Kim Garam kicked out from LE SSERAFIM after bullying allegations
Kim Garam has been kicked out of the K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM.
HYBE and Source Music confirmed the termination of Garam’s exclusive contract following allegations of bullying.
“Our company has decided to terminate the exclusive contract with Kim Garam. We extend our sincerest apologies to our fans and to those who have shown love and support to the group for causing concern over the controversy involving the member,” HYBE and Source Music said in an official statement.
[공지] 르세라핌 향후 활동 계획 안내 pic.twitter.com/OUZBSFgjeb— SOURCEMUSIC (@SOURCEMUSIC) July 20, 2022
The entertainment labels also extended their “sincerest apologies” to fans for “causing concern over the controversy involving the member.”
HYBE and Source Music said LE SSERAFIM will move forward as a five-member group. The members are former IZ*ONE members Miyawaki Sakura and Kim Chaewon, Produce 48 alum Huh Yunjin, Kazuha, and Eunchae.
Garam’s bullying allegations first surfaced when she was revealed as the second member of LE SSERAFIM back in April where an anonymous post who claimed to know the K-pop idol in middle school accused her of bullying and other illegal activities.
HYBE and Source Music immediately denied the initial claims in a lengthy statement, clarifying that Garam was not the “perpetrator” but rather a “victim of school bullying.” The labels added that they will sue “malicious commenters” against her and stated that the issue shouldn’t be “sensationalized” since she is a minor.
[공지] 르세라핌 김가람 관련 의혹에 대한 입장 pic.twitter.com/V9hxM2ZaV7— SOURCEMUSIC (@SOURCEMUSIC) April 6, 2022
Reports of Garam’s alleged bullying resurfaced after her debut when a photo containing her name listed on a "Notice of School Violence Committee” document spread on the internet. The record, which appeared to be noted from a meeting at Kyeongin Middle School dated 2018, listed Garam as a “perpetrator” of school violence.
The document also showed that the committee sentenced Garam to six hours of special education in accordance with South Korea’s Articles 16 and 17 of the “Act on the Prevention of and Countermeasures Against Violence in Schools.
Using the alias Yoo Eunseo, the alleged victim came forward through law firm Daeryum on May 19 to state she was a victim of Garam and her clique’s bullying from April to May 2018. They added that she received psychological counseling and had to transfer schools as a result. The victim also asked for a sincere apology from HYBE and Source Music, adding that they would reveal more evidence if they do not receive one.
In a follow-up statement per Korea JoongAng Daily, Daeryun said LE SSERAFIM’s fans have been criticizing the victim, and “HYBE has failed to respond to the situation making her condition worse.”
In response, HYBE and Source Music announced that Garam will be taking a break to focus on her mental health on May 20. They also clarified through a joint statement that “only one-sided information” about the idol has been released, saying that Garam engaged in physical fights to defend a friend from Eunseo.
They also rebutted the claims thrown at Garam, pointing out that Eunseo confronted the idol and her friends as “perpetrators, referred them to the school violence committee, and then transferred to another school.” The statement added that Garam and Eunseo used to be friends in 2018 but had a “falling out.”
HYBE and Source Music also admitted that the school violence record was true but claimed that Garam was “wrongly accused.” At the time, they didn’t state how long her hiatus was going to last.
LE SSERAFIM is formed by Source Music, a subsidiary of HYBE. The girl group debuted with the track Fearless and recently wrapped up their promotional activities for the single.