News broke in late April that Henry of Super Junior-M (SJM) would not be renewing his contract with SM Entertainment. After ten long years, Henry is finally free. Although his popularity soared under the “big three” label, it wasn’t without its woes. It’s expected that idols will experience some level of hardship but some of what Henry experienced ranged from concerning to just plain crazy. Almost immediately after his debut, Henry’s heartbreaking struggle with SM began.
Korean ELFS Reject Changes
Super Junior (SuJu) is by far one of SM’s most successful groups, and until recently, were their largest group. SuJu was meant to switch out members similar to Japanese mega girl group AKB48 . They started with 12 members then later evolved into OT13 when Kyuhyun joined. Even though SM always intended to rotate members, many ELF railed against this and refused to accept Kyuhyun. They only begrudgingly accepted him after a terrible car accident almost took his life and injured several other members. Later, when Henry and Zhoumi joined the sub-unit SJM, a large group of anti-fans called Only13 (Only12 when against Kyuhyun) immediately began ridiculing them, organizing black oceans, and booing them during stages.
It’s incomprehensible some of the things done to prevent Henry and Zhoumi from being members of SuJu. The worst being death threats while the most ridiculous was buying stock to pressure SM into accepting their demands. SM eventually conceded, reducing Henry and Zhoumi to being only SJM members. Even after Eunyhuk tried to placate fans, shown in a video posted by Dear Light (see description for English translation), the hateful campaign continued, though it did weaken a bit.
Henry’s Plea to SM
Around the end of December 2016, Henry posted a cryptic Instagram message pleading for help to get the “company” to listen to him. While he did not explicitly name SM, he was then under an exclusive contract with them, so what other company could he have been talking about? The now deleted post, implied regret over the previous nine years, expressed his exhaustion and frustration, possibly with the lack of support he was receiving from his agency. Fans were delirious with worry for him and immediately began posting messages of encouragement and support. A couple of days later, Henry uploaded a self-taken video thanking fans for their support. He seemed to be in happier spirits, which was quite a relief.
Henry Leaves SM
SM’s reputation regarding their foreign talent keeps taking hits. Not that they score that high concerning domestic talent, but foreign artists keep having issues. Hangeng, Jessica, Kris, LuHan, and Amber, are just a few. Fans probably expected Henry to leave after the December post. Looking back, one could understand why he may not have renewed the contract. His footing under SM has always been a little shaky. It also seems like Henry was ready to move on to a new chapter in his life. He has already taken the first step by opening his own restaurant called Xiao Zhan Tawainese Eats. If you’re ever in Seoul, be sure to stop by. Now that he has completely cut ties with SuJu, maybe fans will give him a real chance now. Either way, I wish him all the best.