It is not difficult to put a similar stigma on a person with scarlet letters.
If you are a celebrity with ugly hair, criticism becomes easier. If plausible photos and posts are attached to the title of “eyewitness account”, criticism will pour out without even having time to examine facts.
Red Velvet Irene became “an idol who overused power again” after a photo of her not dragging a cart at the airport was released. There were three people in the picture, including Irene. Irene and one staff member lightly held the cart with both hands. Another staff member dragged the cart with a carrier on behalf of the cart.
Here’s the post with photos attached. Irene filmed a reality variety show where she went on vacation with her close staff, but it was actually a bit of a mystery. The author wrote, “All the luggage was being dragged by the staff, even though she said they were real friends going on a trip together. Who would make their friend pick up all their luggage on vacation? This is really disgusting.”
Will it be a disgrace if Irene does not pull the airport cart? Then, does one of the two staff members also overuse power towards her colleague? The fact that Irene made the staff carry all the luggage does not exist anywhere.
There is context in human relations and facts. A photo that captures an instantaneous moment does not prove everything. A photo is only a photo and does not serve as a basis for supporting relationships and contexts.
Irene became controversial once due to power abuse in 2020. Therefore, it would not be difficult to put the frame of power abuse on her with just one photo. Because public opinion is not good for the case that caused public rage, there will be a lot of people who agree.
The controversy spread 2 years ago when editor-stylist A, who has 15 years of experience, revealed on SNS that she was hurt by Irene’s actions. Although it was not revealed what Irene did in detail, A wrote “I experienced being thoroughly trampled upon and abused”, making people predict that Irene overused power such as verbal abuse.
Irene admitted her mistake and apologized at the time. She visited the stylist who revealed it and apologized, as well as met two of the stylist’s team members in person and bowed her head. She also posted an official apology as requested by the discloser.
Irene apologized, “I sincerely apologize for the deep hurt I caused to the stylist because of my carelessness and immature behaviors. In the future, I will think and act more carefully to prevent this from happening.”
SM also promised to prevent recurrence at the company level, “We also feel responsible for this. We will not forget the hard work of all the people and staff who collaborate with us and our artists, and we will try to prevent this from happening again to everyone who works with us.”
Irene is labeled as “power abuse”. Even when she made a comeback as Red Velvet, she did not appear on entertainment programs other than music shows and worked quietly, away from the public as much as possible.
An anonymous post and a photo brought up the past again. It is like a pear dropping when a crow flies from the tree. Irene just did not drag the cart, but it became “power abuse”.
Posts on online communities that are guaranteed anonymity are a double-edged sword. There is a good function of exposing facts that could not be revealed while hiding behind the common identity of “author”, but there are many cases of making bad use of anonymity.
This incident is a forced controversy. Irene with scarlet letters, it is more of a controversy created by the uncomfortable people who agreed with the photo, the unconfirmed eyewitness account and the comment saying it was disgusting. Actions intended to cause controversy without fact-checking are difficult to justify.