LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Garam will go on hiatus to ‘heal’, Source Music explains her side of bullying controversy

Following an alleged victim of bullying by LE SSERAFIM member Kim Garam coming forward earlier today, HYBE Labels/Source Music responded by essentially sticking to their guns and saying a detailed reply would follow. They recently did that, with Source also deciding to put Kim Garam on hiatus as this scandal plays out, reportedly to heal as she was a victim of school violence.

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To start, they addressed the school violence committee results, claiming that the report says the alleged victim took molka and posted it publicly on another student’s social media and that Kim Garam was punished after taking revenge for this.

Kim Garam was called into a school violence committee meeting in 2018 while attending her first year of middle school (7th grade). We will explain the detailed facts because only then can the overall context be understood. In this case, Kim Garam was pointed out as the perpetrator for what happened. She took the place of her friend who was harmed. The perpetrator made a mistake in their relationship with their friends, requesting for the school violence committee. Kim Garam was friends with Yoo Eunseo for about two months, between March and April 2018 at the beginning of the school year. However, during a retreat at the beginning of the school year, the two had an argument for about three house when Yoo Eunseo found out that Kim Garam had been gossiping with other friends behind her back. The two ended up apologizing to each other. However, after Yoo Eunseo told what happened to one of her close male friends, outside school grounds, Yoo Eunseo and the male student threatened to use physical violence on Kim Garam. Due to the incident, the two no longer got along. Since then, Yoo Eunseo took a picture of student “D”, who was a close friend of Kim Garam, wearing only her underwear while she was changing her clothes. After taking the picture, Yoo Eunseo uploaded the picture publicly onto the social media account of friend “A”. At the time, “D” was mentally disturbed and a total of five students, including Kim Garam who was a friend of student “D”, questioned Yoo Eunseo for her behavior on behalf of “D”. Kim Garam and her friends, who were angry at the spread of the illegal photograph of “D”, met Yoo Eunseo separately and there was a lot of cursing involved during their big argument. Yoo Eunseo admitted to her wrongdoings but she was not punished for this by the school, and no school violence committee was held. In the process, Yoo Eunseo did call for a school violence committee meeting, saying that Kim Garam and her friends bullied her. Because of this, a school violence committee meeting was held, with “D’s” friends including Kim Garam held as the perpetrators and Yoo Eunseo as the victim. However, Yoo Eunseo voluntarily transferred schools at the request of “D”, who was the victim of the illegal photography, even before the school violence committee was held and her forced transfer was being discussed. Also, the school violence committee’s punishment was handed out to two students, Kim Garam and “A”, who were pointed out by Kim Garam before her transfer. Yoo Eunseo transferred to a different area but one to two months later, transferred to the school next to Kim Garam’s.

At this point, since both sides confirm it as a legit thing, I’d just like to see the school violence committee report to settle what’s what once and for all. Like in terms of evidence, if it supports your side then reveal it.

It is noteworthy that Source admits that the alleged victim was not punished for her alleged actions, which they may use as an explanation for why it’s not in records if they’re revealed.

In terms of what Kim Garam was punished for, this thread explains it.

Regardless, they say that Kim Garam then became a victim of school violence herself because of the outcome of the report.

At the time, there were many students who understood the contents of the school violence committee’s report.
Regarding the school violence committee that was held in June 2018, many of the individuals directly involved and their classmates knew of the key content. Apart from the classification of the perpetrator versus the victim, there were many classmates who believed Yoo Eunseo’s behavior was a problem, demanding a school violence committee meeting even though she made a mistake, and there are third parties who can testify to this.
Kim Garam is also a victim of school violence.
Following the aftermath of the school violence committee, absurd rumors about Kim Garam spread throughout the school. When Kim Garam was in middle school, she suffered from malicious rumors such as ‘she hit her friend iwth a flowerpot so she was forced to transfer.’ and later received an apology from a student who spread a false rumor, thanks to the intervention of a teacher. Some students also forcibly invited Kim Garam and her friends into a group chat and then teased them or swore at them. Kim Garam tried to leave the chatrooms, but was invited back and teased more for not replying or not reading the chat messages. At the time, not only her classmates but other students from other schools who didn’t even know Kim Garam started joining the chatrooms and verbally abused Kim Garam and her friends. Unable to endure the bullying, Kim Garam and her friend even asked their teacher for help.

