Girl band Le Sserafim's Kim Ga-ram suspended over school bullying

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 20, 2022, 18:06 Updated : July 20, 2022, 14:47

[Photograph by Yoo Dae-gil =]

SEOUL -- Le Sserafim, a six-member girl group formed by Hybe's music label, hit a snag, just 18 days after its proudly debut as a sister band of BTS, with a 16-year-old member succumbing to a scandal over her alleged school bullying. The band will perform as a five-member group for a while until Kim Ga-ram recovers from trauma.

"Through discussion, Kim Ga-ram decided to stop her activity for a while and focus on healing her injured mind," Source Music said on Twitter on May 20, adding Le Sserafim would work as a five-member system until Kim recovers and returns. The move came after Le Sserafim members canceled their scheduled appearance in a TV music program and a fan meeting.

Well before Le Sserafim's debut on May 2, Kim has been plagued with allegations that she was involved in school bullying against her middle school friend in 2018. However, Hybe refused to budge, rejecting alleged violence, smoking or drinking as malicious slandering and insisting Kim herself was a victim of bullying.

The victim argued through her legal representative, Daeryun that because of unending bullying, she had to transfer to another school. Source Music accused the victim of lying or distorting facts and said the agency has collected evidence to take legal action.

Source Music said that the alleged victim took a picture of her classmate wearing only underwear at school without permission and publicly posted it on social media, drawing a protest from Kim and other friends. "There are many classmates who recognized such a behavior as a problem, and there are also third parties to testify." 

South Korea's entertainment community has been embroiled in a wave of school bullying scandals. Many young fans went ballistic over school bullying, urging labels to take action against artists who were found to be attackers. K-pop girl band (G)I-DLE lost its sixth member after a 24-year-old singer was caught up in a school bullying scandal and dropped out.

Ji-soo, a 28-year-old actor, pulled out of "River Where Moon Rises," a KBS TV historical fiction drama that began airing in February 2021, after admitting that he had been a middle school bully. KBS has postponed the airing of the remaining episodes.
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