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Saturday, September 17, 2016

[DISCUSSION] 160916 OT12, OT9, OT8?

Back in 2014, we faced our first Exo crisis as one of our leaders left us unexpectedly and one of our most beloved Exo members followed him. In 2015, we lost another member. For most of 2015 and 2016, the fandom feared we would lose a fourth member. Why? Because over two years, the China line had slowly diminished with only one remaining. Lay. 

As fans anxiety increased and rumours spread, Lay did his best to assure everyone that he was not about to go anywhere. But his continued absence for some of Exo’s activities meant that OT8 rumours were not dying down. There were stories about him leaving to pursue a solo career or joining a group with Kris, Luhan and Tao. And the setting up of his independent studio in China didn’t help either- some fans were convinced that he was preparing himself to exit the group.

Both SM and Lay continued to quell rumours and insist that he was loyal to his group and would honour his contract. But with his continued appearance on various Chinese shows and starring in a few movies, the anti-Lay fans were adamant. 

The following information is courtesy of Koreaboo- who translated a post from Pann- and will put into perspective why the rumours have not died down:

For his own personal profit, Lay is promoting individually in China while still active as a member of EXO and basically earns income through both solo and group activities. 

I will summarize the shared sentiment among most EXO fans and our community in hopes that many will read this and judge for themselves whether EXO fans are being irrational for their criticism of Lay’s actions. [Our view] is that a member should prioritize group promotions and we ask that you, the third party (even if you are not a fan of EXO), judge for yourself as well.

February 2014
Lay requested SM Entertainment for a personal studio (agency) in China but the agency denied his request. This was confirmed in one of Lay’s Chinese interviews.

May 5th, 2014
Kris leaves EXO.

July 2014
Lay again requested for a personal studio from SM and confirmed in an interview and on his Weibo saying that “I want SM to change.”

October 10th, 2014
Luhan leaves EXO; Lay updated his Weibo saying, “Goodbye brother. Let’s stand on the stage together once again when the opportunity arises! I support your decision as your hyung (older brother), [best of luck].”

March 31st, 2015
Right before the release of EXO’s latest album Exodus, Lay finalized the paperwork for his Chinese agency “Zhang Yixing Workshop.

April 7th, 2015
A Chinese Lay fan site that has supported Lay for over 10 years since his days as a child actor “accidentally” leaked a post supporting Lay and his new personal agency, citing it as a mistake in a rather malicious manner just one hour before EXO’s third anniversary. As a result, EXO-L’s scrambled to find the truth as rumours of Lay leaving the group spread like wildfire.

April 8th, 2015 [EXO’s Third Anniversary]
SM Representatives hurriedly made
a press release at 8:30AM KST announcing that they have set up an agency for Lay in China. Representatives added, “He will not be leaving EXO and will be complying with his contract for its duration. He will also be working towards the advancement of his own company [as well].”

EXO fans were disappointed in Lay and began to express their anger over his actions and Lay fans were left to defend him.

The post then goes on to show the difference of opinions between Lay fans and Anti-Lay fans


[1] Many criticize his attitude and lack of attendance at EXO’s group schedules in order to further his personal profit while the group is in the middle of group promotions.

[2] The fact that Lay’s personal agency is not under his Korean given stage-name but under his real Chinese name, Zhang Yixing, and that the hired staff is not employed by SM Entertainment but under himself means that his personal profits will not be divided with other members. As a solo agency, he will not be working his schedule directly with SM Entertainment.


[1] Lay is creating a path for EXO-M to ease into the Chinese music market more smoothly. Through Lay, EXO-M will have more opportunities to promote in the Chinese industry.

[2] Lay may have registered his personal agency [apart from SM Entertainment] but he is still a member of EXO and has not left the group yet. Since he has not yet [made any attempt] to leave the group, he should not be criticized.

Now, I am definitely a Lay fan. And no, it’s not because he hip thrusted his way into my heart- it’s because he’s such a precious soul. He’s one of the kindest idols I’ve discovered and sometimes he zones so far out, but it’s adorable. He’s actually a very good actor and an amazing singer, he should definitely be getting more lines in songs. Has anyone seen him in Old Nine Gates? Anyone have the patience to sit through 2+ hours of Go Fighting? What about his latest performances in Bangkok and Hiroshima? There are not enough adjectives to describe how out of this world he is. 

 I’m inclined to believe him when he says that won’t leave exo so it made me a little angry when someone decided to Photoshop him out of a selfie with Chanyeol. This is not right at all. I can only imagine how he feels when something like this happens, even after he’s made it clear that he’s not going anywhere. In fact, I’m scared that it will make him leave after all because if it reaches point where he has more anti-fans than fans, he might feel that it’s better to remove himself from the group.

 I sincerely hope that it will not reach that point and that the anti-fans will realise that there is nothing wrong with him wanting to pursue a solo career. Many other idols have done it and remained a part of their group. Even other Exo members have taken on their own movies, dramas, song collaborations and even variety show appearances. So why is it different when Lay does it? Is it because he’s the last of the China line? I don’t think that’s an adequate reason to launch this hate campaign on him.

He’s finally making his solo debut and I think it’s going to be amazing, if “Monodrama” is anything to judge by. Let us all support our Healing Unicorn and not let those haters ruin this moment for him. 

Now that we’ve talked about the OT9/OT8 topic, I want to tackle something else. Some time ago, Luhan and Kris- or Wu Yifan rather- received a verdict on their contract termination. The ruling was in favour of SME which meant that the company would now take over management of their careers once again. There was some speculation that the two would be re-joining Exo but that was later confirmed as false. It did get me thinking though, what would happen if the boys actually joined Exo once again?

It’s definitely a sensitive topic considering the reason that they left in the first place and how the other members reacted to it. For Kris especially there was a lot of unsettling feelings considering he had left while Overdose promotions had just started and that he was the first to go without warning. In Luhan’s case, we know that some of the members are still somewhat in contact with him. And in Tao’s case we know that he isn’t in contact with Exo at all as he has said himself in an interview. I think that if the three were asked to return that it wouldn’t work out. 

To me, it feels like Exo has become much closer as OT9 and have improved both their working and personal relationships with each other. I can’t help but think that losing three members prompted that. Now if those members were to return, how would they regain their trust towards the three and include them into this closer knit Exo? I don’t think it can be done. Additionally, I don’t see many fans approving the return of members they once called traitors and two-faced.

 Kris and Luhan are returning as SM Artists and Tao’s chances of winning his lawsuit also seem diminished, so perhaps it’s best to just let them continue with the solo careers they have established. There’s no doubt that the three of them have worked non-stop since their respective departures and have become known as artists in their own right. But they will always be a part of Exo history so let’s support them since they’re now once again under the SME banner and hope that they never again experience the issues that caused them to take such drastic measures.

So the topic is open for discussion. What do you think about Lay’s anti-fans and his dedication to Exo? And what of KrisHan’s return to the SME fold?

Let us know in the comments!

Written by: Acacia@exodicted.net
Image credits: Individual Uploaders

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