Kim Garam has come forward with a new statement regarding the bullying controversy that ultimately resulted in her leaving LE SSERAFIM. While the new development has won her many netizens’ support, HYBE and Source Music‘s handling of the bullying allegations against has come under scrutiny.
On August 10, Kim Garam released the full report from the school violence committee that had been previously investigated when the alleged victim, Yoo Eunseo (pseudonym), made the bullying allegations against her. In a statement made through a friend’s Instagram account, Kim Garam maintained her innocence, explaining that she decided to speak up after being increasingly targeted with negative comments.
But as days passed, I was even more afraid of all the criticisms targeted at me. And if I was given a chance, I definitely wanted to honestly tell my side of the story.
1. I have never hit anyone or used violence on anyone, not even once.
2. I have never been forced to transfer.
3. I have never smoked nor consumed alcohol.
4. I have never outcasted or bullied anyone.
5. I was just a regular student.
— Kim Garam
HYBE made their own statement regarding the issue not long after. While it is known that Kim Garam no longer has any affiliation with the company, netizens have still expressed disappointment in the company’s non-statement.
As we have already terminated our exclusive contract with Kim Garam. We have nothing else to say because any additional comments are not appropriate [given the contractual situation].
As support for Kim Garam continues to grow (with hashtags such as #JusticeForKimGaram and #TheTruthAboutKimGaram trending on Twitter), many fans are finding themselves frustrated over how HYBE managed her bullying controversy. The frustration comes particularly in light of the fact that the company has recently announced legal action against malicious comments aimed at LE SSERAFIM and NewJeans. Many fans have pointed out that this should have happened a long time ago, as it may have helped save Kim Garam a lot of pain.
Source Music + Hybe:
Where was this energy when a 16 year old under your employment was bullied by the entire world, ridiculed, harassed, sexually objectified and hated on for over 2 months + ongoing. Kim Garam is still a minor who faced baseless accusations while you did nothing pic.twitter.com/mcm0XEB5pz
— 진주 (@jinjumin_) August 10, 2022
Now that she has released the full report from her school violence committee, and given the size and power of the company, some fans are also critical of the fact that HYBE was unable to defend Kim Garam better. They claim they should have taken better actions especially since the report seemingly contains evidence in her favor.
u mean to tell me a billion dollar corporation were on the frontlines for that girl for months and couldnt find *any* evidence whatsoever of her being framed for standing up for a friend but all it took was an ig post for the tide to turn pic.twitter.com/4ihP4UHwP7
— bad decisions (@pjmnfenty) August 10, 2022
In fact, some allege that HYBE and its subsidiary Source Music, which is LE SSERAFIM’s managing label, must have been fully aware of the contents of the report, yet still chose not to use it. According to netizen theories, this was done for the sake of noise marketing…
hybe on their way to say yudimi was being dramatic even though they know damn well they used garam for noise marketing pic.twitter.com/U1hfFkEPJV
— ㅁ (@oncemimosa) August 9, 2022
…which is why some netizens believe Kim Garam was “silenced” by HYBE and Source Music.
She is no longer silenced by big companies and has spoken out. Garam wanted to speak out months ago but certain companies would not allow it.#JusticeForGaram #KimGaram#TheTruthAboutKimGaram #김가람에게_정의를_내려라 #김가람
— vida (@wildaery) August 10, 2022
Yet, there are many who are pointing out that Kim Garam’s new statement does not actually say anything that HYBE did not already claim in their defense of her.
“hybe ruined her career” no actually what she said is exactly what hybe said happened in their statement. they gave y’all her side of the story and you actively denied it and still spread rumors. it was kpop stans and pann users who destroyed her career. https://t.co/5o6CrkPlWz
— lux; (@vmklesbian) August 10, 2022
Kpop stans pointing fingers at HYBE when y'all were the real problem😭
HB put literally the same statement, defended her & said SHE was the victim & y'all didn't cared.They believed her but saw the mass hate & kicked her out for the sake of the rest of LS. It is Y'ALLS fault https://t.co/Xn14XCm0Td pic.twitter.com/ypU4LI9V50
— Fl0⁷₅🌸 hoseok's (@YooungIuv) August 10, 2022
Additionally, some are pointing out that theories that HYBE “silenced” Kim Garam for the sake of using her for noise marketing are ungrounded due to legal factors.
there’s also lots of ppl believing that hybe silenced her when there’s literally laws behind why she couldn’t speak until now 😭 not trying to sound like a company stan but y’all gotta point the blame towards the people who started this and not the ones who tried to defend her https://t.co/YGJ2UFccIE
— homo womo 🐳 (@nejiwrld) August 10, 2022
While this is still being contested…
Garam's family, Garam's friends including the one who posted this letter and Garam herself said they were silenced by Hybe. Garam wrote a similar letter back in April which was refused by Hyb. It may or not be published.. but maybe you have more info than them?#JusticeforGaram https://t.co/i93LQSnA7X
— SerassKaza 04/05 (@SerassKaza) August 10, 2022
…for the most part, netizens believe that Kim Garam deserves an apology.
— ًً (@garamphobia) August 10, 2022
You can read Kim Garam’s full statement and the report from the school violence committee below.