which is why things started going downhill even steeper than before once her removal was announced. Since the beginning of 2022, Orbits have had to worry about the fate of their beloved group LOONA.
About a month after Chuu officially was removed from LOONA, BlockBerry announced that LOONA would be coming back with an album titled “The Origin Album [O]”. This was met with quite a bit of backlash from Orbits and non Orbits alike.
When this was first teased, Orbits questioned whether this was a genuine comeback or just a coverup for everything that was going on with Chuu.
Since Orbits are known for digging, they started going into things a bit more, namely the clips that were contained within the teaser itself. The link to said teaser will not be shared here due to not wanting to give the company any interactions, but if you so desire, look it up and watch it. What needs to be known about this teaser is that Orbits soon realized that a lot of the footage used was pulled from stock footage websites, rather than filmed with the girls or by the company itself.
This would honestly be fine, and the company has used stock footage before, but it just adds on to the theme of the comeback being so clearly rushed.
Many Orbits also said that it looks fanmade, and once you see it for yourself, it’s easy to agree. Fans have been unfollowing accounts and deleting music from their libraries in order to no longer financially support this unethical company.
How the girls feel
Unlike in the past, the girls have for the first time begun to speak about their feelings and treatment.
A month before Chuu was removed from the group, Chuu starred on “Dr Oh’s Golden Clinic, where she spoke on her relationship with her mom, which caused her to become emotional. However, this was not the only moment where fans felt for the normally happy Chuu.
Looking back, fans recalled when she spoke of her conditions as a trainee and idol. Chuu recalled moments where she felt stressed. And in those moments of stress, Chuu and the girls found respite in breaks of being outside, which is normal, but what is not normal (and borderline abusive) is that these breaks were cruelly limited to just a mere half-hour time period.
It is no secret that the idol life is not easy, and that it takes a serious toll on ones’ mental health. The fact that even in their most difficult times BlockBerry did not seem very worried about the well being of their artists makes fans even more angry. This is just one example of the many unethical and upsetting practices that BlockBerry has carried out, and to list them all would make this article even more unnecessarily longer than it needs to be.
Another moment of LOONA being upset made the hearts of Orbits break. Not even two days after the news, LOONA were made to do a fancall for their track called “LUMINOUS”. Many Orbits noticed that the girls looked very puffy eyed, and were probably crying due to the news.
TLDR: Wrapping things up
Overall, this situation has been very stressful and upsetting not only for Orbits, but the K-Pop community as a whole. The girls of LOONA are going through a very tough time right now. This fate is something that no fan or group wants, and unfortunately, it had to happen to one of the most unique groups in K-Pop.
Join Orbits in boycotting LOONA. This means do not buy albums, do not follow or view official content, and do not engage with anything BlockBerry Creative related. Please, if you can, participate in joining LOONA Union in their petition to get the girls the justice that they deserve. The situation is still ongoing and changing every day, but our overall goal and dream is to see the girls as a happy, whole 12 again one day.
Article by heejists, a proud ORBIT.