We look at some of the most controversial and much talked about incidents that occurred in the Kpop world in the last few years and see the extent of the damage done our starlets.
10: Hwayoung leaving T-ara in the midst of controversy.
Hwayoung, T-ara, Hyoyoung, Core Contents Media
Following T-ara’s concert in Japan Budokan on 25 July 2012 where member Hwayoung had to perform while seated due to a leg injury, the other members posted ambiguous tweets on their Twitter which were allegedly directed at Hwayoung, blaming her for not showing enough ‘determination‘ to let the show go on without major changes.
Hwayoung then posted an equally ambiguous tweet claiming that ‘sometimes, even determination is not enough’ to which her twin sister, CO-ED and 5dolls member Hyoyoung, replied claiming that ‘my better half [Hwayoung] is suffering’.
Accounts of bullying by the other members towards Hwayoung soon surfaced and ballooned into a huge controversy when the group’s agency, Core Contents Media, decided to terminate Hwayoung’s contract on July 30th. The agency claimed that there were ‘complains from 19 of T-ara’s staff members’ about Hwayoung while declining the claims of bullying.
Sensing the growing support for Hwayoung, Core Contents Media released malicious reports about the singer, claiming that her ‘diva-like’ actions caused troubles for the group. Industry insiders soon stepped up to debunk the claims with substantial evidences such as first-hand witnesses’ accounts, voicing their support for Hwayoung.
On Aug 1, Hwayoung posted an apology message on her Twitter to her fans and the agency, pleading her fans ‘to stop [the speculations] now’. The CEO of the agency, Kim Kwang Soo, then stood out to claim that Hwayoung apologized to him and there might be chances of the agency and the 19-year-old resolving their differences.
Extent of damage:
The agency was seen as blaming the other members’ alleged actions — such as slapping Hwayoung and locking her out of the group’s resting room — on Hwayoung by hinting that she did something to deserve the treatment; it brought on a wave of backlash from the fans and public.
Queen’s (name for T-ara’s fans) soon turned into anti-fans and posted pictures of them destroying the group’s merchandises with over 6,000 fans leaving T-ara’s official fan-café (an online community that is managed by the group’s agency for the fans) when Hwayoung was terminated. Another fan-café T-Jinyo, which stood for ‘We demand the truth from T-ara’, was set up and had more than 210,000 members up-to-date.
A petition requesting for T-ara’s disbandment was also created with over 71,000 signatures. The group’s impending concert on Aug 11 was postponed to the end of the year and all other schedules were cancelled as well.
The groups’ endorsement deals took a beating too. Tony Moly, a skincare brand that T-ara endorsed, took down all products and advertising that featured the group while Daewoo Securities and Korea National Police Agency, for which member Eunjung is the solo model, removed her photos. The companies have declared that they will not renew the contract with T-ara and Eunjung.
T-ara Speaking Up about the scandal:
The members of T-ara N4 talked about their bullying scandal and various other rumors for the first time on broadcast.
The girls were guests on the May 6 episode of Mnet‘s ‘Beatles Code 2‘. Hyomin was the first to speak up, and she said, “There were rumors that I was a thug when I went to school. I just hung out with kids who weren’t the nicest kids, but that was it. There are also rumors that I was forced to move schools because I had hit another student. I never hit anyone. I’d rather someone come out and say that I hit them.” Hyomin revealed that she had moved schools, but it wasn’t because she had hit someone. She explained, “My mom decided that I should switch schools because she wanted to pursue a better education for me. It’s not related to violence at all. The reason why I didn’t say anything back then was because I didn’t want people to look down on my friends because of me.”
The girls also admitted that they had an argument with Hwayoung during the SNS controversy. However, Eunjung asserted that there was no bullying, saying, “People might think so if you just read everything that’s online. But even I was rumored to being bullied. To be honest, we had an argument with Hwayoung for about 2 days during the incident. But it was wrong of us to publicly make statements through Twitter. It was wrong to write about the topic, period. The more we stayed silent, the rumors and misunderstandings kept growing. It was so bad that even we were getting confused. I thought I’d lived without any regrets, but I was pained because I felt I’d become a bad person.”
On all the hate comments they received, Eunjung said, “Whenever articles about us come out, we get a ton of hate comments. At first, I just read it out of curiosity… but I can’t read it anymore because the more I read, the more energy I lose.”
Hyomin added, “The worst one was when Soyeon unni got into a car accident, and someone wrote, ‘she should have just died’. There were others who said the entire accident was made up. It was such a bad accident that she got tossed out of the car.”
On their ‘Music Bank‘ controversy, Hyomin spoke up to say, “After we argued in Japan, we had a ‘Music Bank’ schedule right away. It was so awkward. After we came back to Korea, we had a conversation with Hwayoung for about 40 minutes. I didn’t want to have fights when it was a stage we were dreaming of. After Hwayoung left, we had an official schedule, but we couldn’t say anything because of the circumstances. We wanted to say something so badly that it even came out in our dreams. I just wanted to say two things: ‘I’m sorry, and I’ll work harder’. But if we tried to explain ourselves back then, the situation would have just gotten worse. But we really wanted to. We wanted to admit the parts that were true, that they weren’t false, and then take time off to self reflect. But in the end, we just became the kids who didn’t care.”
Jiyeon also expressed her apologetic heart to Hwayoung and said, “We had been together for over 3 years, so Hwayoung might have had difficulties being with us. She probably had a hard time adjusting.” She and the other members added, “If we truly hated her, we wouldn’t have even argued. But we disappointed her and made her feel lonely. No matter the reason, we’re sorry and also apologize to have created a disturbance as public figures.”
Source: TV Report