Red Velvet’s Irene apologizes after stylist reveals negative experience with idol, others chime in

Irene of Red Velvet released an apology recently on Instagram after rampant speculation that she was the target of a post by an editor and stylist calling out an unnamed idol for being verbally abusive to the point of reducing them to tears.

“Today, I found myself in the position of an ‘eul’ (person in a subordinate position to ‘gap’) and got thoroughly stepped on by someone. Even before I met her, other people told me that I needed to be mentally prepared to meet her. Today, I was at the brunt of her electric needles and lost my words. I stood still as if my hands, feet, and brain were tied up. I became a fool as I could not do anything in front of someone that was looking at me with such distaste while shuddering. I was hit endlessly by the knives she threw out with her tongue, and so I cried. I couldn’t be bothered with caring about who I was in front of. I just couldn’t contain my tears. #psycho #monster

The thing that bothered me most is the potential that this behavior was common knowledge, indicating that others have a shared experience. While nobody should be treated like they were to begin with, everybody has bad days, and a one-off issue would be more understandable. On the other hand, a repeated pattern of behavior would make it seem like she doesn’t respect those she considers lessers, which would be harder to forgive.

As far as determining whether such a trail of bad behavior for Irene exists, others have chimed in on the issue.

A post on an online community shared that a video director that had worked with SM Entertainment posted a cryptic tweet, “Wow, what should have blown up, finally really did. Kekeke.”

Netizens also realized that a former backup dancer for Red Velvet had pressed like on the editor’s original post. The dancer had previously danced on stage with Red Velvet for various events and concerts, including their Red Room tour.

It was also reported that many industry workers, including top fashion photographers and other fashion stylists, had commented on the editor’s original post to speak out against the idol.
-“You guys are wasting your time shielding her. If you knew how her character is like, you would never be able to do this. There’s so many rumors about her glaring at everyone and being annoyed and screaming during CF shoots. I knew that something would come up eventually. I hope she fixes her habits.”
-“Seeing this post reminds me of someone famous for her pretty face. I’ve been working in the fashion industry for so long but it’s the first time I’ve seen someone like her. When she didn’t like something she just threw her knee blanket. I hope this becomes publicized.”

A particular netizen compiled a list of industry insiders that pressed like in support of the editor’s original Instagram post that criticized Irene. According to her, the original post was liked by editors from the Korean branches of Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ, Esquire, Allure, BEAUTY+, Singles, and EYESMAG. These are all magazines that have had photoshoots involving Irene as a solo and as part of her group. Photographer Hong Jang Hyun, who often works with top stars such as Jun Ji Hyun, Song Hye Kyo and Han Hyo Joo also supported the post. Not only did many magazine editors support the claim, it was reported that the previous stylists for Red Velvet and SHINee, as well as BoA‘s current stylist, all pressed like as well. The nail technician who has been in-charge of BLACKPINK since debut, Park Eun Kyung (also known as Nail Unistella) apparently also liked the post.

A different comment left by an unnamed industry insider claimed that she ran into Irene a total of three times during various work. She shared that all times left a bad taste in her mouth due to Irene’s actions. The insider recounts moments including Irene grabbing onto her stylists’ heads for balance as they fitted her shoes while kneeling down, of her flicking her staff’s heads as well as a staff being deathly afraid when she was asked to wake Irene up for a filming.

But Irene also did have defenders speak up as well.

“Is an artist expressing their discontent to their stylist something that’s deserving of such harsh criticism for “poor attitude” and comparisons to Heather Cho?
As an editor, an employee of an entertainment company, and a stylist, I’ve done many jobs, and the Irene I’ve met is someone who knows exactly what she wants and has the talent of getting her opinions across.
I’ve never experienced a poor attitude from Irene, and I was even touched by her efforts to thank those around her. I’m just kind of shocked that Irene has suddenly ended up at the center of a poor attitude controversy.

Park Nae Joo of the famous idol salon, Bit & Boot, who also works with SM artists, liked the post suggesting that she supports Ellena Yim’s counterclaims.

