Tao and EXO
Alright, now that I’m not about to lose my mind, it’s time for me to say something about this entire mess. I’m sick and tired of people acting on their emotions, making assumptions as though they know more about the situation than the rest of us do, or people jumping on hate/drama bandwagons just because there’s a popular person or post on tumblr telling you that’s what’s happening.
First things first, I want to take us back to when this whole mess first started. With Papa Huang’s letter on Weibo. He explicitly stated that it was HIM, Papa Huang, who was pulling Tao out of EXO. He explicitly stated that it was his decision and that Tao fought with him about it. However, because of the Chinese culture and the importance of filial piety, Tao ultimately agreed with his father’s decision, because in China that’s just what you do. You don’t go against your parents no matter how old you are. It is unheard of, especially if you’re close to your parents on top of that.
Now, I’ve seen people left and right claim Tao set this whole thing up and hid behind his father, but the 5% of information we have from this entire situation proves to me otherwise, as one of Tao’s actor friends in China made a statement that during the rumor that came out just before the one that started with Papa Huang’s letter, Tao had told him that it wasn’t true and he would make a statement soon. Does this not sound like Tao’s father was getting ready to tell the world that Tao was out and that Tao was fighting with him? Because even just before this whole thing happened, Tao was still telling people, “no, it’s not true. I’m going back.”
It would also shine light on why Tao’s manager went back to visit with Tao and his family while Tao was supposed to be resting. Because they knew that Tao was fighting with his parents so he could stay in EXO. They probably started negotiations as far back as then to try and get Mr. and Mrs. Huang to agree to let Tao stay in EXO, to assure them that they had Tao’s best interest in mind, but parents do not forget and they do not forgive anyone that has hurt their child and proven that they don’t care.
Let us not forget how Tao messaged everyone saying he was sorry. Let’s not forget how he cried on his birthday and how his friends had to send him encouraging messages reminding him that it’s okay that he won’t be in EXO anymore, it’s not the end of his journey, but the start of one.
Tao even wore his OT10 bracelet for quite a long time after this all happened, and one of his first statements after it happened was: I will miss the past, but I look forward to the future.
This wasn’t something Tao planned on doing, it was not a decision he chose to make. Not in my opinion. I have no reason to think Tao was actually hiding behind his dad and I have no reason to think Tao has ever been underhanded. In my opinion, I have every reason to believe Tao genuinely wanted to stay in EXO, that he meant what he said about being loyal, that he was right there with Lay in wanting to find a better way to manage their differences with the company. But then other forces pulled him out.
That’s the thing about life. Shit happens. People say things and then do something else and it happens all the time. When I was younger, I said I would never sleep with a man I wasn’t married to. Guess what happened? I also said I would never drink alcohol, and I would never smoke pot. Guess what happened? I said I would never move back home, I said I would never sleep with someone or kiss someone I wasn’t dating. Guess what happened? When I made those statements, every bit of me meant them and yet I grew and I changed and I wanted to see the world, I wanted a new outlook. The younger you are, the more likely you are to change your mind.
And besides being young and growing and learning and changing, sometimes the world gives us a situation that forces us to make decisions we never planned on making. And that’s what, I believe, happened to Tao.
I also really do believe he, his father, and SM were in negotiations this entire time. It would explain why they were so quick to make a statement about Tao’s Studio. I think Tao maybe was even holding out hope that he could return to EXO and I think the boys were too, which is why it took so long for them to totally severe the ties between each other on SNS. I think they saw the negotiations as hope, because they kind of were. At this point, however, I think they have ended what with SM being so silent about Tao’s comeback, with Baekhyun and Chanyeol unfollowing Tao and Tao unfollowing everyone. Things just didn’t work out, and it sucks, but that’s life.
This whole situation has shown me that a lot of you have really unhealthy ties to this boy group. If your happiness lies in the success of a boy group, then you need to find something else that makes you happy, something that you, yourself, can control. Your happiness should not depend on the success of something that can wither away and die in an instant.
Can you be sad? Of course you can! But you need to stop treating these boys as possessions. None of you even truly care why Tao, Kris, and Luhan have left, you only care that they did. That they somehow broke the magic of your perfect boy group. That they won’t be around the other members now to entertain your shipping or interaction fantasies. They are not playthings and they do not live to help fuel your fantasies. You cannot actively be so bitter about something that, honestly, has nothing to do with you.
This sort of mentality is proven to me when people were on Tao’s instagram telling him not to delete the pictures because: “These are our memories.” No, darling, they never were your memories. They were Tao’s memories that he was kind enough to share with you. He doesn’t want to share them anymore for whatever reason. He has every right to take them down. Because for all you know, maybe they hurt him. Maybe it hurts that things didn’t work out, that he had to go back on his word. You don’t know what Tao goes through, you don’t know how he feels about this.
You don’t know any of these boys. You haven’t spoken to them one-on-one. You don’t share text messages with them, you don’t live with them in their dorms, you don’t go to the studio to practice with them, you didn’t grow up with them, you aren’t their brothers or sisters, you aren’t their mothers or fathers, their best friends. No… you are just admirers. You can only know what these boys choose to tell you, just like I can’t know you guys apart from what you tell me. It’s no different, and the sooner you realize that, the better.
