Shin Jimin, the 29-year-old leader of AOA, has quit the girl group as the bullying allegations against her by former member Mina further escalated and more issues of impropriety surfaced.
FNC Entertainment, AOA’s agency, finally broke its silence to announce that Jimin has left the group.
“From this time, Jimin has decided to leave AOA and stop all entertainment activities. We also take responsibility for this situation and make every effort to manage artists better. We apologize again for causing concerns,” the agency said in a statement on July 5.
In several Instagram posts starting on July 3, Mina, who left AOA in May 2019 after her contract expired, said she suffered from Jimin’s bullying for 10 years from their trainee days to being a member of AOA that drove her to attempt to commit suicide.
Jimin initially responded to Mina’s posts by writing “fiction” on Instagram but she deleted it. Mina countered this and uploaded a picture of her wrist with scars, an apparent evidence of self-harm or self-injury. Mina said she got three to four treatments for her scar, which became lighter now.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, self-injury “is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself,” which “is a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.”
On July 4, Jimin and other AOA members, and their managers visited Mina at her home to talk about the issues including Jimin apologizing to Mina.
In addition, on Instagram on July 4, Jimin issued a written apology to Mina, saying, “Although I can’t convey everything I want to express in short lines, I want to send everyone an apology. It’s all because I had shortcomings and made mistakes in leading my group,” according to Osen.
“Guilt and regret are filling my heart right now. Throughout the time being together, I was unable to understand and empathize with Mina. I thought I was careless in judging the situation. Yesterday, I cried and begged for her forgiveness then cried again. However, I think Mina’s suppressed feelings about me all this time will not be easily relieved overnight. Therefore, I am sincerely sorry,” Jimin said.
She added, “I, in my early 20s, thought that our group should show only nice images to staff or other people. However, it seemed I was a leader with many shortcomings in virtue when leading the group with that thought. I apologize for sparking controversies. I’m sorry for posting nonsense. Above all, I’m deeply sorry to the members who tried hard for the two of us.”
But this did not appease Mina who belied Jimin’s claim that she begged her for forgiveness, and in another Instagram post, she revealed that Jimin brought a man to AOA’s dormitory and got intimate with him, Korean media reported.
With Jimin gone from the group, AOA now has only four members: Seolhyun, Chanmi, Yuna and Hyejeong. AOA debuted in 2012 with eight members and other members who left the group were Youkyung and Choa.
The future is uncertain for the remaining AOA members as netizens questioned if they knew what was happening to Mina during her years in the group.