Park Hye Soo Personally Addresses School Violence Rumors + Says She Was The One Bullied
On March 7, actress Park Hye Soo wrote two long posts on her personal Instagram account addressing rumors that she had been a perpetrator of school violence.
On February 22, Park Hye Soo’s agency denied the posts cropping up online accusing Park Hye Soo of being a school bully in the past. The premiere of her upcoming drama, “Dear.M,” was delayed due to the accusations. Park Hye Soo’s agency issued another statement after one of the alleged victims gave an interview about the accusations, followed by another statement refuting testimonies given by alleged witnesses.
On March 7, Park Hye Soo wrote:
Hello, this is Park Hye Soo.
It took me a long time to post these words. I’m sorry that it came to this and that it took so long. I went around in circles writing, erasing, and repeating. Because it was not true, I believed that it all would pass, but lies kept breeding more lies until it had piled up like a mountain, growing ever taller. I suffered as I watched two photographs that were unrelated to the truth being presented as “confirmation,” and these false claims kept creating a wall of judgment that would be difficult for me to take down.
I know that a lot of people were waiting for me to personally share my side of the story. But the reason that I couldn’t do that for so long was because I believed my words would have no effect against this wall of judgment that had already grown so large. Even though evidence has been presented to back up my words, people would not accept the truth as truth, so I have decided to share this post.
I have already experienced once before in the past what it is like to have people judge you because of false rumors. Therefore, I know how difficult it is to refute each one of the countless lies that come out of people’s mouths.
In 2008, when I was in the second year of middle school, I studied abroad in the United States as an exchange student for a while before returning to Korea. When I came back to Korea, we’d moved out of our original neighborhood, and in July 2009 I enrolled in my second year of middle school again at a new and unfamiliar school. I knew no one else at the school and frightening things began to happen to me that I’d never experienced before.
I had moved schools from Gangbuk, I was a year older than my classmates, and I had studied abroad in the United States, but malicious and false rumors began to attach themselves to these “truths” and spread about me like wildfire. People spread rumors that I’d gone to the United States for an abortion or that I hadn’t gotten to the U.S. at all but had been held back for bad behavior in my old neighborhood, and these lies began to follow me around as if they were true. Even though I only shared my phone number with two or three people, they spread it around so that every morning I would wake up to texts with severe curse words and sexual harassment. I remember checking my phone with my heart racing as soon as I woke up, and crying silently so that my parents wouldn’t hear me.
This was a severe shock to me, who had been an ordinary student loved by friends and teachers at my old school. About a week before I went to the United States, even though it was not a school day, my homeroom teacher and my classmates held a surprise farewell party for me. I was so happy and took photos with my friends and blew out the candles on a cake. I suffered while wondering how someone who had been so happy at school could come to a new neighborhood and be subjected to this treatment, and not knowing who to blame. It was really difficult to endure bullying that was happening for no reason I could explain, but I also couldn’t speak to my parents about it, who had been firm about moving for the sake of my education. I couldn’t speak to anyone about it and suffered alone.
The bullying grew worse and worse. I would be eating lunch when someone would flip over my tray and I’d get stains on my uniform. I’d walk down the hall and someone would shove me or curse at me behind my back. I’d get called out to the third years’ hallway and be told that it was “just because I don’t like the look of you.’ I’d get hit on the head while many students watched and be told, “I just want to hit you. Even if you were in your third year, I’d hit you.”
However, the reason that I could endure even in that situation was because there were several warm friends who reached out to me despite the fact that I was being bullied. Even though there were all these rumors and judgments about me, these friends saw me and liked me for who I was. Because of them, my school life improved little by little. Nonetheless, I was deeply hurt by the bullying and went to psychological counseling for three years. Regular counseling helped me get over these scars, and I was able to set my head straight after hating myself and turning all my bitterness toward the bullies against myself for so long.
The person who is calling themselves a victim now is the same person who flipped over my lunch tray and cursed at me when I first transferred schools. After those incidents, we became closer during our third year of middle school. During the time that we were friends, and even up until this year, although we had stopped keeping in touch with each other, that person considered everything that happened between us to be part of childhood friendship. Although the situation has gone as far as this and there is no longer any choice but to take this to the law, it pains me deeply to think of how it’s turned out between me and someone who was at least once my friend.
That person’s friends have come to my Instagram account and commented lies, spreading these lies even further. The anonymous posts going around online are from screenshots taken from these Instagram accounts. These stories whose position and source cannot be verified are spreading online as if they were all true.
I want to ask that person who keeps spreading unreliable, constantly-changing lies about me just to ruin me, first through Instagram comments and subsequently twice in interviews: Why did you have to go this far? What do you have to gain from this? Even if you’re acting like this out of hopes that I’ll break and fall apart, I won’t be shaken. Even if it takes months, the truth will be revealed.
Just like what I’ve said above, the “victim group chat” where dozens of people have allegedly gathered is based on lies. We are getting information about that group chat and who belongs to it now. At the moment, it feels pointless to give a detailed statement about all the false gossip spreading about me, so we will take action from now on without waiting or compromise.
Through this, I have come face-to-face with my younger self who had been hidden deep inside me, who had been badly hurt by rumors and bullying. If I hadn’t chosen a job that puts me in the public spotlight, it may have been that I would also have wanted to share these terrible and difficult memories with someone else. But I would like people to remember that false claims and the reckless criticism that follows is also an assault on someone else. I had concrete evidence of the past mistakes made by those who call themselves the victims, but I did not want to make them public because I believed that also to be a form of assault.
I am so, so sorry to KBS and all the staff, cast, and crew of ‘Dear.M,’ who have suffered harm because of me.
I am also deeply grateful to those who kept supporting me and cheering me on even though I wasn’t able to speak for a long time. Because of you, I was able to examine the situation clearly despite the pain and prepare carefully for what comes next. Even if it takes a long time, I believe that the truth will slowly, one by one, come to light, and all this will pass. I beg that in future, people will learn to see the truth for what it is. This was a very long post… Thank you for reading.