A chorus of bullying accusations against Korean celebrities has popped up over the last few weeks. While K-pop has commanded a loyal following in the entertainment and music sector, the industry isn’t privy only to the good. Controversy after controversy, a spate of bullying scandals have surfaced to the dismay of many South Korean idols.

Some of the few stars embroiled in the scandals include The Uncanny Counter’s actor, Jo Byung-gyu, and (G)I_DLE’s Soojin. Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the K-celebs that have been put under the spotlight for bullying accusations.

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Park Hye-su

South Korean actress and singer, Park Hye-su rose to fame when she starred in a role for Hello, My Twenties!. But in February 2021, the star was accused of being a bully in school, according to two of her former classmates. However, the star responded and claimed to be the victim of bullying instead.

In her recent posts on Instagram, Park Hye-su shared more about why she moved back to South Korea from the United States, and starting anew in 2008.

Some of the few incidents that occurred in school included her tray being flipped on her, pushed around the hallways and threatened by her schoolmates with violence.

After bullying allegations against Park Hye-su went public, the upcoming K-drama Dear.M, in which Park Hye-su starred in, was postponed indefinitely.

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Lee Hyunjoo

The six-member K-pop girl group, April, was recently under fire when news broke about its members bullying Hyunjoo before she left the group in 2016. A fellow netizen, who claims to be the younger brother of Hyunjoo, took his stand online by sharing the bullying Hyunjoo faced when she was a part of the group, from 2015 to 2016.

In his post, he mentioned: “She was ostracised and bullied in the group, and she ended up getting anxiety and had breathing issues because she suffered so much. She even tried to commit suicide.”

It was reported that Hyunjoo left the group to pursue her acting career but her ‘brother’ responded by saying: “My sister left the group and her label sent her a letter that claimed she was leaving to pursue acting and told her to write it the same way exactly. So my sister did that. But after my sister wrote that, she got so many hate comments saying she betrayed the group for her own benefit.”

After that post, a friend of Hyunjoo showed support for her by claiming that all the members (except for the two new ones), had picked on Hyunjoo while she was still part of the group. Some of the few things that the members did to Hyunjoo include hiding her belongings, talking behind her back and tripping her over.

In response, the agency, DSP Media, shared more about the obstacles that Hyunjoo had faced in April. “After she debuted, because of her physical and mental state, she had difficulties participating in April’s activities. Because of this, there was a lot of conflict and the other members also experienced damage.” All of which did not address any specific details of the bullying incidents.

Ever since the bullying allegations went viral, Hyunjoo has remained silent on the matter.

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Hyunjin

Boy band Stray Kids’ member Hyunjin is also facing similar multiple school bullying charges. This comes after an anonymous netizen accused Hyunjin of verbally abusing and being violent towards him in school.

After that news went viral, JYP Entertainment, the label representing the group, dug deeper into the matter. They met with the accuser and interviewed his former teachers and students from his school.

After investigations, Hyunjin was remorseful of his actions and even posted an apology on Instagram. He shared: “First of all, I sincerely apologise to those who were hurt by my improper actions during my school years. Looking back on times when I was more lacking, I am embarrassed and have no excuse,”. He also added: “Whether it was intended or not, I don’t think I can be forgiven at all for causing pain to someone.”

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Soojin

Soojin, who is part of the K-pop girl group (G)I_DLE, was embroiled in school bullying accusations and accused of being a bully while she was in middle school by her former classmate Some of the claims alleged that she slapped her former classmate, forming a group chat to outcast her, as well as stealing other classmates’ money and belongings.

However, Soojin responded by denying the allegations and shared on her platform on U Cube: “When I was a student, I always stood out and it’s true that bad rumours always followed me around.”

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Jo Byung-gyu

Another South Korean celebrity who got the short end of the stick is The Uncanny Encounter’s actor, Jo Byung-gyu. An anonymous netizen claimed in an online post in February 2021 that he was bullied by the star while studying in New Zealand. After that, two more people came forward and accused the actor of physical assault.

Jo Byung-gyu addressed the matter in an Instagram post that detailed his defence in the accusations made against him. His management agency, HB Entertainment, also started legal proceedings to clear his name.

However, one of the accusers revealed that he was asked to pay for damages and the agency even requested him to remove the post and upload an apology online. He also claimed that someone connected to the agency had been harassing him online, and that had cost him his job.

Jo shared on his Instagram:“My 10-year career has already collapsed and all of the projects I was scheduled to participate in have been put on hold. The damage amounts to a number I can’t quantify.”

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This article originally appeared in Her World