Former T-ara Staff Member “Can’t Watch Hwayoung Play Victim,” Tells All About “Bullying Scandal”
Ryu Hwayoung said, “It’s a shame. Thinking about it now, it’s something that can definitely happen between girls. Looking back, we were still young and inexperienced. I, also, wasn’t an adult.” When asked if she ever cried, she responded, “I locked myself in my room and cried a lot. I had lost a lot of weight at the time, and my sister, choking up, told me to stop losing weight.”
Ryu Hyoyoung, Hwayoung’s sister, added, “My sister was watching a music program, and she was spaced out [thinking about something else]. It made me think that I should work harder.” Ryu Hwayoung, hearing her sister say this, started crying.
However, following this broadcast, a T-ara staff member from the time of the scandal spoke up online, revealing their account of what allegedly really happened.
The staff member said, “I saw yesterday’s broadcast of ‘Taxi.’ I saw that Ryu Hwayoung and Ryu Hyoyoung cried, too. [Hwayoung] said ‘It’s something that can definitely happen between girls’? That they didn’t know better? As if what happened was nothing? What, exactly was it that ‘could have just happened’? The threat that [Hyoyoung] would scratch up someone’s face?”
The staff member posted images of an text conversation — which have been confirmed as real — between Hyoyoung and Areum, T-ara’s youngest member at the time.
Translation of texts above:
Hyoyoung: “Areum, it’s Hyoyoung.”
Areum: “Hi (Hyoyoung) unni! ^^”
Hyoyoung: “Areum, when someone takes care of you, you say ‘thank you’ and be grateful. If you don’t want to take a beating, get it together. Rumors in the industry spread fast. And don’t go blabbing. Be classy ^^. I’m really mad right, now, so let’s not run into each other?
“If there’s something that I’ve misunderstood, do you want to meet and talk, or do you want to apologize now?”
Areum: “I’m not sure what you’re talking about exactly, but I’d like to meet and talk. Unni (Hyoyoung), I haven’t done anything so bad as to be hearing this from you.”
Hyoyoung: “Babe, you should just go.
“Let’s give you a beating at ‘Music Bank.’ There will be dust everywhere.
“I’ll scratch up your face so you can’t be on TV.
“Hahaha just wait~ ^^
“I’m not going to be a singer haha so you wait ^^ Dogs need to be hit to come to their senses.
“Stupid bitch. Show up in front of me, we’ll see what happens.”
“Okay, you’re doing a gre~~~at job tattling.”
The staff member also talked about the time Ryu Hwayoung sustained a leg injury, July 23, 2012:
“T-ara had an MBC ‘Music Core’ special in Ulsan. That day, after the performance, Ryu Hwayoung twisted her ankle while running back to the dressing room. When we got back to Seoul, Ryu Hwayoung went to the hospital to get x-rays and tests done. She was with her manager at the time, and they told her that there was nothing wrong.
“The next day, July 24, T-ara had a scheduled Budokan concert in Japan. The manager went to pick up Ryu Hwayoung, but she came out of her house in a cast. She was definitely told that there was nothing wrong, but she had a cast on. The manager asked her what happened, and Ryu Hwayoung said she went to a different hospital with her dad, where they gave her a cast. She got in the car in her cast, and in the car, she said she thought she could walk, and took it off. (This is something that I heard from their manager at the time.)
“When they got to the airport, Ryu Hwayoung knew there would be reporters, and she demanded someone get her a wheelchair. But where would we suddenly get a wheelchair? Eventually, the manager was the one to help her get around the airport. She was the most-searched topic that day on Naver. That was the first time I thought something was off.
“The next day, July 25, T-ara’s Hyomin posted the comment ‘A difference of will’ on Twitter. The other members replied, retweeted, and agreed. Whatever the reason, in the end, it was the members attacking Ryu Hwayoung. There are no excuses for this, as it was a public complaint against a fellow member. But I’m a third party. Seeing everything happen from afar, on one hand, I understand why the members said those things.
“Anyone who knows what happened at the rehearsal for the concert in Japan on July 24 will understand. Ryu Hwayoung demanded a wheelchair even when she arrived in Japan, and she kept claiming that her ankle hurt. So we went to the hospital in Japan. Sure enough, they said there was nothing wrong and she wouldn’t need a cast.
“Even so, Hwayoung demanded a wheelchair, saying it was difficult to walk. What happened after is even more ridiculous. To a Japanese staff member that went with her to the hospital, Hwayoung said, ‘I want to get some nail art done. Instead of the concert venue, let’s go to the hotel.’ I recall that the Japanese agency was very angry about this. She knew that the other members were practicing, but wanted to go to the hotel and get her nails done. How ridiculous is that?
“As a staff member, I know. If you take choreography and formations meant for eight people and change it for seven, you have to change everything. Because the empty spot needs to be filled. Because of Ryu Hwayoung, everyone — the choreography team, directing team, lights team, performance team — all had to change everything. Because of one missing person, about 80 staff members toiled for eight hours for a rehearsal that should have ended in two.
“In the end, Ryu Hwayoung only sang one song at the Budokan concert. It was ‘Day by Day,’ the song they were promoting at the time. That’s why the members talked about ‘will.’ If she had come to see T-ara and the staff members who were rehearsing, explained what had happened and offered one word of apology, would it have been as big of an issue?”
The staff member explained that after the concert, when everyone had returned to Korea for ‘Music Bank,’ the T-ara members were sorry about what they posted, and wanted to make up. “Hyomin tried first to talk to Hwayoung, but Hwayoung said, ‘There’s nothing that I feel bad for, so I have no reason so say sorry,’ which cut off any conversation. And that’s when it happened: the threatening messages from Hyoyoung to Areum.”
The staff member said that after everything that happened, Areum, though she also was a late addition to T-ara like Hwayoung, didn’t agree with how Hwayoung was acting, and became distant from her. When Hyoyoung heard this from Hwayoung, the threats started.
“Areum showed the texts to the T-ara members, asking them for help, and in the end it was reported to the agency, and that’s when I saw them. This is the story behind the T-ara case that nobody knew.
“Yes, it’s true. Everyone was young and inexperienced then. But honestly, I can’t watch [Hyoyoung and Hwayoung] play the victim. And now, five years later, seeing them act like they’re taking the high road? I really can’t just watch.
“What Ryu Hwayoung said in 2012? ‘Only fans will know’? I don’t know if that was a premeditated move, but everyone, including fans, only know bits and pieces. For example, Ryu Hwayoung running out of a dressing room. But the staff members from back then remember exactly what happened. Ryu Hwayoung’s selfish actions… playing the victim wasn’t enough and now they have to pretend like they’re taking the high road? I was frustrated, and I talked for a long time. Thank you for reading my long message.”
Statement from Hyoyoung’s agency
February 9, a source from Ryu Hyoyoung’s agency, B.A.M Company, explained the text messages included above: “At the time, Hyoyoung was very young, and because her twin sister Hwayoung was having a hard time due to the ‘bullying scandal,’ she stepped in as family. Hyoyoung didn’t know everything that was going on between the T-ara members. As an older sister, she simply reacted emotionally to the fact that Hwayoung was upset. There was no other reason behind the text messages.”