ILUV’s Agency Releases Official Statement About Former Member Minah’s Accusations + Minah Responds
ILUV’s agency, WKS ENE, has released a detailed statement in response to former ILUV member Minah’s accusations about harassment from the other members.
Warning: discussion of suicide.
Minah joined ILUV in November 2019 and promoted the song “Open the Door” before leaving the group. She recently came forward to accuse her fellow ILUV members of harassing her, including hitting her, forcing her to take off her clothes, blowing cigarette smoke in her face, and more. She also said that she is suffering from depression, panic disorder, and insomnia due to the members’ actions and said that she recently made an attempt to take her own life. WKS ENE denied these claims and shared plans to take legal action, and Minah countered by saying that everyone at the agency had known about the harassment.
Later, the issue was covered on SBS’s “E-news Exclusive.” WKS ENE said they had evidence in the form of screenshots of KakaoTalk conversations, and Minah responded to each piece of evidence with her own side of the story. On the show, a source from the agency denied all Minah’s claims, while Minah’s lawyer said that she had evidence to prove harassment if the case went to court.
On July 23, WKS ENE released an official statement about the issue.
Hello, this is ILUV’s agency, WKS ENE. We are releasing an official statement about the issue of former ILUV member Minah, which was covered on the July 22 broadcast of SBS’s “E-News Exclusive.”
All of Minah’s claims, which are currently circulating on YouTube and social media, are false. The former six members of ILUV have received a serious shock that has affected their physical and mental health to the point of vomiting. We intend to file a civil suit against Minah.
None of what Shin Minah has said is true. The agency, the members, and their families are deeply upset at this injustice. Because of one person’s false statements, many people are suffering and being hurt. The agency thought of Minah as family, so we planned not to respond in order to keep this situation from getting out of hand.
It was because we were worried that she would make a terrible decision again if her true self were revealed through our response. But she kept sharing her posts, and these posts spread throughout Korea and abroad, and we became the target of unspeakably abusive language as a result of misunderstandings. The former ILUV members were having a hard time, and the soon-to-be BOTOPASS members were also experiencing severe stress and nausea, and we decided that we had to issue a response.
Currently, we have received the typical certification of contents to cancel her contract from Shin Minah, but the contract has not yet been terminated. She is sharing her story through DMs (direct messages) with her fans, and those fans are spreading the story on social media. The agency has stated that her stories are false, but she continues to make her claims by using fan letters as proof of bullying.
According to the members’ testimonies, the members found out about Minah’s insomnia after she told Sooyeon that she was suffering from it at the end of November and the beginning of December. In mid-December, Minah’s father requested that she commute from home instead of the dorm because of her severe atopy and a childhood trauma in which a thief robbed her home.
The following is our response to Minah’s claims about harassment.
She said that she was directly harassed by the other six members, but this is far from the truth. There were no members that were on bad terms with Minah, and the members took care of her and were respectful of her. This is a shocking and painful thing to say, and as an agency, we cannot forgive spreading a story like this.
She also stated something absurd about the youngest member, who was in her teens. In a conversation she had with her fans in DMs, she said that the member in question drank often, slept with men more than ten years older, and went to nightclubs. There was only one member younger than Minah in the team and she was a minor. Now she is being treated as an immoral person, even though she is only 19 (Korean age) and not yet a legal adult.
Gahyun (the member in question) said, “I was the only person in the team who was younger than Minah. I’m a minor and I can’t go to nightclubs. I really did not go to those places. I don’t know how she could spread those stories through Twitter and DMs with fans. My younger sibling heard what she said from somewhere else, and I’m scared that people will know me as that kind of person. It’s so hard and I want to die.”
This is not just about the youngest member. All of the members are being painted as a gang of immoral people. Claims of sexual harassment? Claims that the members forced her to watch videos of sexual intercourse? We are furious about these claims. This did not happen. Minah had said that she had never dated and often expressed envy of the members who had boyfriends. She asked the members several questions about dating and the relationship between men and women.
There was never incidents in which she was forced to watch videos of sexual encounters or had her clothes taken off. In fact, Minah was the type to engage in the kind of teasing where you touch and pinch the other person’s sensitive areas. She would often touch the other members’ rears, and put her own rear on other people’s hands when posing for photos. Some members told her clearly that they did not want her to do this, but there were also members who put up with it so as not to hurt her feelings. The members did not sexually harass Minah, but rather put up with her own embarrassing behavior.
