On March 19, (G)I-DLE’s Soojin released a detailed statement in which she personally addressed 10 of the claims that she had been a perpetrator of school violence.
The wave of bullying allegations against Korean celebrities seem to be on the rise. On February 20, (G)I-DLE’s Soojin was accused of school bullying by a former middle school classmate and her older sister. Another person claimed she bullied the actress Seo Shin Ae – who attended the same middle school, according to Naver.
After a series of statements and apology letters denying the rumors, Cube Entertainment released a new statement on March 4, informing that (G)I-DLE will now continue all their future promotional activities as a five-member team for the time being as Soojin has currently been indicated to halt all her activities. This statement comes after Cube released its first stance on this matter by creating a committee and denying the allegations on February 21.
The following is Soojin’s statement made on March 19:
“No. 1-6 is my response to the claims made by the first accuser (“B”) and her older sister.
1. The reason I knew who “B” was
- A long time before B’s sister uploaded her post, I had learned from my old classmates that B was looking for old photos of me.
- At school, we were briefly close friends, so I still remembered the name of B’s sister. When she first made her post online, I could guess who she was from her user ID.
- I will take this moment to say firmly that my recognition of B was not because I had bullied her.
2. The retraction of thrombocytopenia
- In the first accuser’s post, she said that the victim had developed thrombocytopenia (low level of platelets in the blood) out of the stress that I had caused her and that she had spent a lot of time in the hospital.
- But when B’s sister met with an agency representative, she said that the thrombocytopenia had started in her third year of school, a long time after the alleged period of school violence mentioned in the post. She also said that the alleged school violence would not have been a cause of the illness.
- After the face-to-face discussion, B and her sister changed their statement to be more ambiguous and said that while the alleged school violence had not caused the illness, it likely had an impact.
- Since this no longer seemed to be a clear statement of victimization, the reference to thrombocytopenia was eventually removed entirely.
3. Phone argument
- First, when I met B in person, I sincerely apologized multiple times for using curse words while arguing on the phone with her. But I could not acknowledge any part of the alleged juice incident. In my first statement, I wrote that while I remembered the phone call, I had no memory of the juice incident, which had been described in such detail. I understand that this ended up causing confusion to those who read my statement, and I accept responsibility for that.
- This is what I remember about the phone call. B and I had promised to meet that day, and I was waiting for B at the promised location. A long time had passed without B showing up, and when I called her, B suddenly said that she couldn’t come. Since this wasn’t the first time that B had suddenly canceled a meeting long after the promised meeting time, I lost my temper and cursed at her on the phone. That phone call was just between B and me and there were no other friends involved. It is clearly my fault that I lost my temper and spoke in poor taste, but it is not true that I got angry at B to bully her. As soon as I began to curse, B passed the phone to her older sister. B’s older sister was an adult at the time, and she scolded me for using curse words as a middle school student, and I apologized and hung up. The sister did not once reference the juice incident on the phone, and there was no chance for me to explain in detail the reason B and I were arguing. B said that she got money from her sister to give to me, but I have never received money from B at all. After that call, B and I became distant.
- I have never bullied B, committed violence against her, or stolen her belongings. I have never bullied anyone further than what I have described above.
- When I met with B, I said that B’s sister had also cursed at me on the phone call. At first, B said that her sister had not, even though she had been standing right there, but later in the conversation she changed her statement that seemed to confirm what I said. Through an Instagram Live broadcast that night, B’s sister seemed to remember everything she had said and seemed to acknowledge that she had not just simply scolded me on the phone call.
4. About the scolding during gym class
- According to B’s sister, B had laughed during gym class when a student named “Oh” had called a student named “Kim” by a different name, “Nam.” According to B’s sister, Oh had come to tell me about it, and I had scolded B in front of a lot of people in front of the bathroom.
- Oh and I were just friendly classmates and Oh never told me anything like what was described above. I checked with Oh and at the time, there was only one gym teacher at the time in the whole school. In the first year of middle school, Oh and Kim were not in the same class and could not have been in the same gym class. It doesn’t make sense that someone would have called the name of a student from another class during school hours.
