NU’EST‘s Baekho was recently accused of molesting a girl eight years ago on a bus ride home from cram school. The accusation was posted up online by the alleged victim and Pledis Entertainment only issued a general warning against false rumors, which didn’t help the situation.
Now though, the alleged victim’s initial post about this incident back in May was found and netizens began to point out inconsistencies in that story, especially when compared to the new post.
1. Original post said it happened seven years ago when she was 15. New post says it happened eight years ago when she was 14.
2. Original post says he was her older brother’s friend. New post doesn’t make mention of that connection at all.
3. Original post says her older brother was sitting next to her when the alleged molestation occurred. New post says the seat next to her was empty.
4. Original post says he graduated from the same elementary and middle school on Jeju Island. However, he graduated from Okjeong Middle School in Seoul.
5. Original post says the molestation happened seven years ago in the winter. However, at that time he was already in his company and would not be going to a fine arts cram school, which netizens suspect is why it was changed to eight years ago in the new post.
6. New post has a video where the number the alleged victim calls appears briefly. Somebody called that number and only an old man picked up wondering why he was getting all these calls. That was pointed out as bizarre since the alleged victim supposedly made these calls just a few days ago on June 19.
7. New post uses screenshots of a chat to show her conversations with Baekho. However, netizens pointed out that screenshots that the alleged victim claims were from the same day showed 57% battery at 1:27 AM and 40% battery at 1:28 AM. The inference there being questioning whether the conversations were doctored.
Note: To be clear, all this is what the netizens are pointing out, not what I concluded.
Some of the inconsistencies are not all that compelling and could reasonably be chalked up to being unimportant or forgetfulness, but the key points for me regard Baekho graduating from a different school and the changing of the dates to facilitate the alleged victim’s narrative so it didn’t conflict with the reality of Baekho’s training situation. Also, it’s possible but a bit bizarre if a phone Baekho was using a few days ago suddenly was not his anymore.
For their part, after the rather weak general warning issued by Pledis, Baekho and the company have now come out with a denial and have threatened legal action.
“Baekho firmly denied all the sexual harassment rumors and indicated that there would be legal action. Pledis said on the 22nd with Dispatch over the phone that they ‘checked with the person in question himself and he confirmed that the rumors posted online are completely untrue.’ Regarding the rumor, they intend to respond legally, ‘The hateful libelous claims will be responded to with legal investigation’ and warned that ‘the same goes for those copying and spreading the posts.’”
Certainly seems like Baekho and Pledis are headed down the right path now, and paired with the story being changed in rather important ways, it definitely seems like the tide should shift in Baekho’s direction in terms of his innocence. It’s an ongoing thing so we’ll see how this develops from here, but the newest revelations in this definitely help Baekho’s side.