Following Hyunjoo coming out personally for the first time regarding her alleged bullying while in APRIL, members Chaewon and Yena have released statements replying to Hyunjoo, denying their involvement in bullying.
In their statements, they both accuse Hyunjoo of playing the victim, that they all suffered, and singled her out for being mentally and physically weak.
“Hello, this is APRIL’s Yena. First, I apologize for giving many people cause for concern through this controversy. I wanted to cleanly prove the true facts of the case in court, but I can no longer merely stand by and watch the massive amounts of false speculation, so I am writing this in detail here. Although we all began at different starting points, we all worked hard without resting to get to this point while chasing the same singular goal. That one goal was our incredibly precious group APRIL. Up until now, we have all experienced things that we did not need to experience. Each of us has gotten exhausted along the way, and there were many times when I was so exhausted that I wanted to give up on everything, but the members have all gritted our teeth and endured on our own for the past seven years. Because we were young, we wanted to complain and throw childish tantrums, but all of us quietly worked hard in our own positions without letting it show on the surface. We were all young, and it was a time when we were each overwhelmed just trying to take care of our own selves. Because we’re a group, and because we’re all bandmates who will be together in the future as well, if someone falls behind, we reach out and offer them a hand so we can go together. This, to us, is natural and something that we absolutely believe in. That’s why each of us worked hard and did our utmost in our own way. No matter how hard things got, we stayed polite, we let others have their turn, we left a letter to inform the other members when we were sick, we celebrated each other’s birthdays … we did everything that people think bandmates should do for one another, countless times. However, I always felt that one member was constantly pushing us away. When something happened to all of us, she thought of herself as the only victim, and even in a situation that arose by coincidence, she acted like we were perpetrators. As she did not have faith in the other members, we gradually began to recognize that our many efforts were meaningless. We were always burdened with the anxiety and fear of not knowing how situations would suddenly change or escalate [because of her]. If [people are suggesting that] even in that kind of situation, it is also the responsibility of members who are the same age or even younger to take care of a member who is mentally and physically weaker, then I think that is even crueler. It is not because our members were always physically healthy or mentally strong that we were able to make it all the way here without any problems. Because we are also human, there is not a single one of us who did not suffer physically and mentally. No one who did not experience those difficult times together with us would be able to know the kind of suffering we went through. Yet how are people able to easily speak as if they know us better than ourselves, as if they were there and experienced those situations together with us? Ever since that day [that the allegations were made], we have been silently suffering and enduring on our own, just like we did back then [when Hyunjoo was in the group], without even knowing how time is passing by. How much more do we have to suffer? How much longer do we have to endure these kinds of incidents? Now, it has truly become a wound that can never heal. It truly breaks my heart that, due to something that is not true, seven years can become meaningless in just one moment like this. I am scared of this reality in which I have suddenly become someone who I am not, and things we did not do have suddenly become things we did. Once again, I want to definitively let you know that there was never any bullying, ostracism, violent behavior, or violent words, and that the only truth is that everyone was suffering at that time. I hope that our members and our fans will no longer be hurt and wounded by these distortions of the truth and things that are too painful to even say out loud. Because I do not want our family, acquaintances, and fans who have trusted in us and have spoken out on our behalf to suffer any more wounds, from now on, I plan to endure all the way until the end and make sure that the truth is clearly and fully revealed.”
“Hello, this is APRIL’s Chaewon. First, I want to apologize to the fans who must have shocked by the many rumors that have recently been spreading. I’m sorry for giving you all cause for concern. Because all of the APRIL members needed to move forward together with the same goal in the future, I wanted us to all become close, and I have never once intentionally driven a wedge between any of the other members to make them grow apart. After Somin left the group, I worked hard as the oldest member of the group to care of all the other members and made an effort to ensure that everyone got along. Because Hyunjoo was physically and mentally weaker, I paid even more attention to her in particular. Also, Hyunjoo and I were close enough that even our mothers were in contact with each other, starting from before our debut in 2014 to after our debut. I have proof of this. If Hyunjoo has any kind of conscience, I believe she will remember this, and I believe the truth will be revealed soon. Also, I am truly upset about the false rumor [that I dated] a manager, and it is complete nonsense. The idea that a manager could overlook company matters however they wished is impossible, and our manager at the time must have undergone a lot of stress due to Hyunjoo. I also have proof related to this. We all debuted at a young age, and because we were not yet mature at the time, all of us went through a really hard time. It was not one person’s pain and suffering, but a time when we all experienced pain and suffering together. I do not want to suffer any more because of excessive false speculation. [The allegations of] bullying, social ostracism, violent behavior, violent words, ridicule, and attacks on character are all untrue. In the hopes of revealing the truth about all these things in the court of law, I held myself back over and over again no matter how unfair and upsetting [the allegations and speculation] became. Because I could not act on my own wishes by myself, I had no choice but to wait. However, I now think that I can no longer merely stand by and remain silent. Up until the very end, I will make sure that the truth is revealed no matter what. Thank you for waiting, and once again, I sincerely apologize to the fans who must have been shocked by this kind of controversy. That is all. Thank you.”
Both statements essentially read like an acknowledgement of mess that going on now and that happened in the past, but shifting the blame to Hyunjoo for being unable to handle it and then victimizing themselves instead. I have no doubt that what they say about all the members suffering is true to some extent, but the majority of the statements almost feel as if we’re getting an inside look at how they treated her, so I’m not sure why they would go this route.
Remember, Yena’s sister was the one who characterized Hyunjoo missing performances due to her suicide attempt as basically not wanting to work.
That attitude is mirrored in the kind of callousness being shown in these statements, which completely disregard any concern about mental health, seemingly thinking it all comes down to toughness or something. It’s just … a regressive outlook on things and it is not the effective defense they think.