Netizens have mixed feelings about it.
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Kim Garam has come forward with a new statement regarding the bullying controversy that saw her leave LE SSERAFIM. While the new development has won her many netizens’ support, HYBE and Source Music‘s handling of the bullying allegations against has come under scrutiny.
On August 10, Kim Garam released the full report from the school violence committee that had been previously investigated when the alleged victim Yoo Eunseo (pseudonym) made the bullying allegations against her. In a statement made through a friend’s Instagram account, Kim Garam maintained her innocence, explaining that she decided to speak after being increasingly targeted with negative comments.
But as days passed, I was even more afraid of all the criticisms targeted at me. And if I was given a chance, I definitely wanted to honestly tell my side of the story.
1. I have never hit anyone or used violence on anyone, not even once.
2. I have never been forced to transfer.
3. I have never smoked nor consumed alcohol.
4. I have never outcasted or bullied anyone.
5. I was just a regular student.
— Kim Garam
HYBE made their own statement regarding the issue not long after. While it is known that Kim Garam no longer has any affiliation with the company, netizens have still expressed disappointment in the company’s non-statement.
As we have already terminated our exclusive contract with Kim Garam. We have nothing else to say because any additional comments are not appropriate [given the contractual situation]. — HYBE
As support for Kim Garam continues to grow (with hashtags such as #JusticeForKimGaram and #TheTruthAboutKimGaram trending on Twitter), many fans are finding themselves frustrated over how HYBE managed her bullying controversy, particularly in light of the fact that the company has recently announced legal action against malicious comments aimed at LE SSERAFIM and NewJeans. Many fans have pointed out that this should have happened a long time ago, as it could have helped save Kim Garam a lot of pain.
Now that she has released the full report from her school violence committee, and given the size and power of the company, some fans are also critical of the fact that HYBE was unable to defend Kim Garam better, especially since the report seemingly contains evidence in her favor.
In fact, some allege that HYBE and its subsidiary Source Music, which is LE SSERAFIM’s managing label, must have been fully aware of the contents of the report, yet still chose not to use it. According to netizen theories, this was done for the sake of noise marketing…
…which is why some netizens believe Kim Garam was “silenced” by HYBE and Source Music.
Yet, there are many who are pointing out that Kim Garam’s new statement does not actually say anything that HYBE did not already claim in their defense of her.
Additionally, some are pointing out that theories that HYBE “silenced” Kim Garam for the sake of using her for noise marketing are ungrounded due to legal factors.
While this is still being contested…
…for the most part, netizens believe that Kim Garam deserves an apology.