K-pop girl group Red Velvet’s Irene issued an apology after a magazine editor-stylist became a victim of the singer’s rage.
Kang Kook-hwa posted on Instagram about an incident but did not name Irene although she used the hashtags #psycho, title of a Red Velvet song, and #monster, the name of the album of Irene and Seulgi as a subunit of the group.
As the issue exploded in the Korean media, Irene later admitted to the accusations and her agency, SM Entertainment, also issued an apology.
“I sincerely apologize for hurting the stylist with my foolish attitude and careless words and actions. I got a lot of help from many people who worked hard to get me to where I am now and I regret and reflect on the fact that I hurt them greatly with my immature behavior,” she wrote on Instagram.
The 29-year-old K-pop idol added, “Looking back, I am ashamed for my lacking words and actions, and I again feel the importance of the staff. I will think and act more carefully to prevent this from happening again in the future. I am sincerely sorry to all the fans who support me and to all those who became concerned because of the incident.”
In her post, Kang, who has 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry, compared Irene’s behavior to “nut rage” Heather Cho, the Korean Air vice president who went on a rampage in 2014 while on board a plane after she was served by a flight attendant with nuts in original packaging instead of on a plate as she wanted. She ordered the plane to go back to the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
Kang narrated that she was "completely stampeded upon and bullied by one person. I thought I had experienced all kinds of people and gave up on such matters having worked 15 years in this field, but I was wrong," according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.
"The 20 minutes in the unfamiliar room was like hell. No hellos exchanged, shouting in my face with phone in hand pointing fingers while I stood and sat in a chair, blurting out the words. Tears flooded out of my eyes after listening to the venomous words spewed out by tongue. I just couldn't help, it just burst out. Why must I be humiliated? For whom? For what? For money?" Kang added.
Korean media branded Irene’s behavior as “gapjil,” or abuse of power. SM Entertainment revealed that Irene met with Kang and apologized to her.
Fans for Irene
Fans defended Irene, saying one incident does not define her whole character and they will still support her despite what happened.
One fan wrote “at the end of the day, bae joohyun still holds the title ‘best woman of this generation.’”
“Yes Irene made a mistake she admitted, apologized about it and reflected her actions but that doesn’t mean that I will stop supporting her. She’s a human she’s not perfect,” a fan posted on Twitter while another said, “Everyone commits a mistake and everyone is not a perfect person I'm so happy Irene do that and show how brave she is and still Bae Joohyun is the best Leader.”
Some Korean netizens criticized Irene for her behavior. One wrote, What's in that recording that made SM apologize right away? She really must have the worst attitude in the world. More and more keeps spilling out,” according to Netizen Buzz.
“It's not that she wasn't ‘mature,’ it's that she lacked a basic sense of respect. To see other movie and company staff pressing like on the post and leave comments makes me wonder how harsh she must've been to others too, tsk tsk. People are saying that ‘she had this coming for her.’ This will follow her for the rest of her career now,” another commented.
Because of the controversy, Red Velvet will not be attending their online fan meeting slated on Oct. 24 as part of the 2020 K-Culture Festival, according to the Korea Herald. Red Velvet and Super Junior-K.R.Y. are the global hallyu ambassadors of the festival.
Irene will be starring in her debut film “Double Patty” scheduled for release this year.