7 ANS Members Announce Contract Terminations + Haena Claims She Was Bullied By The Group
Seven ANS members have announced that they have terminated their contracts with their agency amidst allegations by eighth member Haena that she was bullied by the group.
Warning: discussion of suicide and self-harm.
ANS debuted on September 16, 2019 as a six-member group under ANS Entertainment, and Haena and J joined the group as new members in late December. Haena recently went on a hiatus due to health concerns.
On August 20, seven of the eight members posted a statement on their fan cafe announcing the termination of their contracts and addressing allegations that they had bullied Haena.
Their full statement is as follows:
Hello, this is ANS’s Lina, J, Royeon, Dalyn, Raon, Bian, and Dam I.
These are all of the members aside from Haena.
First, we want to deeply apologize for worrying our fans that love us due to recent reports.
Since our fans may worry or misunderstand [the situation] as a result of this issue, we want to explain the exact situation we are in.
First, on August 11, all the members of ANS excluding Haena gave our agency notice of our contract terminations through an attorney.
We believe that our problems with our agency are related to the issue with Haena, and we also think that it is our duty to honestly tell our fans the truth about issues regarding ourselves. So although we are embarrassed, we want to tell you this first.
In March and April of this year, our agency ANS Entertainment laid off all of its employees, and we were left without any employees to look after us, not even any managers.
On June 14, our agency’s office shut down, and our dorm was moved from the Sinsa neighborhood [of Seoul] to Gimpo. From then on, we have not had any access to a practice room at all.
Since we didn’t have managers, we had to personally take phone calls and manage our own schedule. We also didn’t have employees to oversee our fan cafe, so we managed [the fan cafe] as though we were employees. Since we were often only offered one car for transportation, some of our members had to travel by taxi.
It was amidst this situation that we had a fan meeting on June 20, and therefore, as our fans know, there were many small and large mistakes made [during the event]. If we hadn’t had help from the laid-off employees who came that day, our fan meeting would have been an even bigger mess.
To share even more embarrassing information, we have been unable to receive dance or vocal lessons up until now. We also only receive 10,000 won [approximately $8.39] per member every day for food, and we don’t even receive that [stipend] on weekends.
We essentially had no support or management at all. Although we asked our agency for dance and vocal lessons, we were rejected, with the agency giving the reason that they had no money to do even that.
Even though we understand that our agency is facing difficulties due to the coronavirus, the extent is too extreme. Considering our age and our fans who are waiting for us, we personally cannot just waste time like this.
Therefore, we sent our agency a formal notice through an attorney on July 22. We requested that, as is outlined in our contract, we at least be provided with a manager among other staff and management, an office and practice room, and dance and vocal lessons. We requested that within 14 days, they provide transparency regarding their violations and take reasonable action.
However, far from taking corrective action, our agency instead called the mother of one of our members, saying the agency had no fault. They told her, “Among the kids in ANS, we only want to take those with good character and are currently deciding whom to eliminate. We are going to turn the other kids’ [image] into trash and make sure they won’t be able to find any more work in this field. We’ll make sure they go home and develop disorders like depression so they cannot do anything.”
We could no longer endure this, and we finally gave the agency our notice of contract termination on August 11.
It is this situation in which the issue with Haena arose.
Opportunely, right after we sent the agency our first formal notice, they began mentioning the issue with Haena. Not long afterwards, they told us that she had gone to the hospital and instructed us to go visit her. Right after we gave our notice of contract termination, Haena uploaded her Instagram post that had the same content as what was reported to the press.
To be honest, we did not have a bad relationship with Haena, and we do not think we had any particular problems with her.
Haena joined ANS in December of 2019. As our youngest member and a student in her second year of high school, Haena still had to go to school. As our agency went through difficult times this year and we had less opportunities to promote, Haena did not spend that much time with us.
The only issue we ever had with Haena may have been that we reprimanded her for not going to school after she was tested for the coronavirus, and that is all.
Someone tested positive for the coronavirus from a PC room that Haena had gone to, so she was tested on May 29. Her test results thankfully came back negative, and she was instructed by public health officials to self-isolate for an additional three days.
However, since we had no agency employees at the time, we had to take care of Haena’s school matters ourselves, so we ended up speaking to her homeroom teacher. Then, on June 8, her teacher called and revealed that even after Haena’s additional three days of self-isolation, she had not shown up to school and had not given any notice.
Haena’s homeroom teacher knew that she had often skipped school in the past using the agency as an excuse. She even missed the day her class took graduation photos with the excuse of a scheduled activity, but after looking into it, we did not have any official agency-scheduled activities that day.
As a result, we called Haena to a café that day and asked her about what her teacher had told us in our phone call. Haena did not give a clear response and only said that it was personal.
We merely emphasized that the members should not lie to one another, to discuss any personal issues with us, and to work harder in the future. We did not swear or verbally attack her.
Honestly, this kind of management of the members should be handled by the agency, but since our agency did not take care of it, we even had to manage Haena’s schooling.
The next day, Haena called one of our members and said that due to her mental health, she wanted to discuss and decide on the matter of her future promotions with her parents. We respected Haena’s opinion and told her to update us after she spoke with our agency. However, Haena did not reply to any of our messages afterwards.
