Rookie K-pop girl group Le Sserafim member Kim Garam has gone on hiatus just 18 days after debut due to bullying and school violence allegations which brought her “psychological difficulties.”
However, Kim Garam denied the bullying allegations raised by former middle school classmate under the pseudonym Yoo Eun-seo.
This was announced on May 20 by agencies Source Music and HYBE, which also answered the accusations against Kim Garam.
In a long notice, the two agencies explained the bullying and school violence allegations raised by Yoo Eun-seo.
They said Yoo Eun-soo took a photo of a friend wearing only underwear at school without permission and posted it publicly on social media under the name of another friend.
Outraged by the behavior, Kim Garam and friends protested against Yoo Eun-soo but there was no physical violence involved, according to the notice. It added that although Yoo Eun-seo admitted her fault, she did not receive any punishment. Rather, Yoo Eun-soo tagged Kim Garam and friends as her perpetrators and referred them to the school violence committee. Yoo Eun-soo transferred to another school while Kim Garam and a friend were punished.
The agencies said Kim Garam was summoned by the school violence committee while attending the first year of middle school in 2018 and was punished.
They said Kim Garam and Yoo Eun-seo were friends for about two months from March to April 2018, the beginning of the freshman year of middle school. During a retreat, Kim Garram and Yoo Eun-seo had an argument when the former badmouthed the latter and friends. The issue ended with the two parties apologizing to each other. But Yoo Eun-soo told the incident to her close male friend. Yoo Eun-soo and her male friends threatened Kim Garam with physical assault outside the school. As a result, Kim Garam and Yoo Eun-seo stopped hanging out.
The agencies added that afterwards, Yoo Eun-seo took a picture of “D,” a close friend of Kim Garam, while she was changing clothes at school and uploaded the photo on social media. Five friends including Kim Garam confronted Yoo Eun-soo and swore at each other. Yoo Eun-soo admitted her wrongdoing but was not punished by the school.
In the process, Eun-seo Yoo called for a school violence committee, saying that Kim Garam and many of her friends harassed her.
However, before the school violence committee meeting was over, Yoo Eun-seo transferred to another school at the request of “D.” Kim Garam and “B” were punished.
After one or two months after Yoo Eun-seo transferred to the province, she transferred back to the school next door to Kim Garam.
“Kim Garam was also a victim of school violence,” the agencies said.
The agencies denied that Kim Garam was forced to transfer schools. They said she spent kindergarten up to the second year of elementary school in Seoul. Because of her father’s job, she spent the rest of her primary school years in Gwangju. She returned to Seoul when she entered middle school and is currently attending high school.
They also refuted rumors about Kim Garam including “She hit my friend’s head with a flowerpot” and “She broke my classmate’s head with a brick.”
They also denied that she went to school in a police car or had a fight or assaulted other students, and that she drank and smoked.
In addition, the agencies said it was not true that Kim Garam bad-mouthed other artists, that she was a trainee in another agency and she was a debut member of a group but her contract was terminated due to her past conduct and personality problems.
“Also, we would like to apologize for Kim Garam’s wrong words and actions in the past. It was a quarrel that took place on behalf of a friend who had suffered damage, but she admitted her mistake and is deeply reflecting on her swearing and acting in a way that makes the other person feel threatened,” they said.
They said, “Then, during the process of her debut, she was attacked with all kinds of rumors, which caused her psychological difficulties. Therefore, we discussed with Kim Garam and decided to stop her activities for a while and focus on healing her wounded heart. Until Kim Garam recovers and returns, Le Sserafim plans to work as a five-member group for the time being.”