APRIL’s Chaewon took to the group’s official fan cafe site to refute the claims made by former member Hyunjoo regarding bullying accusations. She posted a long statement revealing, “After much deliberation, I am writing this post to clarify that Hyunjoo’s allegations are not true.”
Below is the full statement.
Hello this is APRIL’s Chaewon. First of all, I would like to apologize to fans who must have been surprised by the sudden controversy. I am writing this post after much deliberation in order to reveal that Hyunjoo’s claims are not true, and I hope that you will read it to the end even if it’s a bit long.
I started training on November 8, 2012 and made my debut with the group APRIL on August 24, 2015.
Somin, who at that time was a part of the KARA project with me, became the leader, and Hyunjoo and I joined the team called APRIL. In 2015, Yena, Jinsol, and Naeun joined the company respectively. We went through several tests and six members were confirmed for the group.
Chaewon revealed that although they tried their best to take care of her, she would always claim to be sick and sat out of practice.
While preparing for our debut, Hyunjoo often claimed that her body hurt and had a hard time practicing. She did not participate, even when there were lessons that were needed, and although the managers did their best to take care of her, she continued to say it was hard, even during the times we had to work the hardest before debut. Still, as an older sister, I tried to take care of her, and Hyunjoo became dependent of me, so I thought of Hyunjoo as a really close friend.
If you take a look at actual videos, and not the ones that were maliciously edited, you can see that Hyunjoo and I have always been close friends. But as soon as we debuted, the thing I worried about the most happened.
She then explains the first time Hyunjoo disappeared before a performance.
On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, we made our first debut stage on ‘The Show’, and on Friday, we went to the shop like usual for ‘Music Bank’, but it was then we realized that Hyunjoo had suddenly disappeared. We had no idea why Hyunjoo had disappeared and we had no choice but to stay in our position as we worried that she would disrupt this important schedule.
However, after the dry rehearsal and the camera rehearsal, Hyunjoo still did not appear and we had to finish the stage with five members and wait anxiously for her return. Before the live broadcast, Hyunjoo stated, ‘We still have to do do the live broadcast~’ while returning to the waiting room as if nothing happened.
She remembers being known as the “rude group” after Hyunjoo skipped out on rehearsals.
Because of this, we were remembered as the first girl group who debuted less than a week to skip out on rehearsals and became known as the rude girl group in just one week. Hyunjoo’s actions were so sudden and we were surprised and upset that Hyunjoo didn’t think about the team. But still, I thought that this could happen once, and I thought that if I took special care of Hyunjoo that she would not do this again and that she would be fine.
But Hyunjoo’s behavior got worse, and it took a toll on both Chaewon and the members.
But as days went on, Hyunjoo’s behavior became more severe and every time we had dance practice, she would say that she had tinnitus, her knees hurt, her wrists hurt, her ankles hurt, her head hurts, and she always had a spot that hurt every day. If it was something that she wanted to do or if the cameras were on, she would smile as if nothing had happened. But if it was something that she didn’t want to do or when we were just practicing ourselves, she would say she felt sick and would rarely participate. The appearance on camera is not everything, and being the members who had to practice together off stage, we were tired of Hyunjoo’s actions and her claims about bullying are not true.
Chaewon remembers she went through a lot of stress during these times.
Even during our choreography lesson for our comeback with ‘Tinkerbell’, she would lie on the floor and listen for ten minutes before taking off. The choreographer also said that Hyunjoo was not motivated and neglected practice, and would show her the dance video and tell her to memorize it. Hyunjoo would say that she would and would go home. At that time, although I endured a lot of stress, I held on. It was a situation where I had to look out for myself while taking care of Hyunjoo. Although I was the oldest member, I was just 20 years old at the time.
Although there were strict rules to follow, Hyunjoo got her way as she demanded that she commute from home.
And, as per the agency’s management policy, we did not have personal cellphones from pre-debut times in 2015 to September 2017. During this time, the six of us shared a single ‘team cellphone,’ which was not a smartphone. We were only allowed to save the agency employees’ and immediate family members’ phone numbers on that phone. We were also on a 3-minute limit per person for talking on this team phone. The agency would check call histories and for anyone who went over the limit, there would be some sort of a penalty.
At one point, however, Hyunjoo started using her personal cellphone. While the rest of us could only go home during the holidays, Hyunjoo commuted from home — after demanding that she would like to live at home.
The members and the agency all worked hard in order to make Hyunjoo happy.
We had no idea why the agency let Hyunjoo do everything she wanted. To us, it looked like the agency wanted to make Hyunjoo happy and so did everything to work things out for her. Still, Hyunjoo missed a lot of practices citing her exhaustion as the reason. This might make you think we bullied Hyunjoo because of this [discrimination]. But no, I actually tried to help Hyunjoo as much as I could. My goal was to protect APRIL as a group. In fact, I spent a lot of time with Hyunjoo. So it makes no sense that I bullied her.
She also cleared up the incident regarding the kimbop that was in the car.
Then, one day, as Hyunjoo continued to complicate things for the group, something big happened. From what her brother wrote about us, it said that Hyunjoo found rotten kimbop sitting in her car — which she cleaned up and sprayed perfume to mask the smell. It said that the members and the manager got mad at her for the smell. None of this is true.
