Update: Lee Min Jung, T-ara’s Hyomin, Lee Joo Yeon, And More Clarify Reports + Apologize For Attending Birthday Party Amidst Pandemic
Updated May 20 KST:
Nam Tae Hyun’s agency has issued a statement after it was reported he attended the birthday party in Cheongdam that has been a subject of controversy.
Their statement is as follows:
Hello, this is P&B Entertainment.
We are writing about Nam Tae Hyun’s attendance at a party in the neighborhood of Cheongdam, which was reported on today.
Nam Tae Hyun was invited to a birthday party for an acquaintance that was held on May 9 at a cafe in Cheongdam, and he attended.
Nam Tae Hyun apologizes for causing concern through his careless actions during the current situation when social distancing measures are in place for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, and he is deeply reflecting.
Our company and our artists will take great caution so that this sort of matter does not happen again in the future.
In addition, the alpaca that many attendees took photos with at the party has been confirmed to be owned by a YouTuber. They addressed the issue after many people expressed their concerns about animal abuse due to the alpaca potentially being stressed in the loud and crowded environment.
“They [the party host] really loves animals and is a friend of a friend, so we received a message personally from them,” they said. “They’re a photographer and they said it would be a simple birthday party where everyone would be photographers. We went because they said that they’d take photos of our alpaca. We wanted to give photos to the fans, just as we always have.”
They went on to say that the location then suddenly changed to a cafe where people bring their own animals. “When we actually went, it was not a place for an alpaca to be, so we simply took photos and quickly left,” they explained.
“I apologize for bringing the alpaca there without properly inquiring about the situation, and I apologize for creating the possibility of misunderstandings,” they said. “We absolutely do not rent out the alpaca for money.”
On May 20, Sports Kyunghyang reported that Lee Min Jung, former After School member Lee Joo Yeon, T-ara’s Hyomin, retired rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon Jae, and Kim Hee Jung attended a birthday party near Itaewon for a well-known individual in the fashion industry.
South Korea recently saw a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases after a patient with the virus visited clubs in the neighborhood of Itaewon in Seoul. This individual visited clubs in the area on May 2 and tested positive on May 6.
According to reports, the birthday party was held at a cafe near Itaewon in the neighborhood of Hannam on May 9. Pictures taken at the event revealed that no one was wearing masks within the enclosed area. Furthermore, an alpaca was also present at the party, raising concerns since alpacas are known to become stressed in crowded and loud environments.
Following the reports, the celebrities released statements clarifying the extent of their participation at the celebration and the exact location they visited.
Lee Min Jung’s agency ESteem Entertainment released the following statement:
Lee Min Jung shared, “I briefly visited a cafe in the neighborhood of Cheongdam in order to drop off a present for an acquaintance. I apologize for causing concern.”
First of all, we apologize for causing concern while many people are experiencing a difficult time while practicing social distancing due to COVID-19.
However, we are stating this because some of the facts have been distorted.
When visiting the Cheongdam brunch cafe, which was the location of the close friend’s birthday party, actress Lee Min Jung quickly left the site after delivering her present, saying hello, and taking a commemorative photo.
The information that states she participated in a party at Itaewon was falsely reported.
The entire nation is practicing social distancing with one heart. Actress Lee Min Jung has been refraining from visiting crowded places or attending events with many people because she is working hard on filming her drama and is the mother of a child.
Because it was an invitation from a close friend, she briefly visited the place since she thought it was proper to deliver a gift to congratulate her, but she also thinks she should have refrained from doing this as well.
We would like to once again apologize for this incident, and we will be even more careful in the future.
Son Yeon Jae also made clarifications regarding the situation. She shared, “On May 9, I did not go near Itaewon. I only went near the neighborhood of Cheongdam in order to congratulate an acquaintance, whom I got to know from my previous agency, for their birthday. It is unrelated to the party location in question that has become an issue.”
Son Yeon Jae’s agency also stated, “Of the members that were reported to have enjoyed the party with Son Yeon Jae, she only knows Kim Hee Jung.” Regarding the photo taken on May 9, the agency stated, “People who recognized her asked to take a photo, so she temporarily removed her mask in order to take the photo,” adding that she wore the mask at all times otherwise. They clarified that Son Yeon Jae left the location approximately 30 minutes after congratulating the acquaintance.
Furthermore, Hyomin and Kim Hee Jung’s company Sublime Artist Agency released the following statement about their involvement.
This is Sublime Artist Agency.
First, we would like to apologize for the careless actions of our agency’s artists Hyomin and Kim Hee Jung.
On May 9, Hyomin and Kim Hee Jung attended an acquaintance’s birthday party that was held at a cafe in the neighborhood of Cheongdam. Although it is late, the two are aware that they acted carelessly regardless of the reason, and they are reflecting on their actions.
We apologize once again for being negligent in managing our artists.
Lee Joo Yeon’s agency Mystic Story also released the following statement:
Hello, this is Mystic Story.
We are delivering a statement regarding the report of Lee Joo Yeon’s participation at the party.
Lee Joo Yeon was invited to attend an acquaintance’s birthday party held at a cafe in Cheongdam on May 9. It was not a cafe in Itaewon as reported previously.
Lee Joo Yeon is reflecting on her actions for causing concerns while everyone is practicing social distancing and putting in effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The agency and the artists will be careful so that a similar situation does not arise again in the future.
Previously, Lee Min Jung and Hyomin had also participated in a “Thank You” challenge to support the medical staff working in the front lines to combat COVID-19. Agencies of BTS‘s Jungkook, SEVENTEEN‘s Mingyu, NCT‘s Jaehyun, and ASTRO‘s Cha Eun Woo also recently apologized for an Itaewon outing.