HYBEhas officially responded to LE SSERAFIM member Kim Garam's alleged victim's latest statement.
Netizens have been accusing Kim Garam of being a school bully ever since alleged evidence was recently posted online, and Source Music responded by stating they've began the steps to take legal action. HYBE and Source Music have now made the joint statement below concerning the statement by the alleged victim's law firm Daeryun.
"Hello, this is HYBE and Source Music.
Earlier this afternoon, law firm Daeryun shared their position on their client's statement accusing LE SSERAFIM's Kim Garam of alleged school violence, and it was sent to media.
Firstly, we regret Daeryun unilaterally announced their position to a large number of media outlets despite the fact that minors are involved in the controversy related to LE SSERAFIM's Kim Garam.
We'd like to say Daeryun compiled and published the events from 2018 in such a way that makes their side look advantageous, so we'll compile and share our official position shortly. Journalists should refrain from reporting on one-sided arguments.
Once again, the controversy began with the spread of false information about a member about to debut. Considering this act of spreading false information was malicious, we immediately took legal action, and we're still proceeding with this process.
Though the member was the target of malicious attacks from those online hiding behind anonymity, we didn't actively explain the details as a lot of those involved were in their first year of middle school, and they're still minors.
However, the details in the 2018 case are only being communicated through one point of view, so we'll clarify and release our position as soon as our review of Daeryun's claims is done.
The statement by alleged bullying victim Yoo Eunseo's law firm Daeryun's is as follows:
"On the controversy related to school violence by LE SSERAFIM's Kim Garam and HYBE's position, our legal firm will express the victim's position based on the victim and her guardian's statements and the report of the school violence committee by the head of Gyeongin Middle School, and the messages from Kim Garam to the victim.
1. The authenticity of the notice of the results from the School Violence Countermeasures Committee
There was controversy concerning the notice of results of the School Violence Countermeasures Committee, but it's consistent with the results submitted by our client, which shows the seal of the Gyeongin Middle School head.
2. The details surrounding the incidents.
The victim (going by the name Yoo Eunseo) was a victim of school violence from Kim Garam and her friends from late April to early May of 2018. She transferred to a new school 1 to 2 weeks after the incidents because she was unable to withstand the continuous group violence.
On June 4, 2018, the School Violence Countermeasures Committee was held, and Kim Garam, a student who committed school violence, was punished by receiving 6 hours of special education according to Article 17-1-5 of the Act on the Prevention and Countermeasure of School Violence. Her parents received 5 hours of special education in accordance with paragraph 9 of the same article. Yoo Eunseo, a victim of school violence, received psychological counseling and advice in accordance with Article 16-1-1 of the same act.
The victim Yoo Eunseo transferred voluntarily because she could not stand the continued bullying, but she suffered malicious rumors like 'Yoo Eunseo was in the wrong. That's why she was forced to transfer.'
Then 4 years later, Kim Garam was revealed as a member of LE SSERAFIM in April of 2022, and friends who knew about the incident contacted Yoo Eunseo and expressed their anger. They said, 'How can the perpetrator of school violence become a celebrity?' Because of the constant media attention, Kim Garam was in the eyes of the media, which caused Yoo Eunseo stress.
Then a post on Nate Pann exposing Kim Garam was made, and the content noted Kim Garam was known for her bad attitude, which those in the surrounding schools also knew about, and if there was a student she didn't like, she would get other students to pick on and curse at that student together. The individual who made the post was also a victim of school bullying. Including the post mentioned just now, several posts have been uploaded pointing out Kim Garam as a perpetrator of school violence.
Maybe because Yoo Eunseo was a victim at the hands of Kim Garam, there was a comment made that it was Yoo Eunseo who made the post exposing Kim Garam as the perpetrator. Yoo Eunseo was receiving messages on social media saying she is maliciously slandering Kim Garam or that she is an orc who was just jealous of pretty girls. More comments like, 'She redid everything on her face, but she's still ugly,' 'She's slandering because she's jealous,' were also received. What was worse, some messages and posts even shared photos of Yoo Eunseo, blurring her out and threatening her with messages like, 'Thanks for taking care of the blur. If you stalk LE SSERAFIM, you should get your grave ready.'