- According to B, this happened in front of a lot of people, so I checked with all the classmates that I was still in contact with, but no one confirmed what B said.
- My fellow students and I state that this did not ever happen and that it was not a situation that could ever have happened.
5. About the DMs and school violence committee meetings that were mentioned as evidence
- It is true that my mother was called to the school once for a school violence committee meeting. But I was called to that school violence meeting for something that had nothing to do with me. I remember my mother coming out of the conference room in tears. She has never been brazen in her speech or her manners. The teacher later held private counsels with my classmates and it was revealed that I had not committed any wrongdoing.
- You say that I had admitted to being called before a school violence committee?
- Just as I said above, that school violence committee was for a case in which it was revealed that I had been falsely accused. I was framed for things that I didn’t do and my mother was called in by the school. So can it really be said that I admitted to facing a school violence committee?
- At our face-to-face meeting, I spoke with B about the school violence committee. The committee was not held in public, so I explained the situation to her in detail. There was no reply, and after a long period of silence, she said that she didn’t know anything about my mother. She had posted about something she didn’t know the details of and even dragged my family into it.
- Even after I clearly explained to B that I had not been found guilty as the perpetrator during the school violence committee, whose meetings were held in private, she took out almost everything that I had said and posted only that I had admitted to facing a school violence committee.
- Even though there was a recording, even though she had said in an interview with a reporter that I had not admitted to anything during our face-to-face meeting, she went and spread the idea that I had admitted to facing a school violence committee several days later.
6. The reason that the first face-to-face meeting took place through representatives
- After the B’s sister first uploaded her post, the agency sent a DM asking for a face-to-face meeting. But B’s sister said that B was uncomfortable and refused to meet. The agency respected her wishes and suggested that they meet through representatives instead. I wanted to speak to B in person as well, but the DM said that B was uncomfortable, so I respected her wishes. That’s why the first meeting took place through representatives. It wasn’t because I was avoiding a face-to-face confrontation.
- In our first face-to-face meeting, B had even acknowledged that I was the first to request an in-person discussion.
No. 7 to the end will be addressing various other accusations made online.
7. The friend who danced with me at our graduation
- I remember being friends with this person from our third year of school until our graduation day. After our graduation, we lost contact with each other. We didn’t hang out together in school, but I do remember hanging out once school had ended. I even knew about that person’s family circumstances, so I had thought that we were close.
- It is not true that I called that person over to my house two days before graduation with the excuse of sharing a meal together in order to demand that they memorize choreography with me. We had rehearsed together at my house for about a month and a half before graduation. My father remembers that person as well, and even remembers that in the middle of our rehearsal, the person living in the apartment below us called to complain about the noise.
- We exchanged songs for several months through e-mail and I still have the e-mails as proof.
8. About actress Seo Shin Ae’s Instagram post
- As I wrote in my first statement, I have never spoken with actress Seo Shin Ae during our time at school. Before this issue began, I had no idea even which class she was in.
- I have never committed acts like putting cigarettes in her desk or stealing her graduation letters.
- I know nothing about Seo Shin Ae and this was the first time that I had heard such rumors about her and me. I have never bullied her or cursed at her behind her back.
- Every time that I release a new statement, Seo Shin Ae has shared a post around the same time, so many people wrongly believe that I bullied her.
- My agency has contacted her agency, but has gotten no response.
- I am not guilty, so I strongly request Seo Shin Ae to release a clear statement about the issue.
9. About the padded coat
- Since this was also an incident that did not happen, I’m not sure how to explain it. But I can explain why the accuser’s claims are difficult to believe.
- It is not true that I bullied this person in our first year of school by slapping them on the cheek or coloring on their padded coat with marker.
- This person wrote that when I bullied them, there was a friend who witnessed the incident and helped them. I checked with this friend directly and they said that they had no memory of this.
