February has been a very cursed month for K-Pop idols with another singer being caught up in controversy. Seo Soo-Jin (서수진), also known as Soojin (수진) of (G)I-DLE ((여자)아이들) was placed in the centre of controversy, with many headlines online. This all started after an individual, who apparently knew Soojin, made claims of the female singer for being a bully to her younger sister during the idol’s school days.
As usual, K-Pop fans are trending the “ApologizeToSoojin” hashtag after the Korean idol responded to the allegations, hoping that the (G)I-DLE member gets her apology soon. Due to the controversy, Soojin’s management Cube Entertainment has released a statement in response to these allegations.
On 20th February, the victim’s older sibling alleged Soojin of supposed bullying, mentioning how the idol called her younger sister and one of her friends to the bathroom. Then, Soojin presumably made them slap each other’s faces and messaged a group text stating that the victim is now an outcast.
The older sibling then pressed on, “My little sister went to Waw Middle School and was born in 1998. She lives in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. I’m planning to carefully write out and post about the details on an online forum later. I feel apologetic towards the other [members] besides the perpetrator, but I can no longer turn a blind eye to the painful time my sister experienced. The girl who slapped my sister, took her money and bullied her. She is an idol and shamelessly shows her face on TV”.
Then the younger sister, who is the victim of Soojin’s alleged bullying came forward with her statement, “After [Soojin] took me to a bathroom in a shopping complex, she said, ‘I’ll hit her first,” and suddenly slapped me in the face. Then she told my friend who came with me, ‘Now it’s your turn to hit her,’ and made my friend hit me. My friend and I had to slap each other in the face”.
Apparently, Soojin made the victim drink an opened beverage that was left unfinished and then took their money, saying that payment must be dealt with after the victim was forced to drink it. Moreover, Soojin would take “other people’s uniforms and wear them, borrowed money and didn’t return it, stole other people’s belongings, cursed at other students when they refused to give her their belongings, noisily roamed around the town riding behind one of the older boys who had a motorcycle, drank alcohol, and smoked.”
The supposed victim also exclaimed how she went to the same school or academy as Soojin but was absent one day. The idol then messaged her to come no matter what. After refusing, Soojin and her delinquent friends would text the victim writing, ‘*** is an outcast from now on.
Coming to Soojin’s defence is her management Club Entertainment. The company denied the rumours stating, “First, upon checking with Soojin herself on the post about (G)I-DLE’s Soojin that is being spread online, it was found that the creator of the comment is the older sister of Soojin’s classmate from middle school”.
Cube Entertainment then continued, “It is true that the poster heard Soojin and her classmate arguing over the phone and had an argument with Soojin after taking over the call. However, we have confirmed that the poster’s claims about school violence and such were not true at all”.
Soojin’s idol management then gave a warning that the idols will not be hurt anymore and they will continue achieving their dreams. Legal action will also be taken under criminal law alongside additional measures against those who maliciously spread false claims or rumours about an idol. Club Entertainment also mentioned about having no leniency towards the accusers who will face punishment in the future.
On 15th December last year, Cube Entertainment also stressed that they are “a committee dedicated to the protection of artists’ rights and interests and have been continuously monitoring the spread of false rumours, insults, and sexual comments and edits designed to cause humiliation toward our artists. We are working on filing criminal complaints through a law firm. Once again, we thank all those who show lots of love and interest for (G)I-DLE, and [we at] Cube will do our best with all of you for the protection of our artists”.
Because the allegations spread more toxicity online, Soojin had to come clean on the matter. In an official statement, she wrote, “Hello, this is Soojin. I’m writing after thinking about this a lot. When I was a student, I always stood out and it’s true that bad rumou2rs always followed me around. I did dress unfitting for a student and it’s true that I tried out cigarettes a few times as well.
She continued, “I had my problems when I was young, but I haven’t smoked since then. I believe that even though I tried to fix myself, there are things that I did that are embarrassing and that I should be sorry for, and that’s why this happened”.
Soojin wasn’t gonna let these terrible rumours slide and to reassure her fans, she’ll write down the things that she remembered back then. The idol wrote, “I thought that I was friends with the person that posted today. I ate at her house and I even remember watching a movie with her and her older sister. The older sister that gave me advice about reporting to the police when I was receiving threatening messages from a school upperclassman, I’ve always been thankful to her”.
She recalled fighting with the commenter due to the promise she broke, and why that lengthened their distance even further. Soojin then continued, “It wasn’t just once or twice and I remember being angry. I didn’t know she was trying to put a distance between us. So I’m embarrassed, but I remember cursing her out as well. And her sister picked up the phone and scolded me. I apologised to her and hung up on her. After that, we became completely apart and had bad feelings toward each other”.
However, Soojin then wanted to set things clear, that she had never attempted violence on her past friend and that she wasn’t a motorcyclist. Moreover, the malicious text that was sent to the victim was never true. The idol also mentioned that she never stole anything and that she never talked to Seo Shin-Ae (서신애), who was believed to be the alleged victim who attended the same school as the singer. Soojin expressed sorrow if she had actually hurt her.
The idol also wrote, “I really don’t remember anything about the juice incident. But I believe that I wouldn’t do something like that”. Soojin also did apologise if her personal life caused these issues, and to everyone who were affected negatively by her embarrassing actions.
After Soojin clarified the malicious rumours or allegations thrown at her, fans took to Twitter to shower support for the idol while demanding that Soojin gets a proper apology from the alleged victim soon.
Here are some of the Tweets highlighting the hashtag:
Allegations of past bullying against Korean celebrities are a common controversy that could damage the reputation of these icons if not dealt with properly. Soojin wasn’t the first well-known Korean to be accused of bullying this month.
Just recently, Seventeen’s (세븐틴) rapper Mingyu (민규) was also involved in bullying allegations alongside former I.O.I (아이오아이) member Kim So-Hye (김소혜) as well. Accusations of bullying among Korean idols don’t seem like it will end anytime soon.