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Less than a day after the label introduced Kim as a member of the group, a number of netizens claimed that the 16-year-old singer had been involved in bullying incidents during her school days. One netizen, who claimed to be Kim’s classmate from middle school, alleged that Kim had regularly harassed younger students, according to posts archived by Koreaboo.
In another set of forum posts by KBIZoom, another netizen posted screenshots of a conversation that was allegedly initiated by Kim, where she allegedly cussed out another person while asking them to pick up the phone.
HYBE, which owns Source Music, the agency in charge of LE SSERAFIM, has since denied all allegations and taken legal action in a statement posted today (April 6). The label claims that the allegations have been “cunningly edited” in order to “maliciously slander” Kim, as translated by Soompi.
“Contrary to the claims, it was confirmed through a third-party statement that Kim Ga-ram was a victim of school bullying, including malicious rumors and cyberbullying, when she was in middle school,” HYBE added. The mentioned “third-party statement”, however, has not been publically released.
[공지] 르세라핌 김가람 관련 의혹에 대한 입장 pic.twitter.com/V9hxM2ZaV7
— SOURCEMUSIC (@SOURCEMUSIC) April 6, 2022
“Source Music has taken legal action against the spread of unilateral and distorted allegations and false information related to this case,” HYBE added. “Therefore, we sincerely ask you to refrain from speculative reporting based on suspicions that are currently being maliciously raised online.”
“Furthermore, the allegations that have been raised contain defamation of character against someone who is still a minor before her debut as a celebrity, and we would like to clearly state that we will take legal action without any settlement or leniency.”
HYBE and Source Music had previously confirmed that another ex-IZ*ONE member, Kim Chae-won, would also be part of the lineup of LE SSERAFIM, although her official teasers have yet to arrive. Additionally, several South Korean news outlets have mentioned former Pledis Entertainment trainee Heo Yun-jin, who previously appeared on Produce 48, as a rumoured member of the group.