Fifty Fifty, the viral K-pop sensation girl group has recently sparked a lot of buzz all over social media, and this time, it is not about their music. A recent lawsuit which was unanticipated filed by the group has been the reason for all this chaos among fans and internet users.
About Fifty Fifty
Fifty Fifty is a four-member girl group, the members being Sio, Saena, Aran, and Keena. The group worked under their record label Attrakt, and they had been training for 2 years before their debut as a group. Debuting on November 18, 2022, the group released their EP – The Fifty which did not do very well commercially but was very well received by critics, with the songs and the singers’ vocal abilities being praised. The group then released its first single album, The Beginning: Cupid on the 24th of November, 2023.
Claim to Fame
The group was already being praised for its promise and the chances of the girls excelling into superstardom were already obvious. The Recording Academy included Fifty Fifty in its list of K-pop Girl Groups to Watch in 2023. “Tell Me” and “Lovin Me”, songs from the first EP garnered positive feedback from critics. However, their breakout hit happened when they released Cupid, as a part of their album, to which they released both Korean and English versions, with Keena participating in the songwriting of the former version.
A fanmade edit of the English version which was sped up went viral on TikTok and gained huge airplay on US Radio, and eventually, the song ended up entering the Billboard Hot 100. The group became the fastest K-pop group to do so, earning such a huge hit so early on in their debut. The group was also announced to feature on the soundtrack of the popular upcoming Barbie movie called “Barbie Dreams”, featuring rapper Kali.
Lawsuit and Claims of Mistreatment
On June 19, it was announced that Fifty Fifty had filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court against their agency, for the temporary suspension of their exclusive contracts, alleging mistreatment, negligence of the member’s health conditions, lack of transparency when it came to contractual obligations and overall extreme mismanagement.
However, Dispatch soon released a detailed report which could be used to allege discrepancies in Fifty Fifty’s lawsuit. The CEO of ATTRAKT claimed that most of the fault lies with Ahn Sung Il and his company The Givers, who had been acting as intermediaries between the group and ATTRAKT. Ahn was initially sent as a producer for the group while Jeon Hong Joon, the CEO of ATTRAKT looked more into the investment business.
It has been alleged that Ahn is apparently the one who had forced the group to perform, coercing them to film the Barbie music video even though member Aran had just undergone surgery. Dispatch also revealed that apparently, Ahn was the one who was contractually getting the highest profits from the production of the song Cupid, considering The Givers and his own percentage amounted to 95.5% of the revenues. The CEO of ATTRAKT also alleged falsifying information and unveiled phone conversations and financial documents urging innocence.
Reactions To The News
Although the tide was in the group’s favor initially, with the release of the Dispatch report, the group was faced with harsh judgment. There were old videos dug up regarding the way they acted about their CEO, many alleging it as disrespect. They have also been called “backstabbers”, and accused of being cocky and for conspiring against the CEO with Ahn.
However, there has been a distinct amount of support for them too, with many suspecting media play on the CEO’S part to absolve himself of complicity in the group’s mistreatment. The CEO has also been criticized for buying a dorm for the girls in the most expensive neighborhood in South Korea, Gangnam. One user tweeted, “The fifty-fifty thing is so sad. like it’s upsetting to see time and time again how smaller acts and artists seemed like they were not destined to ever win even when they get close. absolutely frustrating to see them being taken advantage of meanwhile ppl with less talent” ― pointing out the helplessness of the group in the situation.
The Group’s Future
While the lawsuit proceedings go on, it’s unclear what is about to happen to the group. A number of their appearances in the recent future have been canceled. A user tweeted, “FIFTY FIFTY’s Barbie Dreams MV, KCON appearance, appearance with Margot Robbie in Seoul, variety show appearance, commercial with the famous football star, & commercial with the global electronic company have all been canceled due to the recent situation”. It is to be seen what happens to the group, when the next lawsuit, filed by ATTRAKT’s CEO against Ahn and The Givers goes on the floor soon.