Remember that things always look different from the outside. Tao may look like he’s confident, excited about going solo, ungrateful even. But do you know that maybe that’s his strong-face? What do you expect him to do? After having had to swallow his words due to circumstance, do you want him to hole himself away from the world and act like he hates himself and never move on in his life? No, Tao is doing exactly what everyone should do when their feet and pulled from under them and they’re forced to make a new life for themselves: You get back up, put on your game face and show the world what kind of a fighter you are.
And EXO will do the same thing.
You guys want to talk about double standards, I’m seeing a lot of them. Especially now with this instagram nonsense. First of all, tumblr is the only place talking about this, because blogs don’t publish dates on them like they should. (Tumblr should really get on that) Just now, I checked Tao, Chanyeol, and Baekhyun’s latest posts on IG back to the last hour.
I’ve heard from everyone all day long that Chanyeol is getting hate and Tao is getting praise. In the last hour, I saw but one comment on Chanyeol’s page mentioning anything about unfollowing Tao. The rest was intense love and admiration.
I checked Tao’s. His page was actually flooded with both intense support and some hate, as I assumed I would see.
Then I checked Baekhyun’s, whose was similar to Tao’s and yet only three of the bad comments I saw were about Tao, one of them being them supported him for removing Tao and saying they loved him more because of it, and all the rest were… stupid comments begging him not to work out anymore, but that’s another conversation.
You guys want to talk about double standards, and yet you pull one immediately. Tao has been getting just as much if not more hate than Chanyeol. If you see Tao getting a flood of support it is mostly from Hailangs who have been dying to see Tao again ever since he first got hurt and had to return home way back in March. And Hailangs haven’t been going to Chanyeol’s instagram to send him hate, we’re too busy fangirling over Tao’s solo.
Tumblr is doing more to cause drama about this than the actual anti’s are. If people aren’t posting their passive aggressive judgements on Tao for every breath he makes that isn’t as a member of EXO, then someone else is screaming at the top of their lungs about how fucked up the fandom is and how everyone unjustly hates Chanyeol or something. Those of you who do that contribute more to the drama than any of this SNS nonsense.
Long story short, we are just fans. We are not entitled to anything these boys have to offer, not at all. EXO is a career for them, and if they decide that it’s best to move on from that career or if there are better opportunities, they have every right to make that decision to leave.
Think of it this way, if I were working at McDonald’s (which I did before, I hated it), and say everyone loved our McDonald’s because we were fast and friendly and our food always tasted so good. I had good if not great relationships with all of my coworkers and the regulars, too. But then let’s say I got offered a better job somewhere, let’s say Applebee’s and they want to pay me a great deal more. Do the regulars or my co-workers have a right to tell me I can’t take that job because we’ve always been good to each other? Nope, they sure don’t. It’s no different.
I’ve seen some people in their 20′s all the way well up into their 40′s that have been acting really petty and immature about this. People that are grown and should know better than to throw a fit over a boy group, no less over a boy group where the average age is 22. They are still young, they are gonna make mistakes, they are gonna change, they are gonna make promises that they think they’ll be able to keep because they’re young and naive and then later have to break them because life happens and people change or they realize now that keeping that promise will only hurt them.
If you want to be angry at someone, be angry at SM Entertainment and their inability to properly manage their groups. It’s no coincidence that beyond EXO, nearly all of their major groups have had scandals with members leaving or being kicked out for ridiculous reasons. It’s no coincidence every member that has left has had to do so to maintain their health and to be successful.
Kris wanted to act and I’ve heard somewhere, don’t know where, so don’t quote me on this, that SM turned down up to 15 offers for him.
Luhan was known for having a phobia of heights, and SM cared so little about Luhan’s mental health that they actually had him enter the stage from above. I’m not even talking about him constantly being on a flight, I’m literally talking about SM disgustingly showing no signs of concern for his wellbeing when it came to performances.
Tao should have been the main rapper from the start, but he was always overshadowed by someone else, and let’s not forget that Tao was offered a movie role that was supposed to go for a week and yet SM pushed it back to 3 days. Then, they didn’t even promote his movie.
If these idol groups are made to make money, SM sure doesn’t know how to do it. Why would they turn down 15 movie offers? Why would they cut Tao’s recording time and then fail to promote his movie? Why would they give their most popular Chinese member any reason to want to leave after one of them already did?
You guys might want to pin this on the boys, but excuse me for thinking a company should be held to a higher standard in the way they treat their employees. Employees have rights, you know, and them filing for a lawsuit is no different than someone going on strike and demanding to be taken care of. Don’t give me that: Well they signed up for this, they knew what they were getting into. That’s victim blaming if I ever saw it.
This is the last thing I’m saying about it. I’m so over the petty drama, I’m not here for people pointing fingers, for jumping on the blame game, the hate game, the drama game, whatever. I’ll be over here cheering on Tao, Luhan, Kris, and all the rest of the members of EXO. I’m not going to hold it against anyone for making choices that will benefit them and their happiness. And you shouldn’t either.