Both have ‘school bullying’ idols but Bang Si-hyuk and Park Jin-young had different solutions: LE SSERAFIM – hiatus, Stray Kids – comeback

HYBE’s Kim Ga-ram and JYP’s Hyun-jin were both embroiled in school bullying scandals but the two’s agencies reacted so differently. 

“Bring it on and go double” – This is a line of Kwak Chul-yong (Kim Eung-soo) in the movie “Tazza”. It is often used to refer to things that are excessive and too dangerous. In fact, it can be used in the recent situation of entertainment companies. JYP has let Stray Kids’s Hyun-jin, the school bullying idol, return to activities. However, Source Music, a label under HYBE, suspended the activities of LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Ga-ram temporarily. Both big companies faced negative public opinion but they made different moves.

Stray Kids Hyunjin

Kim Ga-ram suspended her activities on May 20th, about three weeks after LE SSERAFIM debuted. This is because she has been embroiled in a controversy over school bullying even before her debut. In the aftermath of Kim Ga-ram’s scandal, LE SSERAFIM faced difficulties in their promotion.

HYBE issued a statement, saying “It happened in a complicated background when she was in the first grade of middle school. Kim Ga-ram is deeply reflecting on herself and looking back on her immature behaviors”, adding, “We decided to suspend Kim Ga-ram’s activities for a while.”

Kim Ga-ram

However, LE SSERAFIM didn’t seem to be affected by Kim Ga-ram’s activity suspension. They continued to stand on music show stages one day after HYBE released the statement above. In fact, the girl group gained more attention than before their debut with the modifier “HYBE’s first girl group and BTS’s younger sisters”.

Kim Ga-ram

In response to LE SSERAFIM’s current status, their fans said “So lucky”. This is because they were afraid that Kim Ga-ram’s school violence scandal would damage the image of the group whose success has been guaranteed since before debut. 

LE SSERAFIM seems to be developing well without Kim Ga-ram. This can be proved by looking at the public’s reaction to “Fearless” stage performed by the five-member formation for the first time. Kim Ga-ram was in charge of many important parts of the song but the members performed so well that most audiences couldn’t feel the absence of Kim Ga-ram. In addition, “Fearless” entered Melon’s Top 40 after its release on May 2nd. The song maintains its rank at No.13 as of May 27th.


It is still unknown whether the “five-member lineup” would be solidified even with the recent good performance. On May 24th, Joongang Ilbo quoted industry officials and reported, “HYBE is currently not considering any member replacement or turning LE SSERAFIM into a five-member group”. Source Music said through TenAsia, “We have nothing to say about the activities of LE SSERAFIM as a 5-member group”. The truth in Kim Ga-ram’s school bullying scandal has not been revealed. However, the company’s position to protect their artist is in contrast to the public’s view on school bullying issues. 

Le Sserafim

Park Jin-young, CEO of JYP Entertainment, decided to resume the activities of Stray Kids member Hyun-jin, who was also involved in school bullying controversies. Revelations about Hyun-jin appeared in February last year. A, who was a student in the same class as Hyun-jin, claimed that they were verbally abused and sexually harassed by Hyun-jin.

At the time, JYP acknowledged the controversy, saying, “There are people who have been hurt and harmed by Hyun-jin’s immature and inappropriate words and actions in the past, and Hyun-jin deeply regretted and reflected on that part so he met the publishers in person and sincerely apologized.”

After that, Hyun-jin had a time of self-reflection. He then returned to work about 4 months after the controversy. Hyun-jin made a comeback through Stray Kids’ digital single ‘Mixtape: 애’ in June of last year.

Notably, Park Jin-young, the CEO of JYP, has been aiming for an ‘Idol with good personality first’. Therefore, it was natural for the public to question the decision of the agency JYP. This is because the singer’s activities are different before and after a short hiatus for self-reflection on the sensitive issue of ‘school violence’.

JYP and HYBE’s choices are causing secondary harm to victims of bullying. Cultural critic Jeong Duk-hyun said, “From the agency’s point of view, if the controversy over school violence breaks out, we have to think about investment. So somehow making them debut and making them do activities. This image confuses the public, fans, and victims’ gaze. School violence is a very difficult problem. It is unfortunate that there is no way to systematically mediate at this time when the K-pop industry is growing.”

Source: daum

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