Everything We Know About The 11 Bullying Scandals In K-Pop Right Now
Here are all the bullying allegations made against various actors and idols over the past week and all the information we have so far.
1. Actor Jo Byung Gyu
On February 16, a netizen and alleged former classmate of Jo Byung Gyu accused the actor of bullying in high school.
One day, I saw a classmate that I had never seen before and it happened to be Jo Byung Kyu. On that day, I was trying to leave my classroom, but he stopped me to talk. […] The way he was speaking to me made it evident that he was trying to pick a fight. His attitude put me in a bad mood so I didn’t respond and just left. I think my response made him angry. […] To conclude, Jo Byung Kyu did not use any physical violence. He only abused me verbally.
The netizen shared photos of school memorabilia and old Kakaotalk messages as proof.
That same day, Jo Byung Gyu’s label, HB Entertainment, has denied all claims and has already started taking legal action.
We want to inform you that we have officially requested a police investigation in order to hold the person responsible for spreading false information and the indiscriminate malicious comments that are posted through the online community.
On February 19, another alleged victim and former classmate of Jo Byung Gyu created an Instagram account, @victimofmr_cho, to come forward with further claims of bullying.
The Korean community is small in Auckland, New Zealand, so he became famous amongst all the schools and became acquaintances with all the iljins (people with bad reputations, bullies. One day, our school ended early and I was forced to go to karaoke with two others. The three of us went there, and the karaoke fee came up to be about $25-30. Of course, I was forced to pay it all. They told me to sing the last song, but I’m tone deaf so I told him I’m not good at singing. It was then that he grabbed the microphone and started to hit me with it. My knees, legs, shoulders, etc. He kept hitting me so I had to sing and they laughed at me…
This second alleged victim outlined other incidents with the actor and shared old high school photos as proof. The Instagram posts have since been deleted.
On February 22, KBS announced that it has halted the production of Come Back Home, a new variety show starring Jo Byung Gyu, but denied that this decision was in relation to the bullying accusations.
On February 23, Jo Byung Gyu also took to Instagram to release a personal statement in which he acknowledged that he went to the same school as the victim but never had any relation to him.
2. (G)I-DLE’s Soojin
On February 20, the alleged victim’s older sister, A, relased bullying rumors against (G)I-DLE’s Soojin, claiming that her younger sister fell victim to Soojin’s bullying. She claimed that Soojin would call her sibling and her sibling’s friend to the bathroom and “make them slap each other and would send group texts saying that [her] sibling is a loner/outcast.”
According to their claims, Soojin also stole other students’ school uniforms and money, and that she went around with older guys who rode motorcycles while drinking and smoking.
The older sister went on to claim that she bullied “Miss Seo,” who is speculated to be actress Seo Shin Ae.
Everyday, on the way to school, you’d scream behind her. You’d say things like, “Hey you, little b*tch!” and “You bbang– ddong–!” You’d even mock her like, “What are you going to do without any parents?” You also made her get into fights by spreading rumors about her. You kept pressuring her to tailor her skirt shorter, saying that it’s too long.
On February 22, Seo Shin Ae got involved as well, posting cryptic Instagram stories which fans believe correlate to the accusations.
That same day, CUBE Entertainment, Soojin’s label, denied the claims.
Hello this is CUBE Entertainment. We’ve talked to Soojin about the online post that is circulating and she has confirmed the following: The original poster (OP) is an older sister to the alleged victim who went to the same middle school with Soojin. The OP once heard the alleged victim and Soojin argue over the phone. The OP also spoke to Soojin over the phone, also in argument.
All other claims made by the OP regarding the school bullying, however, have been confirmed as false.
The agency also stated that they will be monitoring the false rumours and taking appropriate legal action as needed.
Soojin made a personal statement, admitting to having had “negative rumours following [her] around” in school but denying all bullying allegations.
3. Actor Kim Dong Hee
On February 21, a set of anonymous netizens accused the Itaewon Class actor Kim Dong Hee of being a bully in high school.
Kim Dong Hee would wear his e-cigarette around his neck or keep it in his uniform pocket and he would sometimes smoke in the classroom. He would slap the disabled students, or call some classmates to play games that are disadvantageous to them, then slap them. He also bullied the more vulnerable students, forcing them to give him massages.
— Netizen “B”
On February 22, JYP Entertainment denied everything and promised to take legal action.
In response this time around, we plan on pursuing legal action against the poster. We will do our best to protect our actors from being affected by these false accusations.