Then, on June 12, she replied to two of the members by saying, “I apologize for being unable to respond; I was going through a hard time mentally. I’ll contact you later when I’m feeling better.” That was the last time Haena contacted us.
Haena did not participate in our fan meeting on June 20, and we struggled to change our choreography to perform without her.
Then, after we sent our agency the formal notice, they told us to visit her at the hospital as if we were the reason she was in the emergency room. We were scared that the agency had an ulterior motive and was planning some sort of scheme [to frame us], so we could only worry about Haena without being able to contact her.
That’s why we felt reassured when we heard that Haena had thankfully been discharged that same day without any particular problems.
Honestly, Haena most likely had a difficult time mentally due to our agency problems and the fact that ANS’s future had become uncertain. Since she received zero monetary support, she also most likely struggled financially.
We do not have any ill feelings towards Haena, neither in the past nor currently. If Haena were to accept our calls or messages, we would want to meet with her immediately, even now, and have a heart-to-heart to clear up any potential misunderstandings.
However, in the midst of our contract termination, the situation with Haena suddenly escalated at an opportune time [for the agency]. Considering the malicious threats our agency made against us that we mentioned earlier, we have suspicions that the agency is trying to use the issue with Haena in our contract dispute.
To our fans! Up until now, we have received an overflowing amount of love from you all.
Because of that, we feel so apologetic for causing you concern with these kinds of matters. We only terminated our contracts with our agency because we had no choice. We’re currently in a situation where none of us know what will happen in the future, and we feel as though we’re standing in an empty field.
We do not know whether we’ll be able to continue promoting in the entertainment industry, and even if we can, we do not know whether we’ll be able to promote together as one group.
We hope you can understand that we had no choice but to terminate our contracts with our agency, even knowing that we would end up in this kind of situation. If we are given another opportunity, we promise to greet you with improved versions of ourselves. Thank you so much for everything up until now.
August 20, 2020
ANS’s Lina, J, Royeon, Dalyn, Raon, Bian, Dam I
Haena’s now-deleted posts that were mentioned in the statement above include claims of being bullied, among other concerns. Her August 15 post reads as follows:
I can’t hold it in any longer either. Even if my life was ruined and I was struggling to the point of death, I didn’t want to cause harm to others. I felt so apologetic to the people who supported and liked someone as worthless as me, so I was being considerate and struggling all on my own.
Is it that hard to give an apology? No, to be honest, I haven’t even wanted an apology all this time. But don’t you think this is a little too much?
Are you really human? After dying and coming back to life, I now don’t have anything to fear. I don’t want to cause any harm, but could you ever understand my feelings of quietly letting everything go because I couldn’t endure it? Why did I try to handle it all by myself? Since I was desperate and I know how it feels, I didn’t want to ruin others or make them go through a hard time.
If I quietly died, no one would know the reason. But I thought that if you guys are at least human, you’d at least live while feeling sorry. I really didn’t even want to wake up, but I feel more scared now after waking up. Since I have no evidence, it didn’t really happen? It’s not that I stayed silent no matter what I heard or how unjust it was because I’m stupid. This is the last time I’m being considerate, so think carefully. If I receive a really sincere apology, I may not be able to forgive you, but I’ll hold it in my heart and try to move on.
Following Haena’s post, someone took to ANS’s gallery to leave a comment regarding Haena’s school absences, claiming that she would tell her school that she was going to work, and she would tell her agency that she was going to school.
The individual wrote, “After getting caught for lying and other arbitrary behaviors, she would cut off contact with the other members. She went to the PC room saying she was writing a notice, but then had to self-isolate after someone tested positive there. Then, she didn’t follow the two-week self-isolation order and went out in secret, while the other members were self-isolating because of her.”
The post continued, “Now that she’s at risk [of having a hard time defending her behavior], she’s playing the victim to the higher-ups, saying she was bullied by the other members.
“After that, she was upset at getting scolded, so she cut off contact with her fellow members and uploaded the post on her social media asking for an apology. Her members are in a situation whether they can’t do this or that. Even though she says she’s going through such a hard time, she’s working part-time at an underground shopping mall.”
After seeing this post, Haena took to her Instagram story to refute the claims. She wrote, “If I said I was going to the doctor for depression and panic disorder because of so-and-so, I thought people would say I was pretending to suffer on my own, so I went in secret. I guess none of you remember throwing out the curses and hurtful comments I’ll never forget from that day at the café?”
She continued, “What do you mean arbitrary and cutting off contact. I spoke to the agency and decided to rest because I was always fainting due to my panic disorder. When I was at the dorm, I could never fit in, so I went home despite my family circumstances because I’m a minor, and they would always call because they were suspicious. If I couldn’t answer their call because I was sleeping, they would say they were suspicious and call me 100 times.”
She added, “It gives me goosebumps seeing the seven of you write that together. Then why would I have tried to die? Why would I have tried to jump, cut myself, and get taken to the emergency room after taking 50 sleeping pills? To act like I was pitiful? What did you say to me that day at the café? As soon as I got there, you told me to turn off my phone. What did you do to me that day? If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve held it in. In the future, I hope you live your life while feeling sorry. I’m exhausted too.”
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