Was Garam part of HYBE’s noise marketing? Fans say ‘They ruined the image of Le Sserafim’

Was Garam part of HYBE’s noise marketing? Fans say ‘They ruined the image of Le Sserafim’
Kim Garam had debuted with the K-pop girl group Le Sserafim amidst her bullying scandal (@le_sserafim/Twitter, Weverse)

Former Le Sserafim member Kim Garam’s school bullying case just might have been one of the messiest scandals in recent memory. Days before her debut, she was accused of bullying an alleged classmate, getting into physical fights and being rude to peers and teachers. Le Sserafim's parent company and label -- HYBE and Source Music shared that Garam was innocent, actually a victim and that they would be taking legal action while they put her on hiatus for her mental health in May. However, on July 20, HYBE terminated their contract with Garam and let her go.

Those who believed the victim rejoiced that Le Sserafim would not be tainted by Garam’s bullying scandal anymore. But there had been a small group of people who believed that they had found loopholes in the case and that Garam just might have been innocent. Now, an alleged friend claims that HYBE used the 16-year-old former idol for noise marketing and did not actually make use of the evidence they had submitted in Garam’s favor, “I was very hurt by these adults who used an 18-year-old (Korean age) as means of noise marketing.”

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Fans wonder if Kim Garam is actually the bully after HYBE releases a statement putting her on a hiatus from all Le Sserafim activities after the legal allegations (weverse.io/lesserafim)
HYBE had stuck to their first statement that Garam was innocent in May before they terminated their contract with her in July (weverse.io/lesserafim)

Garam’s friend claims she was used

The friend shared that Garam’s alleged victim Eunseo actually bullied her, cursed her parents and physically threatened her. OP (original poster) also claimed that Eunseo getting transferred because Garam was bullying her was false. She claims Eunseo took a photo of Garam’s friend in her underwear and got even a higher level of punishment than Garam – a level 6 punishment by the school violence committee. OP also added that Eunseo’s friend threatened her in April when she first spoke up on Garam’s alleged bullying. When HYBE had first defended Garam, they had corroborated OP’s claims and shared that Garam getting a level 5 punishment was a mistake.

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‘I don’t think its noise marketing’

But Le Sserafim fans and Knetizens are not having it as they pointed out that members Sakura and Chaewon were already famous from their IZ*ONE days. One said, “No, LE SSERAFIM is not a group that debuted from a small and medium company. Sakura, Kim Chaewon, and Huh Yunjin were popular before debut. I don’t think it’s noise marketing.” However, one Knetz did point out, “I hate HYBE who did noise marketing with bullying… They ruined the image of LE SSERAFIM.” With HYBE being a big company with artists like BTS and Seventeen, one user wondered, “Lets be serious why would a big company use a goddamn bullying scandal as noise marketing.”

Another felt that the scandal had done the opposite, “I do not think that Korea is a country where you can become popular and build successful career on a bad reputation. I really do not see how this whole scandal could be used as successful marketing strategy by a kpop company. This group was bound to be successful if anything this whole situation just damaged them.” One user said, “Instead of noise marketing, id say from pr perspective its their last minute salvation. tried to cut off and distancing from the bad apple right before lsf comeback.”




However, some fans feel that HYBE could have handled the situation better, “EVERYONE. @HYBEOFFICIALtwt/@SOURCEMUSICheld onto a mountain of evidence Kim Garam's friends&family entrusted them with and they betrayed her. They had leaked chatlogs of the true bullies planning to sabotage Garam and testimonies from another victim of Yoo Eunseo.”

One felt that OP was onto something, “Y’all are reaching i didn’t even know izone exist until recently. izone girls aren’t as popular as you think they are. admit it or not, most ppl only found out about lesserafim because of garam’s issue. garam helped them to make that kind of noise.” Another felt bad for Garam, “Yea I'm f*kin sad that the company already planned everything in advance, kept evidences on hold to do noise marketing, now Garam's identity is exposed to the public, and she has to continue her life with a stained image..”




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