Evil Personified: Hongjoong’s Confession About ATEEZ’s Producer Sparks Mixed Reactions

Eden criticized Hongjoong after signing him.

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.

— Hongjoong


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.

Eden | @eden_yh/Instagram

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.

— Hongjoong

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.

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.

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.

Idol Struggles & Victories