HYBE released a detailed statement about LE SSERAFIM member Kim Garam’s school bullying allegations and announced the teenager’s hiatus on May 20. After Source Music stated that the girl group’s music show appearances and video call fansign event were canceled, the news arrived.
In a joint statement, HYBE and Source Music shared that the information available online regarding the bullying allegations was one-sided. They tried to refrain from sharing details as personal information of minors were involved.
However, they wished to “correct the accusations” as the allegations against the LE SSERAFIM member spread like wildfire.
The statement shed ample light on the alleged victim - Ms. A - who released a lengthy statement through her legal representative, Daeryun, on May 19. It warned HYBE to take back its public denial of the LE SSERAFIM member being a bully. Failure to do so would result in Daeryun revealing the school violence committee notice.
In their statement on May 20, HYBE detailed the relationship between Ms. A and the now LE SSERAFIM member.
It described an altercation between Kim Garam and Ms. A after the latter clicked a photograph of the former's friend in the changing room without consent. Ms. A then shared the picture on social media under another friend’s name. Kim Garam, along with her friends, confronted Ms. A, who then admitted to her mistakes but was never officially punished for it.
Ms. A then complained against Kim Garam and her friends, named them perpetrators, and transferred to another school before the final school violence committee meeting.
“LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam was also a victim of school violence”: HYBE gives a detailed statement as it halts the idol’s activities
On May 20, HYBE and Source Music released additional statements announcing the cancellation of LE SSERAFIM’s activities. Since April, the rookie girl group has dominated South Korean online forums, blogs, and the internet after 17-year-old Kim Garam was revealed as a member.
Despite the bullying allegations, the group continued promoting. However, things took a serious turn, when, on May 19, the alleged victim’s legal representative, Daeryun, released a detailed public statement warning HYBE. They stated that they would release the full school violence committee report if HYBE does not take back their claims of Kim Garam being a victim instead of a bully.
Hours later, HYBE announced that they would post a statement divulging details of the allegations. This report would also prove that Daeryun purposely omitted certain details to present an "advantageous" version of events for their client, Ms. A, stated HYBE.
On May 20, HYBE and Source Music released a detailed public statement discussing every aspect of the allegations against their artist Kim Garam.
They revealed the alleged story behind the content of the school violence committee. Ms. A and Kim Garam had their first altercation in mid-2018. The duo was friends from March to April. However, the former learned that Ms. A badmouthed her and her friends. Their confrontation lasted around three hours.
Although apologies were made on both ends, Ms. A reported the incident to her male friends, who threatened to abuse the now-LE SSERAFIM member physically. The idol cut ties with Ms. A soon after.
A second altercation took place when Ms. A clicked a photo of Kim Garam’s friend in the changing room, posted it on social media, and was confronted by her. Although she apologized, she painted the LE SSERAFIM member and another friend as the assailant on the school violence committee and transferred schools before the committee could even address it.
HYBE also stated that there are third parties who can attest to Ms. A's actions being problematic.
They also discussed the 17-year-old K-pop idol being a victim of bullying in her middle school. HYBE stated malicious rumors surrounded the artist after the school violence committee notice became public.
As per the agency's statement, there was a student who spread rumors about Garam. The rumors were on the lines of hitting a friend with a flowerpot. The student then apologized for making false statements about her.
Additionally, the agency clarified that the artist has never smoked or consumed alcohol. It stated that she was the target of a similar rumor in the first year of middle school. Some students had submitted false reports of her smoking, for which the artist had to undergo a nicotine test to prove that the rumours were baseless.
Meanwhile, the company did apologize for the LE SSERAFIM member's behavior. An excerpt from the statement reads:
"we once again apologize for Kim Garam’s wrongful speech and behavior in the past. Although it was a verbal dispute that occurred while standing up for a friend who was harmed, she has also personally acknowledged her faults and is deeply reflecting on that point that she used curse words and behaved in a way in which the other felt threatened."
Readers can also take a look at the English translation of the statement via a fan account below:
HYBE and Source Music shared that the 17-year-old had temporarily halted activities towards the end of the statement.
"In midst of that, she suffered psychological hardship through receiving attacks from all sorts of rumors during the process of her debut. After discussion with Kim Garam, we have decided that Kim Garam will temporarily halt activities and focus on healing her wounded heart."
The rookie girl group LE SSERAFIM will now be promoted as a five-member group till the 17-year-old returns.