They then provided clarifications for the other allegations that have been circulating.

Kim Garam has been suffering from false information even up until recently.
Kim Garam has been damaged by all kinds of false rumors since her debut, and we would like to clarify that all of the following points raised by people are not true.
1. ‘Kim Garam was forced to transfer’ is not true.
Kim Garam spent her kindergarten to 2nd grade years in Seoul, then spent the rest of her elementary school years in Gwangju due to her father’s job. When she entered middle school, she returned to Seoul and enrolled in the middle school near her house. Currently, she is attending high school. There was no forced transfer involved in any of these processes.
2. Rumors such as “she hit somebody with a pot” and “she hit a student with a brick” are not true.
The aforementioned rumors are all defamatory rumors that Kim Garam had to endure during middle school. She has received an apology from the student who started the rumors through the intervention of a teacher.
3. That “she would arrive at school in a police car and that she was involved in group fights and attacked students” are false.
Kim Garam did not attack other students, nor was she involved in a group fight, and has never arrived at school in a police car. All of the above are lies.
4. The rumors saying, “she drank and smoked,” are lies.
Kim Garam has never smoked, nor has she ever drank. However, she was bullied by students who falsely accused her, which led to an investigation. Kim Garam, during a mediation session with the teacher, was so distraught that her parents took Kim Garam to take a nicotine test and explained to other students that the rumors were false.
5. “That she bad-mouthed other artists” is also a lie.
Kim Garam has never spoken badly or used foul language when describing another artist. Kim Garam has never stated she was a fan of a specific male artist and has never spoken badly about a fellow member or another artist.
6. “That she was a trainee at another label” is false.
Kim Garam has never been a trainee before her tenure at Source Music. Rumors stating she was supposed to debut in a different group but was cut due to her bad behavior are also false.

Finally, they announce that Kim Garam is going on hiatus to heal and reflect.

We are asking for your forgiveness and understanding.
Due to the involvement of minors, including Kim Garam, we tried to resolve the situation without revealing details of the truth. However, as baseless allegations surrounding Kim Garam, as well as the alleger’s one-sided allegations made through her lawyers, have been released, we feel unfortunate that we are forced to reveal sensitive details. Also, we would like to apologize for Kim Garam’s use of language in the past. Although the words were spoken in defense of a friend that was harmed, Kim Garam is apologetic and is remorseful for using foul language and threatening the alleger. Kim Garam, in her first year of Middle School, became a victim of cyberbullying as well as a victim of school bullying. She has since diligently moved forward to pursue her dreams. However, she has dealt with many rumors and has been attacked mercilessly in the process of her debut. We have thus spoken with Kim Garam and have agreed to temporarily halt her promotions so that she can focus on healing. Until Kim Garam has fully healed and returned, LE SSERAFIM will move forward as a five-member group. Although this was an incident that happened in the tumultuous backdrop of Freshman Year in Middle School, Kim Garam is looking back on her immature actions and is full of remorse. We ask for merciful understanding. Lastly, we would like to apologize for only now revealing the specifics of the case, as well as any discomfort our artist may have caused. We would like to sincerely apologize to the fans that have supported LE SSERAFIM. Thank you.

Back when it seemed like HYBE/Source were going to stick to their guns here, I figured they were going to go one of two routes, either the case results went in her favor and the alleged victim’s lawyer straight-up lied or they were somehow gonna say essentially that the resulting judgment was wrong. They appear to be going for the latter.

While I’m not one to say that these types of systems are flawless, given the information we do have, at least for now it’s difficult to discredit the judgment of the committee without Kim Garam’s side providing anything but “trust me, bro” kind of arguments. Like I said before, at this point I’d just like to see what the report says as that would appear to clear up a lot, and it seems like the alleged victim is fine with sharing its contents, so we may get that closure sooner than later.

Realistically, it’s going to be difficult for Kim Garam to change her image now barring some kind of significant turnaround given that we know the school violence committee report is a real thing and the result was that she was punished. Still, there’s unfortunately probably still a long way to go with this saga.

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