During his appearance on a Chinese talk show, former EXO member Tao has spoken up about his experience with SM Entertainment. The artist also candidly revealed the reasons why he left the group and South Korea.
According to Tao, he decided to leave Seoul because "[he] didn't want to live tired like that," as per Allkpop. The Chinese singer-rapper also revealed how he was allegedly treated by his former label SM Entertainment while he was still a member of EXO.
"During a program playing basketball, I injured my ankle ligaments. At the time, I still worked hard because my fans were right there, but the label pressured me to continue on with my schedule even with the serious injury. I was willing to sacrifice for my team, but the limit comes when you go too far," Tao said.
Tao was the third member of EXO to be introduced in 2011. He is also a member of the group's sub-unit EXO-M. In 2015, the Chinese singer-rapper established his own agency called Z. TAO Studio, and filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment to terminate his contract with the label.
On the same year, Tao made his solo debut with a mini album titled "T.A.O." that recorded over 670,000 digital sales in its first week. Since then, Tao continued his activities as a solo artist in China amid pending case with former label regarding his contract.
As a result, SM Entertainment charged Tao for his activities prior to the ruling of the court. "Doing activities before the official ruling of a court is illegal. Following the recent lawsuit, we will be taking legal action continuously in China as well," the agency said according to Soompi.
SM Entertainment went on, "China's National Copyright Administration's policy, China's Publishing Association's pledge, and the Korea and China Copyright Forum's memorandum of understanding will protect the mind of abiding contracts in light of the important issues of intellectual property rights and contract minds that have been magnified since last year."
Aside from Tao, his co-members Kris and Luhan were also charged for pursuing other activities despite their contracts with SM Entertainment.