— JYP Entertainment
4. Former I.O.I’s Kim Sohye
On February 22, an anonymous netizen accused Kim Sohye of being a school bully but claimed that they were not a direct victim and simply a classmate.
Kim Sohye was standing by a bench and the victim was sitting on the bench and looking at her phone, not listening to what Kim Sohye was saying. Kim Sohye got angry, grabbed the victim’s hair, forced her on her knees, and hit her. […] Fans ask why so many people know about the incident… That’s because she talked about it herself.
Later that same day, S&P Entertainment, Kim Sohye’s agency, denied the claims and vowed to take legal action.
After checking with Kim Sohye, we can confirm that the allegations are groundless. In the past, similar false claims had been made and we reported them to the police — eventually receiving an apology for the spread of false information. At the time, we settled with the malicious poster, so it’s absurd that more accusations are still being made in the same way.
We are planning on reporting this to the police.
— S&P Entertainment
5. SEVENTEEN’s Mingyu
On February 22, the alleged victim claimed that, during her first year of middle school, a group of “scary kids + unnies” would steal from and verbally assault her.
***gyu would laugh at me getting bullied, and he even threw coke lids at my face from 4-5 meters away. When it hit me, he would laugh even harder. And I think it was during our last year of middle school when Kim ***gyu got cast in front of school by Pl*** and passed his auditions. He sent me one text message. […] He said he was going to the practice room but didn’t have money to pay for it. He messaged me to gather ₩5,000 KRW (~$4.50 USD) by tomorrow. […] I was only able to scrape up about ₩3,300 KRW.
— Alleged Victim
The original post has since been deleted from the online community.
That same day, another alleged former classmate also stepped up to defend Mingyu,
Fellow alumni would know but even if it was true that he was abit of an iljin, he was close with everyone in the school. It’s not really that he was close to those people that he hung out with them but he just generally liked people and was close with everyone.
— Alleged Former Classmate
Mingyu’s agency, Pledis Entertainment, denied these claims.
We have confirmed with Mingyu himself. The claims made against him are groundless and obviously false.
It took time for us to check the facts thoroughly. There is a yearbook picture which the accuser posted, but it is completely different from Mingyu’s yearbook picture. Also, unlike the accusation which stated Mingyu began his traineeship in 9th grade, he actually started training in 8th grade.
The post has been deleted. We simply don’t understand the intentions the accuser had.
— Pledis Entertainment
6. Actress Park Hye Su
Park Hye Su’s group would harass me and verbally abuse me. She was famous at school for being a bully and taking money from kids. In around March of 2011, Park and her group called me and said, ‘Why do you live like that?” After that phone call, I was harassed by all the bullies at our school. It became so bad that my homeroom teacher even recommended that I transfer schools, which I refused at that time.
—Alleged Victim A
Park’s agency Studio Santa Claus has denied these allegations and is planning on taking legal action.
We deeply understand the seriousness of school bullying within the entertainment industry and have conducted a detailed investigation on the authenticity of the alleged victim’s post. As a result, we have confirmed that the posts are false facts about Park Hye Su. We plan to take strict action to the extent permitted by law, including criminal complaints as well as civil liability claims, so we ask that you stop posting and distributing false posts.
—Studio Santa Claus
After the agency’s statement, a group of accusers stepped up, claiming that they were “taken aback and very angered by the article that said these are falsehoods.” Studio Santa Claus has yet to reply to the new statements.
However, later that evening, the original poster, A, clarified that Park Hye Su is innocent and that she was wrongfully believed to be the bully in question.
Although I have made additional posts to the original one to clarify that it is not Park Hye Su that was the bully, many articles were using her photographs along with the contents of my post. I want to be clear again that it is not Park Hye Su.
— Alleged Victim A
7. Stray Kids’ Hyunjin
On Februar 22, an anonymous netizen made a post accusing Stray Kids’ Hyunjin of assaulting him and bullying him in the class group chat.
He didn’t like the fact that I asked him to close the back door to the classroom when he always sat in the back. Second, my friend who had to do lunch duty to get lunch, since he wasn’t on the school meal plan. Hyunjin didn’t like that, and criticized my friend, saying ‘I don’t like that you get a lot for lunch. You’re the reason why other students can’t eat lunch’.
He would say ‘you look like that because you have no mother,’ and would say abusive things, sexually harassing things, and family insults. His unprovoked mockery and insensitivity, and quarrels where he wanted to hit people were shocking.
