SM Entertainment has expressed its intent to mend a fractured relationship with Tao, a member of K-pop boy band EXO, amid rumors that the 22-year-old would quit the 10-member group.
“Lately, we were in the middle of discussing with Tao and his father the possibility of continuing his music career in China, so we feel unfortunate that this kind of letter was posted online,” said EXO’s label SM Entertainment on Thursday in an official statement.
“Nevertheless, our company is seeking ways to develop (a relationship) with Tao and his dad.”
The agency’s statement came after Tao’s father on Wednesday posted a letter on Chinese portal Weibo suggesting the possibility of Tao’s departure.
Tao of EXO. (Yonhap)
“I am aware that my decision can hurt many people, even Tao,” he wrote. “However, I had to bring Tao back to China (from Korea) to give him an adequate treatment for his small and big injuries over the past three years. If I have to choose between (my son) living as a celebrity in Korea and his health and peace, I will choose the latter.”
Tao had suffered an ankle injury during a basketball game on the TV program “2015 Idol Star Athletics Championship” in January, which has stopped him from promoting EXO’s recent album fully with the other nine members.
While SM Entertainment had claimed that Tao is taking a break due to his injury, many K-pop insiders speculate the possibility of another Chinese member quitting the group.
Last year, two Chinese members ― Kris and Luhan ― left EXO in May and October, respectively, after filing for termination of their contracts.
They cited the company’s exploitation of human rights and favoritism toward Korean members as the reason for their departure.
Despite the rumors, EXO returned to the music scene in April with its second studio album “EXODUS.” The title track “Call Me Baby” has been sweeping local music charts.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)