Yoo Eunseo suffered extreme anxiety and fear at the thought of someone having the original photo and that someone, whether it's a blackmailer or another person making threats, would spread it through the internet to anyone, anywhere, at any time. She even suffered from panic attacks where it was difficult for her to breathe because she felt like her heart was about to explode.
3. Sending the certified content to HYBE and getting no response
At the time, HYBE said the accusations made against Kim Garam were an issue of malicious slander by cleverly editing what happened with her friends and that Kim Garam was a victim of school violence.
With Yoo Eunseo being criticized and threatened by unidentified people for 'slandering Kim Garam,' she was indiscriminately attacked for the second time, and the attacks intensified due to HYBE's statement. Yoo Eunseo cried and refused to go to school, saying 'I think this will only end when I die,' and Yoo Eun Seo's guardian sent a criminal complaint to our law firm, entrusting us with sending the victim's position and the comments that stated Yoo Eunseo posted an article exposing Kim Garam as certified content.
We filed a criminal complaint against those who falsely posted comments about Yoo Eunseo exposing Kim Garam at the Seoul Guro Police Station and sent the certified mail to HYBE's offices at Hangang-ro 42, Yongsan Trade Center on April 20, 2022 with the parcel number 310410003715.
The certified mail details the abuse committed by Kim Garam towards Yoo Eunseo, a petition sharing Yoo Eunseo's feelings, and the results of the School Violence Countermeasures Committee in which Kim Garam is noted as a perpetrator of school violence.
The victim did not ask for any compensation, but she urged for the deletion of the statement that was different from the truth, to make a statement based on facts, an apology, and simply the truth.
However, HYBE did not reply to the certified mail, and Kim Garam's entertainment activities are proceeding as if nothing has happened.
Yoo Eunseo, who could not endure the extreme anxiety and fear caused by the second instance of attacks made on her, eventually attempted suicide. This led to her and her parents deciding for Yoo Eunseo to stop her studies and expressed their intention to have her drop out of school. Currently, she is being treated by a psychiatrist without attending school for the past 7 weeks before finalizing the withdrawal process. Her mother has stopped all of her personal activities to take care of her and to prevent her from attempting to take her life again.
4. Refutation of the position that the allegations of school violence are slander against Kim Garam
The reason why Yoo Eunseo's guardian decided to file a criminal complaint concerning Kim Garam's school violence and sent the certified mail to HYBE without filing a civil complaint is that Yoo Eunseo and her guardian wanted to stop a second incident rather than receive compensation.
However, when HYBE ignored the victim's request to stop a second incident and when the results of the School Violence Countermeasures Committee became a problem, they repeated their statement that they will take legal action. Yoo Eunseo's parents couldn't tell their child to endure the suffering anymore, so they decided to reveal her situation through our law firm.
In this statement, detailed descriptions of the school violence that Kim Garam committed against Yoo Eunseo were omitted in hopes of a civil solution to the problem. HYBE did not provide a genuine apology to the victim. Instead, they said the allegations are slander and Kim Garam is the victim. If HYBE continues to maintain this position, we're considering releasing the full report from the School Violence Countermeasures Committee, including the summary of the case, the victim statements given during the investigations, and descriptions of the awful abuse not included. Furthermore, we'll release the curse-filled, threatening text messages the abuser sent to the victim to lure her to where the abuse took place.
We must wonder what answers we can give to a student in a reality that makes it impossible for her to move on from the memories of her abuse and is yelling out, 'This will only end if I die.'
It could be that for the abuser, it was done as a joke because it was the victim's fault, and maybe this is something natural that occurs in a friendship.
However, to a student whose friends and school are her world, we must keep in mind it will be impossible for the victim's abuse to be washed away or compensated for.
It's only with acknowledgment of the abuse and repentance that we can prevent our children from being the next victims."