Following DSP Media‘s defamation lawsuits against Hyunjoo‘s family and acquaintance being dismissed, members Naeun and Jinsol released statements vaguely denying bullying allegations, Naeun’s sister then stepped in to defend her and may have had that backfire, then Naeun’s sister herself was accused of being a bully.
Got that? Alright, well, now Chaewon has followed up after her previous denial of bullying (the one where she and Yena claimed Hyunjoo was mentally and physically weak) by posting a long statement to their fancafe. You can (and should, if you want to comment on this mess) read it in full here, but I’ll try to make a recap just so the entire page isn’t a wall of text.
Basically, Chaewon states that Hyunjoo always complained about how hard practice was and constantly missed practices. She describes a time in 2015 when she claims Hyunjoo ghosted them before a music show performance and thus they were given a reputation as a rude girl group. From there, she says Hyunjoo’s behavior got worse, and also denies bullying her. She claims that Hyunjoo was allowed to use a personal cell when others weren’t, and was allowed to commute from home when they weren’t. She says they didn’t know why Hyunjoo got preferential treatment and that she missed practices anyway.
Chaewon then talks about the kimbap incident, saying that Hyunjoo was the aggressor in the end. Chaewon also talks about Hyunjoo going to the emergency room suddenly, saying they had no idea what was going on and they had to perform and prepare without her. She then writes to Hyunjoo directly, asking her why she’s lying and states that the truth prevails in the end. Chaewon says that after everything came out she went to track down evidence and claims she will prove things.
Soon after it was posted, netizens pointed out that in the instances Chaewon provided specific details, she got things wrong.
Fans pointed out that firstly, on August 25, 2015, the schedule was for Music Bank and not The Show as Chaewon had stated. Fans also pointed out that Chaewon had stated Hyunjoo disappeared as they were on the way to the shop (salon). However, according to an “on the way to work” video taken by a reporter outside the Music Bank building, all the girls including Hyunjoo had shown up in full hair and makeup for morning rehearsals.
Video was found.
Chaewon then edited the statement.
“There is something to correct so I will be speaking. The day Hyunjoo did not turn up for the dry and camera rehearsals was September 11, 2015, at Music Bank. As it is something that happened a long time ago, I mistook it for a date about a week earlier as we had performed in those outfits. As I recall it accurately now, I am correcting (the post). I apologize for confusing you all. I will be attaching a reporter’s photo.”
Netizens then pointed out that because that’s a later date, it conflicts with her claim that Hyunjoo ruined the group’s reputation.
“Because of this, we were remembered as the first girl group who debuted less than a week to skip out on rehearsals and became known as the rude girl group in just one week.”
Additionally, according to the group’s Twitter, she was around on that date as well.
Chaewon clarified again.
“I’ve already spoken about the parts that were raising suspicions but after the music show’s dry rehearsal and camera rehearsal, we are given some time in the waiting room because the live broadcast. We can spend over 1 hour waiting. I was referring to the dry rehearsal and the camera rehearsal when I mentioned that Hyunjoo wasn’t showing up and we had to perform as 5 people. I think everyone is aware that it doesn’t take an eternity to take a selca. Moreover, I’m not talking about the Music Bank selca, but I’ll talk about the waiting room picture we took on September 11th of 2015 at Simply KPOP, it’s possible that nobody knows how it works. You have to pre-record every Monday, every other week, which is Twice a month for Simply KPOP. That picture was a picture that was already taken on Monday.”
While there’s not enough to dismiss everything Chaewon said in the statement, this was clearly something that was planned out as a counter, so to get the few specifics one can verify wrong immediately is not great.
Obviously if everything Chaewon is saying here is true, then I think the situation would be more a case of a toxic work environment leading to mutual disagreements and dislike, and that Hyunjoo perhaps made something of this that it wasn’t. It’s K-pop, so putting the onus of most everything in this on DSP is legit regardless of outcome, really.
That said, other than whatever falsifiable info netizens found, some of the story doesn’t match up for me. The narrative is still bizarre. DSP themselves don’t really deny that all the APRIL members suffered and that the group had conflicts with Hyunjoo, rather the stance from the start is just basically that it wasn’t one-sided. Yet a lot of the things Hyunjoo and her brother have alleged in their statements have not been disputed, in fact some have been confirmed by them to an extent. Then statements like Chaewon’s mainly describe their resentment towards Hyunjoo, which kinda works against their goals.
Meanwhile, there have been inconsistencies exposed (like Yena’s sister saying she blew off practice when it was proved to be a suicide attempt), which is the primary thing that gives me pause about their side. It’s kinda weird how everybody involved in this continues to talk about Hyunjoo always going to the hospital as if they absolutely resented her for it, while also trying to claim that they treated her like a sister. Like this is not how I would recall an event where a member I loved like a sister went to the emergency room. I dunno.
“Hyunjoo didn’t show up the next day for ‘Show Champion.’ While we were getting our hair and makeup done, our manager suddenly said, ‘Today’s music show has been canceled. Let’s go to the dorm.’ We had no idea why that happened. We felt like everything was falling apart, and we wondered if it was the end of APRIL when we had tried so hard to protect it. We didn’t know anything at the time, but a few months later after the incident, we heard that Hyunjoo went to the emergency room on the day she didn’t show up for the performance. Because of Hyunjoo, who left in the middle of promotions for ‘Tinkerbell,’ we had to fill up the empty stage with a mascot in her place and prepare for the concert as a four-membered group.”
Furthermore, if Hyunjoo never practiced and all that, then surely there would be a problem with performances if her being around was so critical, but that never came up as an issue.
Also, it would be bizarre that she did fine in Uni.T around a different group of women in a similarly stressful environment, especially for a group that they knew was likely going to flop due to poor ratings.
Look, I think people should always be open to new information and other possibilities, and it’s never quite that one side is evil and one side is good because interpersonal relationships are rarely that simple, but so far the narrative that DSP and friends are trying to spin makes less sense than Hyunjoo’s side right now.