ATEEZ‘s Seonghwa and Hongjoong appeared on the group’s Exhibition on Curator on December 6. A portion of it is garnering attention due to a controversial story. During it, Hongjoong explained how, as the first KQ Entertainment trainee, the company initially had no curriculum for trainees, but there was a strict teacher.
I mailed a CD of my self-composed songs to the company. The company told me that they initially kept the CD in the warehouse. A year later, when the company moved, the team leader found the CD and contacted me … The team leader asked me to meet with him quickly, and in less than a week, I signed a trainee contract.
This teacher is 35-year-old Korean singer-songwriter and record producer Eden, who debuted with KQ Entertainment in 2017. He is the leader of Eden-ary, the production team behind both ATEEZ and xikers.
Hongjoong remembered that after he was signed to KQ Entertainment, Eden criticized him. He told Hongjoong that he wasn’t talented and wouldn’t last long despite signing him.
As soon as Eden signed me, he said something bitter on the first day that I wasn’t talented. He deliberately told me that I wouldn’t be able to last much longer with my voice, body, and batting.
While Hongjoong was able to laugh about it now, obviously, these words stuck with him many years later. Netizens commended Hongjoong’s courage and persistence despite the discouragement.
here’s the full video. i’m glad they can joke around about this in present, but the fact that hongjoong remembered what was said to him proved that those words did left a big impact on him tho. whether good or bad things, it will be on him to decide but from my pov? just NASTY 💀 pic.twitter.com/ylFlPWvqbc
— 𝐚𝐫𝐢 •ᴗ• (@bjoongiie) December 6, 2023
for the record, eden would still be milking his failed career if it werent for hongjoong. hj built that company from ground up and all the member auditions went through him (and yunho). ateez, their music, and performances exist because the members believed in him and each other.
— YVES #JJKTEEZ (@bloomizlover) December 6, 2023
ATINYs (fans of ATEEZ) were appalled by the harsh words, knowing Hongjoong was just 16 years old then! He was a kid.
Few netizens spoke up in defense of Eden. Some claimed it was “tough love.”
Yet, others pointed out that Eden himself has stated his side of the story, and it’s not far from what Hongjoong said. Arguably, it was just as bad or worse. It appeared Eden, who had no formal training, was bitter about training another artist.
— 🐈⬛ || not wooyo⁸ || 🤍 (@wooyo_ppang) December 6, 2023
Many ATINYs remain upset at Eden for “bullying” Hongjoong at that time and wish that ATEEZ would no longer have to work with him.
Watch the full video below.