Back in June, IST Entertainment announced that member Jiyoon would be leaving Weeekly. Even at the time, it was a bit curious in terms of wording, as the company didn’t explicitly state that she choose to leave the group, rather just citing her two breaks for anxiety as a reason for them deciding that she needed to leave.
The reason this comes up again is that Jiyoon recently opened a personal Twitter account and has gone live on a broadcast since, talking about her current situation and plan, but also the circumstances of her leaving Weeekly and the environment at the company.
Since she asked fans not to record/replicate the video, it’s hard to find that in raw form, but it was a public broadcast so obviously one has to expect it’ll get out there somehow. The content of what she said has mostly survived and has understandably angered Weeekly’s fans, as every translation/summary of the live points out that IST essentially kicked her out of the group while she was dealing with mental health issues.
While it’s second-hand information, I mean none of this is surprising by now, both the overbearing environment with companies unilaterally booting members for any inconvenience and that they only pay as much lip service to mental health as they need to for public appearances without actually giving a shit if they think it impacts their bottom line.
But this was still a bizarrely rash decision from IST, as while the hiatus of Jiyoon was worrying, I didn’t really see it as having much impact on the fandom or the group’s rising status, and people seemed more than content to just wait it out. Obviously we don’t know what kind of mess was happening behind closed doors, but IST certainly doesn’t come out of this looking good.