However, the netizen was not able to elaborate on these claims.
Later that same day, a former classmate of Hyunjin’s came out to counter this statement, claiming that Hyunjin did not commit any violence and was a bright student who was trusted by his classmates.
He was always bright and had a harmonious relationship with his friends, and he was trusted by his classmates to the extent that he was appointed the class president in 8th grade, when the accuser posted that they were bullied.
He made school life for his friends so nice, that there are many friends of his who still think of him in this sense, even six years later.
This alleged classmate then went on to refute all of the previous claims.
On February 23, JYP Entertainment denied these accusations and announced that they will be taking legal action.
There are many discrepancies in the circulating allegations. After we confirmed this, we have concluded that this rumor was released with malicious intent. We will be taking legal action against these lies that are being spread. Our company will do its best to find out the truth, as well as protect our artists.
8. THE BOYZ’s Sunwoo
On February 22, an alleged victim accused THE BOYZ’s Sunwoo of school violence, sexual harassment and date violence, including a photo of their school graduation to prove that they were schoolmates.
He went around making sex jokes and jokes involving others’ families. When you were in your first year of middle school, you dated XX and committed date violence and the girl had to go around school with bruises all over her body. […] You didn’t attend classes and went to smoke outside of school, and you guys gathered to drink whenever you guys felt like it and talked so dirtily that I can’t even say it. Is it not considered school violence just because you didn’t use physical violence? […] Just because you search up posts on your controversies one by one and delete them, it doesn’t make the way you smoked in our school corners, the way you did date violence, the way you sexually harassed us, sexually assaulted us, go away.
— Alleged Victim
On February 23, Cre.Ker Entertainment released an official statement regarding these rumours, stating that the accusations were completely false, and that they will take legal action.
We would like to advise that the contents of the post such as physical abuse etc, are all false. The post has been deleted since.
The company is continuously investigating the matter as well as collecting materials, for which falsehoods have been created and spread, and for which our artist has suffered slander and personal attacks as well as malicious posts. […] In order to make the (person who is behind) the creation of falsehoods legally responsible for the case, we will continue to collect materials against it and follow procedures, in order to deal with it strongly.
— Cre.Ker Entertainment
9. LOONA’s Chuu
On February 22, an alleged classmate of LOONA’s Chuu claimed that she and another girl, J*B, would bully their classmates.
J*B and Kim Jiwoo (Chuu’s legal name) went around and made kids the outcasts and the reasons were always simply that they just didn’t like them. One day, one of my close friends, A, was made the outcast. I was the only one who would eat and chat with A and I guess Kim Jiwoo didn’t like that so Kim Jiwoo talked to A and made it sound like I was the one that instigated making A the outcast. Later on, they invited me to a group chat and cursed me out or threatened me, and there was once where they blocked my path when I tried to go home from the school gates and cursed at me.
The alleged classmate goes on to explain further incidents with Chuu, such as her stealing a pen or sighing loudly when OP had to present in front of the class.
On February 23, Chuu’s label, Blockberry Creative, made a statement denying the claims and promising legal action.
We would like to inform everyone that the claims raised by the accuser contains contents that are different than what is true. In addition, we will not overlook the situation, and make every effort to protect the rights and interests of our artists.
10. (G)I-DLE’s Soyeon
On February 22, a netzien claiming to be a former middle school classmate of (G)I-DLE’s Soyeon accused her of bullying her to the point that she considered transferring schools.
You said that since it was my birthday, I had to treat everyone. And you kept asking me what I was going to buy you. There were other incidents, too… But I won’t mention them here. I was having such a hard time because of you that I considered asking my parents to send me to a school abroad.
CUBE Entertainment has yet to make a statement.
11. MONSTA X’s Kihyun
On February 23, an alleged former middle school classmate accused Kihyun of bullying and school violence.
He was one of those iljins (bullies with bad reputations). He would call me and others like me ‘losers.’ I got bullied and hit. I had weird rumors tagged onto me that followed me around. My money was taken from me and I also had to buy cigarettes for him. He wasn’t as severe as other iljins, but there was a female classmate who was in our class that cried because he also hit her.
— Alleged Classmate
Included in the claim were old photos of his PTSD treatment medication and old scars from self-harm in the past, which he insisted to have been caused by his bullying trauma and have since been deleted, and photos of Kihyun which have circulated online before during a previous, separate allegation.
Kihyun’s label, Starship Entertainment, has yet to to make a statement.