• Kim Garam was accused of bullying, drinking and smoking as a minor
  • One of her schoolmates claimed Garam "enjoyed" bullying  kids in school
  • South Korea is faced with a burgeoning problem of bullying in schools

Less than four months after being introduced as the second member of the sextet girl band LE SSERAFIM, K-pop singer Kim Garam has been removed from the group due to bullying accusations.

BTS’ music label HYBE Corporation and its subsidiary Source Music announced the termination of their contract with the 16-year-old two months after she went on a hiatus owing to the controversy.

“Our company has decided to terminate the exclusive contract with Kim Garam,” the music companies said in a joint statement published by Koreaboo.

HYBE and Source Music said LE SSERAFIM will continue to promote their music as a five-member group comprising Kazuha, Sakura Miyawaki, Kim Chae-Won, Huh Yun-Jin and Hong Eun-Chae.

“We extend our sincerest apologies to our fans and to those who have shown love and support to the group for causing concern over the controversy involving the member. LE SSERAFIM will continue their activities as a five-member group, and we will spare no effort to support the group to grow further as artists through their music and performance,” HYBE and Source Music said.

The bullying controversy peaked just days after the girl group debuted in May, which forced Garam to go on hiatus as HYBE tried to address the issue, and appease angry schoolmates and K-pop fans.

HYBE even released a statement saying that it was Garam who was bullied by her schoolmates when she was in middle school. The company even warned that it would take legal action against those who are spreading “false information” against Garam.

The allegations against Garam ranged from school violence to drinking and smoking despite being a minor. Apart from this, controversial photos from her school days, where she posed in front of a blackboard filled with explicit drawings were shared online by a netizen.

“She was a kid who enjoyed such day-to-day bullying… I don’t know if she did this to confuse people purposely, but she definitely said she was preparing to become an actress, so I don’t know why she suddenly changed to being in a girl group… It’s so funny because she probably knew that people would expose her because she did [wrong] things,” a netizen who claimed to have known Garam since middle school told Koreaboo.

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A Texas middle-schooler claimed he was forced into a clothes dryer in school. Representational image of bullying. pixabay