Knetz call Le Sserafim's Kim Garam an 'Iljin', fans wonder why there are so many victims

Despite solid evidence from more victims against Kim Garam, HYBE and Source Music continues to promote Lesserafim’s debut


                            Knetz call Le Sserafim's Kim Garam an 'Iljin', fans wonder why there are so many victims
K-pop fans discuss the Kim Garam situation and the allegations against the Le Sserafim member (@le_sserafim/Instagram; @pannchoa/Twitter)
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It cannot get any worse than this and fans of the HYBE girl group are angry at the label for not putting an end to rumors against their new trainee, Kim Garam, who is part of the pre-debut girl group Le Sserafim (aka Lesserafim). HYBE introduced Kim Garam as one of the first new members of Le Sserafim aside from the obvious former IZ*ONE members Sakura and Chaewon. Kim Garam is now under extreme scrutiny as more and more victims are accusing her of school bullying in multiple instances, day after day.

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From bullying to extortion to public attacks like throwing a flower pot at a student to reports of one of her victims being rushed to the ER, there are multiple allegations against her. Despite HYBE and Source Music releasing a statement threatening legal action, comments continue to pour in about Kim Garam's past, some with no concrete evidence. With that being said, there still is clear evidence in the form of photos that paint a bad picture of Kim Garam’s character which has led Knetz (Korean fans) to say that Garam was once part of a  "iljin" group.

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Will HYBE postpone Le Sserafim's debut? Fans wonder as more Kim Garam's 'victims’ surface

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What is Iljin in Korean?

In the west, it is common to see cliques of school bullies who hail from well-to-do families and take their anger out on the weak and poor. The Korean equivalent of the term for a group of rich bullies is "iljin". Members of an iljin or Korean school gangs are seen as people who do not have a good character and are also filled with pride. It is also claimed that members of iljins want to be “first-class” students and students who consider themselves to be leaders in sports, dance, singing, and appearance at school often join such iljin gangs for clout.

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Korean fans who are looking at the allegations against Kim Garam are starting to call her an iljin. One user said, “It's a fact that Kim Garam was playing with really bad boys.. But it's not that she's directly harassing the kids, she’s just an iljin. It seems like she is pretty, so I expected her to be an influence but I didn't know that she was going to debut.” One user said to Source Music, “You are real scum. Make a decision and have a meeting and everyone who was a bully should be punished. You're telling the victim not to even gossip. Ga-ram Kim, get rid of that bastard... Let Sakura Kim Chae-won make her debut properly. Kim Ga-ram is an iljin, crackdown on it a little, what is this?”

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One user responded to the label’s statement saying, “Kim Garam's victims of school violence are also minors, so why do you cover up only Garam? It's true that she has bullied, hit hard, and smoked. Just leave the group quickly and hire a new member or go to a five-member group.” Another user said, “Kim Garam is the "Real" mz generation Iljin, so I had some ptsd as soon as I saw the photo.” One user said, “Yes, Garam Kim, school bully, Le Seraphim, Garam Kim, Iljin~ Yes, please leave.” One user said, “Kim Garam looks like a typical middle school Iljin.”

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Why are Kim Garam's 'victims' surfacing now?

While HYBE’s statement has not put an end to the new allegations against Le Sserafim’s Kim Garam, fans believe that there is a reason why her alleged victims are talking about it now. South Korea has dealt with a lot of school bullying and K-dramas often reflect this many a times in their plots. With shows like ‘Itaewon Class’ and ‘Penthouse’ among many others, fans are aware of the psychological damage caused to victims of school bullying. This is why fans think that seeing your bully debut as an idol and present a clean image to the public adds to the trauma of victims and contributes to their PTSD.

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Some fans of Le Sserafim and fans of K-pop, in general, allege that watching Garam debut will be traumatizing to her victims if these allegations against her are proven to be true. One fan said, “IDK but i sincerely hope if that "kim garam" issue was true ,, they will think about the victims and they will serve justice to those who were bullied and abuse because the trauma will not go away that easily and it saddens my heart that they did not fully enjoyed their youth.”

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One more fan said, “I also think Kim Garam should not debut if she is a school violence perpetrator. It is damaging to both the victim and the other members of the group.” One fan said, “Despite giving the victims and the public a chance to apologize, Hive continues to inflict secondary harm on the victims, and Ga-ram Kim and his friends are now asking why? Victims will fall tired of crying and have difficult thoughts, but I hope you will see this part of this drama.”

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