Kim Garam, a former member of the K-pop group LE SSERAFIM, faced allegations of bullying and subsequently left the group. But where is Kim Garam now, and how has his life changed since the scandal?
Table of Contents
The fall of Kim Garam
Kim Ga-ram was accused of verbally and physically bullying his classmates causing a wave of fan backlash and ultimately leading to his removal from THE SSERAFIM.
After the scandal, Kim Garam disappeared from the public eye, leading to much speculation about his current activities and whereabouts. Although no official announcement has been made, it has been suggested that she has returned to school only to experience bullying herself.
A post revealed a photo of a desk believed to belong to Kim Garam, with his badge covered in obscenities and offensive language. It is uncertain when the photo was taken, but it highlights the challenges Kim Garam may face in trying to reintegrate into everyday life.
The chronology of the accusations and the departure of Garam from SSERAFIM
On April 5, 2022, Kim Garam’s joining LE SSERAFIM was announced, followed quickly by allegations of bullying. In response, Source Music (HYBE) stated that the accusations were intended to defame Garam and that she had been bullied at school, denying any rumors of her involvement in bullying.
On May 16, a photo of what appeared to be an official document from a school violence committee meeting implicating Garam as the attacker emerged, along with additional evidence. The same day, HYBE announced that it was pursuing legal action against defamation and maintained its original position.
On May 19, an alleged victim, represented by a legal representative, claimed she was forced to transfer schools and attend counseling due to severe bullying by Garam and his friends. The victim later dropped out of her new school, citing extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and a suicide attempt. The law firm warned that if HYBE continued to deny the accusations without offering a genuine apology, it would publish the full text of the findings of the Autonomous Committee for Countermeasures Against School Violence, including an overview of the case. HYBE later responded that they would address their position after reviewing everything and that the information shared was only one side of the story.
On May 20, Source Music stated that Garam would be taking a break from LE SSERAFIM’s activities due to the ongoing allegations, leaving the group to continue as a five-member ensemble. However, Garam was permanently removed from the group on July 20, 2022.
On August 10, Garam made her first public statement since her departure via a post on her friend’s Instagram account. She denied the accusations, stating that she had never committed physical assault, forced school transfer, smoking, drinking, or bullying. Garam also addressed the disciplinary action she received from the school’s violence committee, explaining that she confronted a classmate, “Yoo,” who had spread gossip and shared inappropriate photos of other students. Although she admitted that her approach was wrong and that she had made mistakes, Garam expressed her reluctance to hate herself. On August 11, HYBE responded, stating that further comments would be 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 highlights the prevalence of bullying scandals in the K-pop industry. Bullying, a problem faced in various industries, is particularly difficult in the intensely competitive and high-stress world of K-pop. Here, artists must adhere to exacting beauty standards and maintain a flawless public reputation. The call for transformation in the K-pop industry is becoming more urgent.
Calls for reform and transparency
Scandals involving Kim Garam and other prominent K-pop figures have highlighted the need for reform and evolution within the industry. Fans and industry experts are demanding greater transparency, accountability and support for artists, as well as stricter regulations in cases where artists are proven to have committed wrongdoing.
In 2021, (G)I-DLE’s Soojin faced a scandal when a netizen identified as “A” accused her of bullying their younger sister. Kim Woojin, formerly of Stray Kids, left the group in 2019 due to bullying allegations, but has since returned as a solo artist. Accusations of bullying have also been leveled against members of veteran groups like AOA, T-ARA, and April, demonstrating the scale of the problem within the K-pop industry.