Minah has made it seem like she followed all the rules while the other members went out as they pleased and did whatever they wanted. The agency gave the members free time when their training time was over. The agency was aware that the members, including Minah, would sometimes go out without permission. However, the life of a trainee is difficult and frustrating, so it was something we turned a blind eye to. It was not a frequent occurrence like Minah said. The members are in a serious state right now because they have been made into not only the culprits of bullying, but also painted as people who engage in verbal abuse, sexual harassment, excessive drinking, staying out all night, and harassing their colleagues.
The following is about the fan letters that have been presented as evidence of harassment. Minah said that she had found fan letters sent by ILUV fans in the trash, suggesting that the members looked down on their fans. This is not true. On January 8, the agency delivered the first fan letters to the members. Minah was on a break starting January 6, so the members expressed their gratitude through photos and videos without her so as not to be late in acknowledging the fans.
We can still vividly remember the ILUV members’ happiness at receiving the fan letters. The fan letters in question were not directly addressed to Minah, but to the team in general, so the members discussed who would get to keep them. The letters were put up on the wall of the room that Minah and Cui Xiang shared. The members all knew about this. They were not very famous at the time, so they didn’t get many fan letters, but they treasured the ones they received with gratitude.
It is absolutely false that she picked them up from the trash. Minah arrived at the dorm on January 12 to pick up her luggage. The cleaning woman empties the garbage every day, so if they were tossed in the trash, they would have been gone before she arrived. Since they had been pasted on the wall before they vanished, it was assumed that Minah had taken them on the day she came on the dorm. The members are grateful for the love of their fans, and treasure their letters. The fan letters that Minah submitted as proof were the first letters that arrived for the team from a fan called Yoshiteru. He is a fan who sends each of the ILUV members fan letters on their birthday. The ILUV members are grateful to him and treasure the letters he sent them.
We have released this statement in order to prevent our artists’ reputation from defamation through Minah’s accusations. On this same day, we received a message that seemed to mock the agency. We will correct the parts that are not true. After claiming she was harassed by the other six members, she changed her statement to say that she had not mentioned Sooyeon. When the agency set the schedule for the second half of the year, we asked her to participate in an interview for the chance to debut in the new project BOTOPASS. She said that she wanted to rest until the fall because she didn’t feel well, and we allowed her to work as a YouTuber as she wanted.
However, we prohibited her from using official content related to the agency or about the members. She has claimed that we contacted her to keep everything confidential, but that was about the termination of her contract. The confidentiality agreement was a written oath that is part of the conditions for canceling a contract under the standard cultural artist contract. (This is an article that was included when the contract was initially signed.) It is a typical method for protecting the agency artists and the agency’s business interests. It was not designed to conceal the truth. The written oath, which was given as part of the condition for canceling the contract without penalty or other provisions, was invoked after Minah posted her false stories about harassment in order to protect the ILUV members and their personal information. We cannot understand her behavior in riling up the masses by claiming that someone called her to ask her to keep her secrets.
In a moment, the members have become labeled as bullies, a 19-year-old minor has been labeled as an immoral person, and the trainees who have been looking for a new path after being eliminated from auditions have had their feet tied before they could make a new start. The members who passed their auditions fairly have also been deeply hurt by these stories before they could make their debut on August 4. They are suffering from mental shock, insomnia, and even nausea.
This is a difficult situation for the agency staff and the members and the members’ families. We cannot endure this situation any longer. We ask that Shin Minah acknowledge that her stories are not true and issue a sincere apology to the agency, the members, their families, and their fans, and return everything to normal.
In an interview with OSEN, a source from WKS ENE stated that they planned to file the lawsuit either today or on July 24.
OSEN asked Shin Minah for a response, and she stated, “I am dumbfounded. I was also thinking of legal action, so this hasn’t changed my mind at all, but I’m just dumbfounded.” Her lawyer, Kim Ho In, stated, “Our position on responding to whatever legal action might be taken has not changed. Shin Minah has evidence of conflict with the members as well as the agency’s negligence. The contract was terminated because the agency violated its duties. We didn’t ask for their agreement. At first, the agency agreed to terminate the contract without penalties, but suggested a written oath to keep confidential about the conditions of the termination instead. Shin Minah did not agree to that condition. She said that she would not terminate the contract under those conditions.”
WKS ENE is preparing to debut a new girl group called BOTOPASS in August, which contains some members of ILUV.
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