HYBE Releases Detailed Statement Regarding LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam’s School Violence Allegations + Kim Garam To Temporarily Halt Activities
HYBE has released an additional statement regarding ongoing school violence rumors about LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam.
As soon as Kim Garam was announced as a member of LE SSERAFIM, the member was swept up in school violence rumors, which Source Music quickly denied. Earlier this week, Source Music and Kim Garam’s former school issued brief statements in response to alleged new evidence of her school violence.
On May 19, the alleged victim of Kim Garam’s school violence released an official statement through their legal representative. In the statement, they shared, “The ‘Notice of School Violence Committee Results’ that has recently been revealed on online communities is true. Kim Garam’s school violence is also true.” The alleged victim then requested a sincere apology from HYBE, adding that they would reveal more evidence if they do not receive one.
HYBE released an official statement in response to the new statement, and on May 20, the agency shared more details about the issue.
Read HYBE and Source Music’s new joint response statement here:
Hello, this is HYBE/Source Music.
We would like to inform you about our stance on the additional allegations related to LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam.
First of all, we would like to apologize for causing concern to the fans with these allegations. We initially refrained from clarifying the details of the facts confirmed through the members themselves and many third-party statements out of concern that the identities and sensitive personal information of minors, including those of their peers involved in the incident, would be revealed. However, exaggerated rumors that Kim Garam was a one-sided perpetrator of school violence who was habitually involved in physical violence have been continuously spreading on social media and online communities, and only one-sided information was being released, so we would like to correct the accusations.
Before we go into details, the key points of the allegations related to the school violence committee are as follows:
Yoo Eun Seo (an alias), a client of the law firm Daeryun, took a photo of a classmate, who was changing at school and only wearing underwear at the time, without permission and posted it publicly on social media under another friend’s name (which is also clearly stated in the summer of the school violence committee mentioned by Daeryun). Kim Garam and her friends, who got angry about this incident, confronted Yoo Eun Seo, but there was no physical violence. Yoo Eun Seo admitted her wrongdoings but wasn’t punished for her actions. Rather, she pointed out the classmates who had confronted her as perpetrators, referred them to the school violence committee, and then transferred to another school. As a result, Kim Garam and her friend were punished by the school violence committee.
We will explain in detail the matters related to the member below.
This is an explanation of the content related to the school violence committee.
In 2018 when Kim Garam was in the first year of middle school, she was summoned to the school violence committee and penalized. We will explain the detailed facts because the overall context can only be understood when the situation and details of the school violence committee are fully explained. In this case, the perpetrator, who first did something terribly wrong against her fellow students, requested a school violence committee, and Kim Garam, who was taking action for her friend, was deemed the assailant.
Kim Garam was friends with Yoo Eun Seo for about two months from March to April 2018, which was the beginning of the first year of middle school. However, there was an argument for about three hours at the retreat they went on during the beginning of the school year when it was revealed that Yoo Eun Seo had bad-mouthed Kim Garam and her other friends, and it came to a close after they apologized to each other. However, Yoo Eun Seo reported the incident to her close male friend, and Yoo Eun Seo and her close male friends threatened to use physical violence against Kim Garam. Due to this incident, Kim Garam cut off ties with Yoo Eun Seo.
Later on, Yoo Eun Seo took a picture of “D”, a close friend of Kim Garam, who was only wearing underwear while she was changing at school, and uploaded this picture publicly on her friend “A’s” social media account. At that time, “D” was very mentally shocked, and a total of five friends, including Kim Garam, confronted Yoo Eun Seo about her wrong behavior on behalf of “D.” Kim Garam and her friends, who were angry about the spread of illegal photography of their friend “D,” met Yoo Eun Seo separately to complain, and in the process, they cursed at her. Yoo Eun Seo admitted her wrongdoing, but she wasn’t punished by the school or the school violence committee.
In the process, Yoo Eun Seo called for a school violence committee, claiming that Kim Garam and many of her friends bullied her, so a meeting was held with Kim Ga Ram and friend “B,” who helped “D,” as perpetrators and Yoo Eun Seo as a victim.
However, before the school violence committee meeting that Yoo Eun Seo had summoned could be wrapped up, she voluntarily transferred when there was discussion of a “forced transfer” at the request of “D,” the victim of the photo incident. Ultimately, the school violence committee’s measures were given to two students, Kim Garam and “B,” who had been pointed out [as perpetrators] by Yoo Eun Seo who left the school.
Yoo Eun Seo transferred to the provinces and moved back to the school next to Kim Garam’s a month or two later.
There are many classmates who understand the main points related to the school violence committee meeting that was held at the time.
Besides the individuals directly involved, there are several related individuals and many school classmates who are aware of the key points of the school violence committee meeting that was held in June 2018. Besides the distinction of the student perpetrator and student victim as indicated on the surface by the school violence committee, there are several students who recognized Yoo Eun Seo’s actions of requesting a school violence committee and claiming herself as victim despite her great wrongdoing as being problematic. There are many third parties who can testify about this.