#Irene… People have asked if there were any happenings in the salon… Of course, given that they have been attending our salon for a long time, there will be talk~ But Irene is someone that there are many good anecdotes about~ During year-end periods, she will write letters to thank the staff, and even gave vitamins to the maknae staffs~ She’s a celebrity that knows how to thank people~ Gifts aren’t everything but her character is good on the norm too, so many hair and makeup staffs like Irene~ As she is a celebrity that has more good sides to her, I think the situation is a pity~ Irene… Fans know it already but she’s a good person~ I hope that this post, although it is short, will become a small strength to her… #Irene #HaveStrength
— Sookyung from Soonsoo

#MyForestOfTreesIrene Although she’s younger than me, Irene has always been a forest of trees to me ~ I’ve been with Red Velvet for over 6 years, since their debut and we have grown together. Since I gave birth in 2015, there were many things that changed in my life as a makeup artist and there were many difficulties and new things I was experiencing. But Irene, who’s severely shy and curt, became a forest of trees for me that I could share my secrets to and trust she wouldn’t tell anyone.
One day, she came to the salon just to greet us because she was passing by, so we sat together and talked. On my way home, I put my hand in my jacket pocket and realized there was a card inside it. The contents were very Irene-like and she also delivered it in a very Irene-like way. The card just seemed like her. She’s a person that is warmer than anyone. Although I’m not sure what happened that resulted in the current situation, I believe that the truth will prevail. I hope to become a strength to Irene just like how she was a forest of trees to me.
— Makeup artist

Hello. I am Yoon Seo Ha, who has been with Red Velvet as a hair staff since 2015. Through working with the members for a long time, I don’t think there has been a moment where we did not treat each other with sincerity. In this long period, we’ve experienced times of loyalty and gratefulness and thanks to that, I also feel that I’ve grown. Irene, as a leader, gave me trust and a sense of pride to be able to work as Red Velvet’s hair stylist. As someone that has seen her through a long time, I can say that she is someone that gives people a sense of trust and accuracy, no matter what the situation. I am someone that would have quit already if I had experienced any unfair situations as someone that sees them more than I see my own family, throughout the years. Staff that have worked with Red Velvet for a long time will know. Because she is in the team, the staff and members are able to depend on each other and become a strength to each other, beyond just formal work.
Irene, I’ve always said this, but you’re an artist, friend and dongsaeng that has always been a strength to me. I’m thankful every day! #Irene
— Yoon Seo Ha

Depending on what your existence is to the person, what kind of person you are also changes in relativity. #ToMeSheWasSoPretty
— Stylist

Hello. I am Choi Sun Hee, who has been in-charge of choreography direction for Red Velvet, for 5 years now. I am uploading a post as I think that there are too many huge misunderstandings surrounding Joohyun. The Joohyun that I know, is someone that is really smart and overflowing with energy and pays strong attention to detail with regards to her work. As it is a working environment that gathers many people, there will be times where there are differences in opinions. But on such days, she always sends a message first in order to regulate opinions. She is a pretty friend that induces gratefulness and a fighting spirit in me. Whenever that happens, I get the strength to work harder. I hope there are no large misunderstandings with regards to Joohyun.
— Choi Sun Hee

It has been 5 years since I’ve been with unnie. From preparing for the album, to broadcasts and concerts, we’ve been together without rest all this time. Even if it doesn’t seem like she cares, she’s a detailed person that always takes care of the dancers first, every promotional cycle. How many artists would write handwritten letters to each and every dancer that worked with her to convey her emotions? Although I don’t think that I know every part of unnie, as a dancer that has worked with her for a long time, I believe she is a warm person. Joohyun unnie, I am always thankful.
— Irene’s backup dancer

People want to pick sides and make it black and white, but it is possible that all of these accounts are true. People are complicated and somebody treating you poorly/great doesn’t mean they’re that way to everybody else.

Both her and SM Entertainment released apologies.

This is Irene.
I am sincerely sorry for hurting the stylist with my foolish attitude and careless words and actions.
Getting to this spot involved help from many people who worked together with me, but my immature actions caused great hurt and I regret that and am reflecting.
I’ve been looking back on the past because of this, and I’ve felt very embarrassed because of my lacking words and actions and I once again feel how precious the staff are.
I will be more cautious about my actions in the future so that this does not happen again.
I am sincerely sorry to the fans who support me and to everyone who has been caused concern because of this.

This is SM Entertainment.
We are conveying our statement about the stylist’s online post regarding Irene.
Irene personally met with the stylist this afternoon and sincerely apologized for deeply hurting her with her careless attitude and emotional words and actions, and she feels sorry for causing concern with her immaturity.
Our agency feels responsibility for this incident, and we do not forget the hard work of all the representatives and staff who work together with our company and our artists. We will work hard so that this does not happen again to the people we work with.
We once again apologize for causing concern to many people.

Well, that’s good, I guess.

Beyond that, however, this is going to be a mess because of her feminist book thing. Effectively, she will likely be witch-hunted and I already see some stuff popping up in that regard, and anything that tries to needlessly pile on with speculation should be called out. However, I don’t think blindly defending Irene as many already are just because she read some book once is the move here as staff are already disrespected enough as it is and they should honestly take priority over famous celebrities.


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