Fans of K-pop group AOA break silence on Mina-Jimin bullying controversy

Published July 4, 2021, 10:48 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Former AOA members Kwon Mina (left) and Shin Jimin (Instagram) 

Korean fans of K-pop girl group AOA broke their silence on the bullying accusations hurled by former member Kwon Mina against former leader Shin Jimin. 

The AOA Gallery on the fan community DC Inside issued a statement on July 3, which marked the first year since Mina, who left AOA in 2019, posted on Instagram that she was bullied by Jimin for 10 years starting when she was a trainee until when she was in AOA. 

“I really didn’t want to leave AOA, but I went through so much for the last 10 years and I had enough of her bullying. That’s why I had to give up on AOA although I was on great terms with all the other members,” Mina posted on July 3, 2020, SBS News reported. In their statement, the AOA Gallery refuted Mina’s claims that she was bullied by Jimin and said that Jimin never admitted in her apology that she bullied Mina. After Mina’s Instagram’s posts last year, Jimin left AOA, stopped her entertainment activities and retired from the entertainment industry.

“If Kwon Mina truly feels victimized by the AOA incident, we ask that she take this case to the police, and share with them the countless evidence she has, as mentioned in her Instagram posts and her Instagram Live,” the Korean fans said. 

They added, “Second, We strongly demand that FNC Entertainment uphold its duty to protect its artists. FNC Entertainment is neglecting its duty to protect its artists.”

The fans have demanded FNC Entertainment, AOA’s agency, to “put forth all possible efforts in exonerating the members of AOA.”

“In summary, we demand the following from FNC Entertainment. First, take legal action so that no more fictitious and malicious stories about AOA can spread further. Second, issue a press release addressing the rumors, and clarifying them with the truth. Third, announce the future plans regarding the AOA members,” according to the statement. 

Here is the full text of AOA Gallery’s statement: 

“Today is the 1-year anniversary of Kwon Mina’s accusation. On this day, The members of AOA gallery have decided to break the silence, and to express our view on this incident through this release.

“Our goal is to rectify the rumors labeling the five AOA members as bullies and bystanders, and not to condemn or criticize any particular person. We, the members of AOA’s fandom ‘ELVIS,’ wish to make clear our position on this issue through this release. 

“The following communication is based on evidence provided by Kwon Mina’s Kakaotalk Open Chatroom in which she interacted with her fans, Kwon Mina’s Instagram posts, as well as her Instagram Live broadcasts.

First, we wish to rectify the prevalent distorted rumors about AOA.

Last August, FNC Entertainment (“FNC”) indicated in its press release that it forbids the members of AOA from expressing their opinions on the matter of alleged bullying by Kwon Mina. Since then, for the past year, many rumors and speculations accumulated, and the AOA members suffered through these rumors and intense cyber bullying. 

“However, FNC took no steps to protect its artists and took no actions. In view of this, we, the members of AOA Gallery, would like to take on the role of protecting AOA in place of FNC, and we will correct the falsehood that is rampant in the general public as follows.

1. Jimin forced Mina to stay away from her father’s passing, and did not allow her to visit her sick father

“→ Kwon Mina commented on her 03/07/2021 Instagram Live broadcast that she was with her father when he passed, and that although her manager drove her to her family residence, which is five minutes away from her father’s hospital, she decided not to go see her father, in case the visit would have an impact on her next day’s schedule. No one, including Jimin, took part in this decision except Kwon Mina. In addition, during her father’s illness, FNC and AOA excluded Kwon Mina from 27 events, out of 33 scheduled events, which is more than adequate as a consideration for a teammate with a sick family member.

2. Kwon Mina was bullied in her team AOA

“→ Kwon Mina mentioned several times through Instagram that she enjoyed being a member of AOA, and that she got along with the other members of AOA.

“- Just 6 days before her initial accusations, Kwon Mina went on a trip to Busan with Hyejeong;

“- Two weeks before her initial accusations, Chanmi commented on Kwon Mina’s Instagram post, consoling Kwon Mina and advising her not to pay attention to malicious comments;

“- Just before she left AOA, Kwon Mina wrote on Instagram that she had a talk over drinks with the members of AOA except Jimin.

“After Kwon Mina’s initial Instagram post, the members of AOA visited Kwon Mina. Kwon Mina’s accusations of the members being bystanders started after this visit, and she expressed her discontent at the members’ attitude at this visit through her Instagram posts. 

