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K-pop star Jimin leaves all-women group AOA amid harassment allegations from former member Mina

"When I was younger, I believed that our team should only show our good sides to our staff and the world. That’s how I thought during my early twenties, but I realize now that I was lacking a humane side as a leader," Jimin said
Jimin and Mina (Wikimedia Commons)
Jimin and Mina (Wikimedia Commons)

On Saturday, July 4, FNC Entertainment announced that K-pop star Shin Ji-min, better known to fans as Jimin, would be leaving AOA (an acronym for Ace of Angels), an all-women South Korean group.

The statement said, “First, we would like to apologize for causing concern to many people through the events related to Jimin that have been unfolding recently. From this moment forth, Jimin has decided to leave AOA and halt all of her activities in the entertainment industry.”

On July 3, Kwon Min-ah, better known to fans as Mina, a former member of the group, shared a series of posts on Instagram in which she said that she had been subject to years of harassment from Jimin during her tenure in AOA. She wrote, “I had to earn money from a young age because our family was struggling. Around the time of my dad’s passing, I cried once in the waiting room and one of the unnies [older member] told me that I was ruining everyone’s mood and told me not to cry, dragging me to the closet of the waiting room. I told her I was so scared at the thought of my dad dying. I still can’t forget those words.”

She revealed other incidents. Mina said, “During our last days together, I wanted to get hair implants but I was late to get to the dance practice room because the anesthesia wasn’t wearing off. I called in advance but as soon as I heard your voice, I knew you would throw things into chaos so I couldn’t go to the dance practice room. And that day, I tried to commit suicide again. That’s my biggest fault [to you].”

She added in another post regarding Jimin, “I’m just so, so sad that I’m so broken because of you, and it hurts and I’m tired. What I want is for you to come to me and admit to your faults and sincerely apologize to me. I think that’s all I need. The person who tormented me seems to be totally fine. When waking up every morning is so painful for me. But I need to provide for my family. To admit to your faults and apologize, so I can let go of what’s built up in my heart, okay?”

The FNC Entertainment statement further noted, “Our agency accepts responsibility for this entire situation, and we will put our full focus on managing our artists [in the future]. Once again, we apologize for causing concern through these unfortunate matters.”

Jimin too issued an apology, hours before the FNC Entertainment announcement: “I can’t express everything in a short post but I am very, very sorry. I was lacking as a leader and I did wrong. As I carry this regret and sense of guilt, I realize that I did not understand Mina well during the time we spent together and I did not look around me carefully.”

“Yesterday, I cried and apologized and cried again. However, I realize that the emotions that Mina has built up about me over time cannot be easily resolved, so I am very sorry. When I was younger, I believed that our team should only show our good sides to our staff and the world. That’s how I thought during my early twenties, but I realize now that I was lacking a humane side as a leader to lead a team in such a manner. I’m sorry for causing controversy and I’m sorry for writing a statement that is all over the place. More than anything else, I’m sincerely sorry to Mina and the members, who spent a lot of effort for the two of us,” wrote Jimin.

But Mina responded to that as well. In a now-deleted post, she wrote, “Apologized? You apologized? I’m going to say what I need to say before I go. Yesterday, you said that you acted like that so that I would be set on the right path. Hearing this from the same person who brought a man to the dorms and had [sex]? You should be set on the right path first. At the very least, you shouldn’t have lied. I understand that you will hate me to the end and you don’t want to apologize to me. But what?”

“I will never forget the look in your eyes when you came in. I’ll die and repay you in kind. All the eyes and ears that were at my house, you’re all the same. Shin Ji Min, you’re so lucky, everyone is on your side. You’ve won. I’ve lost. In the end, I’ve lost,” Mina added.