APRIL’s Chaewon Denies Allegations Of Bullying Former Member Hyunjoo
In February 2021, Hyunjoo’s brother and her high school acquaintance shared posts online alleging that Hyunjoo had been bullied by the other APRIL members. DSP Media denied the allegations and took legal action against Hyunjoo and her family and friends. In April, Hyunjoo released her first personal statement about the allegations, which DSP Media again denied. Chaewon and Yena were the first APRIL members to personally respond to the allegations. Hyunjoo has also taken legal action against a former DSP Media employee, while DSP Media’s defamation case against Hyunjoo’s acquaintance was recently dismissed by the police.
On June 17, APRIL’s Chaewon shared a post on the group’s official fan café.
Hello, this is APRIL’s Chaewon. First of all, I’d like to say sorry to the fans who must have been surprised by the sudden controversy. I am writing this post after much deliberation in order to reveal that Hyunjoo’s claims are not true, and I hope you read until the end even if it is a little long.
I started my career as a trainee on November 8, 2012 and made my debut in APRIL on August 24, 2015. Somin, who was part of the KARA project with me at the time, became the leader, and Hyunjoo and I joined the team called APRIL. In 2015, Yena, Jinsol, and Naeun joined the company respectively. After several tests, six members were confirmed for the group.
While preparing for our debut, Hyunjoo often missed practice with claims that her body hurt. She frequently didn’t participate in the necessary lessons, and although our managers tried hard to take care of her, she continuously missed [practice] saying it was difficult, even when we had to work the hardest before our debut. But since Hyunjoo said she was having a hard time, I tried to take care of her as an unnie, and she depended on me more, so I thought we were really close friends. If you take a look at the actual videos and not the ones that were maliciously edited, you’ll see that Hyunjoo and I were always close together like best friends.
But as soon as we debuted, what we worried would happen happened. We had our debut stage on ‘The Show’ on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. As usual, we were going to the hair and makeup shop for our “Music Bank” appearance on Friday, but we found out that Hyunjoo suddenly disappeared. We had no idea why she left, and we had no choice but to remain restless and fearful that she would disrupt this important schedule. However, Hyunjoo didn’t show up for the dry rehearsal or camera rehearsal, and after doing them with without her, we anxiously waited for her to come back. Hyunjoo came to the waiting room before the live broadcast as if nothing had happened and said, ‘I still have to do the live broadcast.’ As a result, we were branded as a very rude girl group who skipped dry rehearsals less than a week into our debut. Hyunjoo’s actions were out of the blue, and we were surprised and upset by her behavior that didn’t care about the team at all. But I thought it could happen once and that she would be okay if I took care of her and led her.
However, Hyunjoo’s behavior got worse as the days went by, and whenever we had to practice hard choreography, she would always say she had things like tinnitus, knee pain, wrist pain, ankle pain, and head pain. When it was what she wanted to do or when the camera was on, she would smile brightly like nothing happened, but when we were practicing by ourselves, she would say her body was hurt and not participate. What you see on camera is not everything, and as members who have to practice together off stage, we got tired of her behavior, but we never bullied her like she claimed we did.
Even during the choreography lessons before our comeback with ‘Tinkerbell’, Hyunjoo would lie down on the floor, listen to it for ten minutes, and go home. The choreographer said that Hyunjoo was not motivated to practice and was negligent and that she should learn the choreography video with her eyes. Hyunjoo went home, saying that she would do that. At that time, even though I endured all kinds of stress, I still held on. I had to look out for myself while comforting her and taking care of her. I was the oldest in the group, but I was only 20 years old back then.
And as per the agency’s management policy, we didn’t have a personal cellphone from just before our debut in 2015 to September 2017. During that time, the six of us used a team phone that wasn’t a smartphone. We could only store the numbers of the agency’s employees and our immediate family members. There was also a call limit of three minutes per person, and they would check our call record and give us a penalty if we violated the rules. However, from some point on, Hyunjoo had her own cellphone, and we could barely go home during the holidays, but Hyunjoo demanded to live at her own home, so she would commute to work. We didn’t know why the agency let her do everything she wanted, and the agency always soothed her and met all her conditions. Still, Hyunjoo always said she was having a hard time and kept missing practice.