Kim Garam was also a victim of school violence.
After being swept up in the unfortunate situation with the school violence committee, ridiculous rumors about Kim Garam were spread throughout the school. While in middle school, Kim Garam was hurt by malicious false rumors such as, “She hit a friend with a flowerpot,” and, “She was forced to transfer schools.” Afterwards, through mediation from a school teacher, she even received a direct apology from the student who spread false rumors.
In addition, some students forced Kim Garam and her friends into a group chat and teased or cursed at them. If Kim Garam left the group chat, they invited her again, and if she didn’t read the messages, they harassed her for not reading them and not responding. Not only classmates, but several students from other schools who were complete strangers to Kim Garam came into the chat room and verbally attacked Kim Garam and her friend. Not being able to endure such harassment any further, Kim Garam and her friend requested help from their school teacher.
Kim Garam was also hurt by false rumors recently.
Kim Garam has been harmed by all sorts of rumors since her debut, and we would like to make it clear that all of the following rumors are not true.
1. “Kim Garam was forced to transfer schools” is not true.
Kim Garam lived in Seoul from preschool through her second year of elementary school, and due to her father’s job, she spent the remaining four years of elementary school in Gwangju. Then when preparing to enter middle school, she returned to Seoul and entered a middle school by her residence, and she is currently attending high school. During this process, she was never forced to transfer schools
2. Rumors such as “She hit a friend’s head with a flowerpot”and “She cracked a classmate’s head with a brick” are not true.
All of these rumors are false, and Kim Garam was harmed by such rumors when she was in middle school also. Through mediation from a school teacher, she even received a direct apology from the student who admitted to have spread the false rumors, and several friends were present for this.
3. “She even went to school in a police car, and she participated in group fights or physically assaulted other students” is also not true.
Kim Garam never physically assaulted other students or participated in group fights, and she has also never gone to school in a police car. These are all malicious false rumors.
4. “She drank and smoked” is also a rumor that is not true.
Kim Garam has never smoked or drank alcohol until now. She was hurt in her first year of middle school when some students submitted a false report that Kim Garam smokes as a joke. After meeting with her homeroom teacher, Kim Garam went to get a nicotine test with her parents in order to clear herself and submitted the results to her teacher, and she directly explained the false rumors about her smoking to her friends.
5. “She badmouthed other artists” is also not true.
It is also a malicious false rumor that Kim Garam said rude and vulgar words about other artists. Kim Garam has never said that she is a fan of a specific male artist, and she has never had negative emotions or made judgments of her group members of other girl group members.
6. “She signed as a trainee of a different agency and was removed from the debut group” is not true.
Kim Garam was never a trainee of a different agency before Source Music. In addition, the malicious rumor that she was a debut group member in a different agency and her contract was terminated due to her past actions and personality issues is not true.
We previously stated before the artists’ debut that we would take legal action without any settlement or leniency for those who spread malicious claims or false rumors that try to slander them. Of the false rumors mentioned above, we have already started to take legal action on the matters that evidence has been collected for, and we plan on taking additional legal action for the other matters after finding evidence.
We apologize to everyone and ask for your understanding.
The matter that has currently become an issue with Kim Garam involves many minors, so we tried to resolve the issue without revealing the details of the truth to the public. However, at the time of her debut, the situation became one in which we had no choice but to take action as groundless false information regarding Kim Garam spread extensively and the contents related to the school violence committee meeting with one-sided claims were also disclosed through a law firm, so we feel regretful for having to explain the sensitive issues regarding her fellow peers.
Furthermore, we once again apologize for Kim Garam’s wrongful speech and behavior in the past. Although it was a verbal dispute that occurred while standing up for a friend who was harmed, she has also personally acknowledged her faults and is deeply reflecting on that point that she used curse words and behaved in a way in which the other felt threatened.
After being sent to the school violence committee in the first year of middle school, Kim Garam also became a victim who was hurt by cyberbullying and school violence, but she steadily applied herself for her dreams and future.
In midst of that, she suffered psychological hardship through receiving attacks from all sorts of rumors during the process of her debut. After discussion with Kim Garam, we have decided that Kim Garam will temporarily halt activities and focus on healing her wounded heart. LE SSERAFIM will temporarily promote as five members until Kim Garam returns after recovering.
These situations occurred amidst a complicated backdrop during the first year of middle school, but Kim Garam herself is looking back on her immature actions and is deeply reflecting on them. We ask for everyone’s generous understanding.
Finally, we apologize for having no choice now but to reveal the exact situation in regards to Kim Garam and for causing inconveniences due to our agency’s artist. In particular, we sincerely apologize for causing concern to all the fans who support LE SSERAFIM.