On April 18, former April member Lee Hyun Joo chose to speak up personally regarding the controversial rumors that she was bullied and mistreated by her group mates during her time as an idol.
Lee Hyun Joo wrote in her Instagram post:
"Hello, this is Lee Hyun Joo.
I was frightened, after a series of coincidences came together until my writing this post today. I am still very fearful. Currently, my company has released a statement which is different from the truth, and has taken legal action against my younger sibling who is still a young student, as well as against my personal acquaintances. The parents of my assailants have even sent derailing messages to my own parents.
I hesitated due to the fear that under these circumstances, if I spoke up with my own voice, how much more these people could hurt me.
Still, I felt that I needed to have courage, even if it's for those who spoke courageously on my behalf and for those who have encouraged me until now, so I am writing this post.
I was mistreated since I began preparing for my debut in 2014 until I left the group in 2016. I was 17 years old at that time, and living in the dorms while preparing for the group's debut, I spent all 24-hours of my life with the assailants, without anyone I could turn to for help.
When I couldn't take it any longer, I turned to my parents and confessed what I was going through. My parents tried to reach out to the company's president, but all they got in return was criticism directed toward me. When the assailants found out about these events, their mistreatment grew worse. I was only allowed to call my parents under the manager's surveillance for short periods of time, and as the situation became worse, I grew smaller and smaller. The information which has come up to the surface is only a small fragment of the truth.
In those 3 years, I was subject to constant verbal and physical abuse, mockery, cursing, and attacks against my character. Among those, the insults against my grandmother, my parents, and my family were the most unbearable. The company witnessed all of these events but only stood by and watched; they offered no help.
Eventually, I fell into a dark place and attempted to take my own life, but I don't believe that they were the least bit affected by my actions. I left the team on the grounds that I would abide exactly by the story that the company wrote out for me, and afterward, I was labeled a backstabber, suffering from all kinds of malicious comments and attacks.
Because I felt that I was responsible for causing irreparable scars on my family members, I tried to live as brightly as possible. However, even after time passed, I could not forget about those difficult times. I felt that those deep dark memories in my heart grew into a trauma that would eat me up. I went through a hard time, negatively influencing all those around me. That was when those who cared for me decided to speak up, and that is where I am now.
I am trying to have courage to help my sibling and my personal acquaintances.
Through this incident, I realized that there are many people who want to cheer me on, and I'm thankful. Because of those of you who asked about me each day and showed your concern for me, I was strengthened. I also learned that there are many people out there enduring the same struggles as me. I see that the mistreatment that you suffer in your youth can remain a deep trauma.
I'm sure that not everyone in the world can get along with me, and people can feel resentful toward others at times. But I just cannot believe that physical assault and bullying can be justified under any circumstances. Where ever it may be, such bullying must be abolished. Even after 7 years, I am still struggling with the hardships that I suffered back then, but I don't believe that I should live swallowed up in misfortune, convincing myself that I cannot overcome it.
So I plan to show everyone that I can and will overcome all of this, and find a happier, healthier future. I want to repay all of you who cheered me on with this resolve. Thank you so much for sharing your encouragements and strength.
As of now, my company has forced me to halt all of my activities, and even those opportunities that were sent my way have been turned away without my consent. The company will not allow me to end my contract either.
I can't just do nothing, I have to protect myself, my family, and those around me. I will do my best to respond to the company legally, with those willing to support me.
It will not be easy, but I promise to resolve everything, overcome my trauma, and return brighter and healthier.
I hope that from now on, the rest of the month of April will be full of warmth and happiness for me and for all those who read this. Thank you."