Where is Kim Garam now? Life After Bullying Scandal LE SSERAFIM Kpop News
In 2022, Kim Garam, a former member of the K-pop group LE SSERAFIM, faces allegations of bullying and subsequently leaves the group. But where is Kim Garam now and how has her life changed since the scandal?
The fall of Kim Garam
Kim Garam was accused of verbally and physically bullying his classmates, which caused heavy backlash from fans and eventually led to his withdrawal from LE SSERAFIM.
After the scandal, Kim Garam disappeared from public view, leading to much speculation about his current activities and whereabouts. Although no official announcement was released, it has been suggested that she returned to school only to experience bullying herself.
One post revealed a photo of a desk believed to belong to Kim Garam, with his badge and covered in profanity and insults. The date the photo was taken is uncertain, but it shows the challenges Kim Garam might face as she attempts to reintegrate into daily life.
The timing of the charges and Garam’s departure from SSERAFIM
On April 5, 2022, Kim Garam’s membership in THE SSERAFIM was announced, quickly followed by allegations of bullying. In response, Source Music (HYBE) said the charges were aimed at defaming Garam and that she was bullied at school, denying any rumors of her involvement in the bullying.
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On May 16, a photo of what appeared to be official documents of a meeting of the School Violence Committee involving Garam as an attacker emerged, along with additional evidence. On the same day, HYBE announced that it was pursuing a defamation lawsuit and maintained its original position.
On May 19, an alleged victim, represented by legal counsel, claimed that severe bullying by Garam and his friends forced her to change schools and follow advice. The victim later left his new school citing extreme anxiety, panic attacks and attempted suicide. The law firm warned that if HYBE continued to deny the allegations without a genuine apology, HYBE would release the full text of the findings of the Autonomous Committee on Countermeasures Against School Violence, including an outline of the case. HYBE later responded that they would address their position after checking everything and that the information shared was only one side of the story.
On May 20, Source Music announced that due to the ongoing allegations, Garam would be taking a hiatus from LE SSERAFIM’s activities and continuing the group as a five-piece ensemble. However, Garam was permanently removed from the group on July 20, 2022.
On August 10, Garam made his first public statement since leaving via a post on his friend’s Instagram account. She denied the allegations, saying she never committed physical assault, forced a transfer from school, smoked, drank or bullied. Garam also addressed the disciplinary action she received from the school’s Violence Committee, explaining that she confronted a classmate named “Yoo” who wentssip and shared inappropriate photos of other students. Despite admitting that her approach was wrong and that she made mistakes, Garam has expressed her distaste for hating herself. On August 11, HYBE responded, stating that further comment was inappropriate due to the termination of his contract and that there was nothing more to say.
The K-Pop Industry and Bullying Scandals
Kim Garam’s departure from LE SSERAFIM underscores the prevalence of bullying scandals in the K-pop industry. Bullying, a problem that crops up in various industries, is especially difficult in the competitive and stressful world of K-pop. Here, performers must meet strict standards of beauty and maintain an impeccable public reputation. The call for a transformation in the K-pop industry is growing louder.
Calls for reform and transparency
Scandals involving Kim Garam and other prominent K-pop figures have highlighted the need for reform and change within the industry. Fans and industry experts are calling for more transparency, accountability and support for artists, as well as stricter regulations in cases where artists are found to have committed wrongdoing.
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In 2021, (G)I-DLE’s Soojin faced scandal when a netizen identified as “A” accused her of bullying her younger sister. Kim Woojin, formerly of Stray Kids, left the group in 2019 due to allegations of bullying, but has since returned as a solo artist. Allegations of intimidation have also been leveled against members of veteran groups such as AOA, T-ARA and April, showing the scale of the problem within the K-pop industry.