“We would like to make clear that the relationship between Kwon Mina and the members of AOA deteriorated after Kwon Mina’s accusations started. Most importantly, Kwon Mina herself never used the word ‘bullying.’ This incident degenerated into a bullying scandal, due to the reporters looking for sensational headlines, and the public who did not know all the facts.

“3. Seolhyun must be guilty, as Kwon Mina names Seolhyun in her suicide note

“→ The following reasons were given by Kwon Mina, when Kwon Mina criticized Seolhyun.

“’At the end, Seolhyun said that she didn’t care however this turned out, and that she hated this situation. Seolhyun’s comment really hurt me.’

“’At the end refers to the discussions about the future of AOA, 18 months before Kwon Mina’s initial accusations. The members were discussing whether to renew their contracts or not, and Seolhyun’s comments were made at this time. It is incorrectly known as a comment that Seolhyun made after Kwon Mina harmed herself.

“’Kim Seolhyun, Shin Jimin, and Han Seong-Ho brought one person to the brink of death’

“’Words cannot describe their repulsiveness, like garbage’

“These are the expressions of Kwon Mina in her Instagram post in the form of a suicide note. When the Korean netizens flagged this comment as being too inflammatory, Kwon Mina clarified further in her Instagram Live that she deserves an apology from Seolhyun. As a reason for wanting an apology from Seolhyun, Kwon Mina said that Seolhyun brought a puppy to their dorm, and that the puppy was not potty-trained, which created difficulties for her. Seolhyun also told Kwon Mina, ‘Stay away from XXX (male idol), don’t date him.’ These can hardly be seen as bullying: nonetheless, Kwon Mina’s suicide note was written up as news articles, and Seolhyun became the victim of indiscriminate malicious comments.

4. The silence of the AOA members, and Jimin’s retirement, are equivalent to admitting their bullying of Kwon Mina

“→ Jimin has never admitted that she bullied Kwon Mina. Her final statement before her retirement only included an apology for not having been the sensitive and attentive leader that Kwon Mina needed. In addition, FNC’s press release stated that Kwon Mina’s safety was their first priority. Because of this, AOA members were forbidden from making any kind of personal statements regarding this matter.

“5. Kwon Mina did not file a police report against Jimin and the rest of the AOA members because of financial reasons

“→ Kwon Mina’s bullying case was reported by the public to the Gangnam Police Department and the Police contacted Kwon Mina, but Kwon Mina refused to testify at the police station. Through a comment reply on her Instagram account, Kwon Mina explained that going through a police investigation is costly, and that she does not trust the Korean judicial system. Nonetheless, Kwon Mina acted inconsistently, by announcing her intention to sue the netizens who posted malicious comments regarding her latest incident involving her current boyfriend. If Kwon Mina truly feels victimized by the AOA incident, we ask that she take this case to the police, and share with them the countless evidence she has, as mentioned in her Instagram posts and her Instagram Live.

“Second, We strongly demand that FNC Entertainment uphold its duty to protect its artists.

“FNC Entertainment is neglecting its duty to protect its artists.

“FNC is prioritizing Kwon Mina’s mental health over the numerous malicious comments and rumours surrounding the AOA members, and it stopped the AOA members from expressing their opinions on this matter.

“We deeply regret that we, the fans, must take up the duties that belong to FNC.

“Furthermore, on January 1, 2021, FNC announced the departure of Yuna, together with the New Year’s greetings from Hyejeong, Seolhyun, and Chanmi on the same day, leading the fans into chaos.

“This is highly disrespectful behavior, without any regards to the members of AOA or the fandom.

“We ask officially through this press release whether FNC is still interested in managing AOA, and whether FNC is capable of doing so. 

“We demand that FNC put forth all possible efforts in exonerating the members of AOA.

“In summary, we demand the following from FNC Entertainment.

“First, take legal action so that no more fictitious and malicious stories about AOA can spread further.

“Second, issue a press release addressing the rumors, and clarifying them with the truth.

“Third, announce the future plans regarding the AOA members.

“We would like to make clear one more time that this press release was written not for the condemnation of Kwon Mina, but to correct and rectify the rumors regarding the members of AOA, Shin Jimin, Seo Yuna, Shin Hyejeong, Kim Seolhyun, and Kim Chanmi, and to remind FNC of its duty to protect its artists.

“During the past year, ELVIS stood by AOA while the world denounced them. This is our promise to AOA, who have endured this pain with silence. We will stand by and protect AOA.

“’Always, just like this moment, never changing.’”

 
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