HYBE’s rookie girl group LE SSERAFIM has not been promoted as a five-member group for the past few weeks. With Kim Garam’s hiatus, things took a turn when netizens found that the live audience on Show Champion excluded her name from the group’s fan chant.
Fan chants are an important part of a K-pop group’s live performance and work as energizers, as they show a fandom’s enthusiastic support for the group.
After the FEARLESS group’s Kim Garam was embroiled in a school-bullying controversy, fans noticed that the people who attended the live performance left out the 16-year-old idol’s name.
In the fan chant, Kim Garam's name sits between Kazuha and Hong Eunchae's names. As per the FEARLESS guide, fans need to chant all members' names in a specific order during the third chorus. While cheers could be heard for everyone else, fans heard a pin-drop silence in place of the 16-year-old's name.
Netizens harbor contrasting views following LE SSERAFIM fans' exclusion of Kim Garam’s name from the fan chant
LE SSERAFIM ended their FEARLESS promotions with an impactful performance on Inkigayo on June 5. Before that, the group performed their debut track on Show Champion on June 1. With the doors open for a live audience at music shows, the girl group performed their best among fan chants and cheers from the audience.
During the third chorus, where LE SSERAFIM’s guide suggests that a full-group fan chant should be initiated — one where people shout out all the members’ names one by one — netizens noticed that the audience went silent during the part where Kim Garam’s name was to be shouted and only screamed for the other five members.
The silence has divided the fandom in half. Some fans believed that it was an indirect message to HYBE and Source Music that they did not want the 16-year-old idol back in the group. Meanwhile, a few believed that they remained silent simply because the member was on a hiatus.
Take a look at some of the reactions below.
Kim Garam bullying scandal
LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam has been involved in a school-bullying scandal since she was introduced as the group’s member. Multiple anonymous netizens, one with the alias Yoo Eunseo, alleged that the now-idol bullied them in school, made them an outcast, and would also indulge in smoking and drinking.
On the other hand, HYBE and Source Music have strongly denied all the allegations. They stated that the 16-year-old was the victim of bullying at school and not the other way around.
After Yoo Eunseo’s law firm threatened to release a school-violence committee report that named the LE SSERAFIM member the bully, HYBE released a statement detailing the incident between the high schoolers.
On May 20, the company announced Kim Garam’s temporary hiatus to "focus on healing her wounded heart."