I remember exactly what happened this day — the day we went on ‘THE SHOW’ for a ‘Tinkerbell’ performance. We got the kimbop as part of the fans’ support that day. We left the food in the car while we waited for our turn.
When Hyunjoo arrived, she made a face about the kimbop smell. She then started spraying her perfume all over, inside the car with the windows up. Jinsol and Yena, who were sitting in the back seats, got sprayed on. We asked her to stop spraying because it was giving us headaches. She got aggressive though, attacking the members with vicious words and raising her voice. Again, because I’ve always been the one to try and help Hyunjoo by her side, I asked her to keep her voice down. I was worried that our fans outside the car might hear her.
Although Chaewon tried to stay positive, this was the first time she told her to stop.
No matter what Hyunjoo did, I tried to look at the positive and say good things about her. But it was the first time that day I told her to stop. That’s why I remember it so clearly to this day. Hyunjoo ended up getting frustrated with me, reacting with extreme irritation. I honestly thought Hyunjoo and I got along well, I thought of Hyunjoo as a friend And Hyunjoo used to thank me for being by her side as her unnie. So I was really surprised by the fact that she got so annoyed with me that way.
The group also found out later that Hyunjoo had gone to the ER the day their schedule for Show Champion was canceled.
The next day, when we had a ‘Show Champion’ performance scheduled, Hyunjoo did not show up. We were getting our hair and make-up done, when our manager came to us and told us that the stage has been cancelled for us and so we were going back to the dorm.
We had no idea why it was cancelled. We felt like it was the end of the world though. We didn’t know what would happen to us following that cancellation. We were scared about that being the end of APRIL, even though we tried so hard to keep it together. A couple of months later, we heard that Hyunjoo went to the ER on the day she didn’t show up for the performance. On the day of, we really had no idea what was going on.
Even though Hyunjoo left us in the middle of our ‘Tinkerbell’ promotions, the rest of us had to keep going. We had the mascot perform in her place. We started preparing for the concert as a four-membered group.
Chaewon also expressed just how much she tried to understand and be a good friend to Hyunjoo despite everything that she did.
Every time Hyunjoo showed signs of exhaustion, I tried to understand what she’s going through and help her stay on track. APRIL has been an irreplaceable opportunity for me, so I didn’t want to give it up. And Hyunjoo was a good friend and sister that I cared about.
In fact, my mom and Hyunjoo’s mom were close friends too. And as the person closest to Hyunjoo in APRIL at the time, I felt like it is my responsibility to hold the group together — especially when Hyunjoo really started causing trouble for us.
For the other members, I decided I can’t let Hyunjoo keep acting out the way she did. So I did what I could, by listening to her more often and looking after her more thoroughly than before. I tried to support her in every way I could, hoping that my effort would pay off and that Hyunjoo would come around.
Hyunjoo would always say that she didn’t feel well or that she was exhausted. I didn’t criticize her about it though, and I never doubted for a second that she and I are best friends, like real sisters.
Chaewon then left a long message revealing what she wanted to ask Hyunjoo.
So I want to ask Hyunjoo this.
I tried so hard to understand what you’re going through, I tried to make sure you got what you wanted. And you always said that you appreciated me like a real sister. So why did you go behind my back and frame me as someone who bullied you? I, too, was exhausted by staying by your side and looking after you. So why did you turn me into this betrayer? Why did you make up all those lies and rumors about me and why did you spread them?
To be honest, I just couldn’t understand why Hyunjoo was doing this. I felt like life was being so unfair that I didn’t want to keep living it anymore. So many of us are still suffering in pain because of the lies that she spread, but she’s out there posting videos on her YouTube channel. She looks happy.
But I would like her to undo the damage now. I’ve stayed quiet as long as I could. I hope she learns that the attention and fame she gains this way will never last. And I hope she knows that the truth always prevails.
And after reading the revelations from Hyunjoo’s alleged acquaintances, I tried to recover anything and everything from the past that I could use as proof and record. I even asked for the old data on my old phone that I used at the beginning of my debut days to be recovered. I also tracked down my medical history with a psychiatrist at the time. I also found messages between the parents. I seriously did everything I could, and so I will explain everything with what I collected to prove that none of these claims being made about me is true.
I didn’t want to look back on these memories. I never wanted to talk about those days, ever. My life has been ruined and I’m just letting time go by thinking I don’t want to live anymore. Anyway, I’m not going to sit back and watch any longer because now I need everyone to know how unfair this has all been for me.
I thought I could wait and the truth will reveal itself. But I realize nothing will change by waiting.
Please put in the time to read the whole thing because I’ve been nothing but completely honest, to share the truth and the only truth with my fans.
Previously, a netizen claiming to be former APRIL member Lee Hyunjoo‘s younger brother shared a post online about the alleged team bullying that took place. DSP Media immediately denied the points made in the post and claimed they have been nothing but supportive for the former member.
As the younger brother continued to speak and fight for Lee Hyunjoo on her behalf, the agency eventually announced that they will take legal action against the former member for “spreading false information.”