You might think that’s why we bullied Hyunjoo, but I tried to protect APRIL by taking care of her more and comforting her. In particular, I was always with Hyunjoo, so it makes no sense that she was bullied alone. In the midst of not being able to do anything about Hyunjoo, the last incident finally happened. In the post that Hyunjoo’s younger brother wrote, it said, “Someone put rotten kimbap in Hyunjoo’s car seat and Hyunjoo cleaned it up and sprayed perfume to cover the smell, but all the members and the manager cursed angrily because it smelled.” However, that’s not true.
I clearly remember what happened that day. It was the day we performed “Tinkerbell” on “The Show.” While we were waiting, there were kimbap and foods from fans in the car. Perhaps it was because of the smell, but Hyunjoo frowned as soon as she came in and sprayed perfume in the enclosed space. It even reached Jinsol and Yena who were in the back. Everyone asked her to stop because it was giving us a headache, but she raised her voice by saying aggressive things to all the members. I always comforted Hyunjoo who was having a hard time and took care of her, but I was worried that the fans might be outside the car, so I told her, “Hyunjoo, please lower your voice. What if they hear you outside?” Up until then, I always said positive things about Hyunjoo no matter what she did and encouraged her, so I clearly remember this was the first time I told her to stop. However, she got annoyed with me and reacted with extreme irritation. Hyunjoo and I got along really well, and I thought we were really close. She always thanked me for being by her side, so I was a little surprised that she got annoyed with me.
Hyunjoo didn’t show up the next day for “Show Champion.” While we were getting our hair and makeup done, our manager suddenly said, “Today’s music show has been canceled. Let’s go to the dorm.” We had no idea why that happened. We felt like everything was falling apart, and we wondered if it was the end of APRIL when we had tried so hard to protect it. We didn’t know anything at the time, but a few months later after the incident, we heard that Hyunjoo went to the emergency room on the day she didn’t show up for the performance. Because of Hyunjoo, who left in the middle of promotions for “Tinkerbell,” we had to fill up the empty stage with a mascot in her place and prepare for the concert as a four-membered group.
Whenever Hyunjoo was having a hard time, I took care of her and understood her so that she wouldn’t break down. APRIL was a precious opportunity that I couldn’t give up, and Hyunjoo was also a very precious friend and dongsaeng to me. Our mothers were also close and dependent on each other. I was closest to Hyunjoo at the time, and when her behavior started to worsen, I thought I should do something in order to protect APRIL and the other members. So I always listened to Hyunjoo, paid special attention to her, comforted her, and cheered her up. I hoped that she could change a little bit because of my efforts. I never criticized Hyunjoo when she was always sick and tired, and I never doubted that we were best friends and sisters.
So I’d like to ask Hyunjoo. I always tried to understand you and do things your way, and you always said you were grateful to me, so why did you go behind my back and turn me into someone who bullied you? Why did you betray me when I was always helping you and taking care of you? Why did you make up those ridiculous false rumors and spread them around?
I don’t understand why she’s acting like this, and in the beginning, I just wanted to die because this situation was really unfair.
So many people are suffering from unfairness because she’s spreading things that aren’t true, but when I see her YouTube and Instagram activities, she seems happy these day. I’d like her to undo the damage now. I’ve had enough of this, and I want her to know that the popularity and attention gained in this wrong way can never last forever. The truth will be revealed.
After reading the revelations from Hyunjoo’s acquaintances, I tried everything I could to restore electronic devices to recover records, including my therapy sessions, the messages I exchanged with my parents, and any other form of evidence. All the groundless allegations against me are not true, and I will explain them with the data later. I didn’t want to bring these memories up again, and I didn’t want to reveal them. Every day, I’m being ruined with the thought of dying. I really want to solve this injustice, so I won’t keep quiet anymore.
I believed that the truth would come out if I waited, but now I feel that I should not just wait. I wrote this based on facts because fans need to know the truth, so I’d appreciate it if you could take the time to read it even if it’s long.
That is all. Thank you for reading my long post.