- When netizens asked the person for proof that the coat had been defaced, the accuser said that they had sold the item secondhand. The accuser said that it had been sold recently, not at the time of the alleged bullying. That means that a coat that was over 10 years old had been sold. People requested that the seller get in contact with the buyer to get a photo of the defaced coat, which suggested that the marker had not been erased at the time of purchase. But the buyer responded that the marker had been erased when the coat was laundered. That implies that the marker from 10 years ago had been easily erased in the laundry. It is difficult to believe that someone would just leave the marker there that I had allegedly done over 10 years ago until now.
- It was not mentioned anywhere in the advertisement of the secondhand coat that it had been damaged. Even in the one-on-one chat [between seller and buyer], no damage was mentioned. It is standard for any damage to be mentioned up front in the advertisement, and the damaged area would be shown in a photograph for the buyer. It makes no sense that the seller would contact the buyer again without a single photograph.
- The information about the coat that was uploaded on the secondhand website showed that it was not a coat that had come out when I was in middle school. The accuser explained that they had uploaded the wrong information, thinking that it was the same product. But when people explained how to accurately check the coat’s product creation date and requested the information, the accuser did not respond.
- When the accuser first shared their post about the coat, the accuser said that they were in the second class in the third year, and that I was in the first class in the third year. The accuser claimed that the first class was full of troublemakers and that the student dean was the homeroom teacher for the class. But I was in the second class in my third year of school and my homeroom teacher was the English teacher. Furthermore, the first class was not a class of troublemakers. The accuser has also changed their statement multiple times to say that they were not sure if they were in the second class or fifth class in middle school.
- The accuser claimed that I had come to their class often because I had a friend in that class, but when I was in my third year of middle school, all my closest friends were in the same class as me, so I hardly ever went to visit other classes.
- In my third year of middle school, the first and second classes were on the same floor, and the other classes were on the floor above. If the accuser was in the second class and I was in the first class, it would make no sense for the accuser to say that I had “come up” to their class. Everything they said was false.
- It is not true that I ever made people slap each other, stole their money and belongings, or sent messages ostracizing one student from the group.
- I cannot give a long explanation for events that did not happen. I have never engaged in that kind of behavior during my time in school.
Instead of appealing to people’s emotions, I did my best to write down the rational, clear facts without distortion. The fact that it took me this long to make a statement does not mean that I was guilty. I needed the time to be clear on the details, because I knew that one word from me would have a big impact on other people.
At the time of my first statement, the flood of rumors and the post made by a certain actress had instantly fixed me in the public attention as a “bully.” In a situation where I had to get out a statement as fast as possible, the incoherence in that statement ended up creating a lot of misunderstandings, so I took a lot more care with the next statement. However, nothing I said in the first statement was false.
I knew that it would be a terrible thing to admit that a female idol had smoked as a student, but I acknowledged the truth because I wanted to be honest about everything. Out of curiosity, I smoked once or twice as a student, but I recognize how wrong this behavior was. I accept responsibility for this behavior and I am very sorry.
We will be collecting evidence and taking legal action against all those who made up false rumors and these people will be judged by the law. If it turns out that I did something wrong, then of course I will take the punishment given and leave the group. However, the truth about what I have not done will come to light.
Once again, I’d like to sincerely apologize for causing a ruckus with this matter. I will be sincere and honest about this matter until it ends. Thank you.”
Cube Entertainment’s Official Statement:
“Hello, this is Cube Entertainment.
This is our agency’s final statement on the matter of (G)I-DLE’s Soojin’s school life. On March 19, we filed criminal complaints against the spreaders of false rumors and malicious commenters, including the first accuser, at the Gangnam Police Station. We have handed over all the evidence that the agency had collected about these false claims. Through a strict investigation, we believe that the truth will be revealed. We will also be pursuing civil lawsuits without lenience in order to make these people take responsibility for the damages they have inflicted.
We intend to continue taking strong legal action against the spread of false rumors and personal attacks with malicious intent.”