When HYBE and Source Music announced that they were debuting a girl group, netizens couldn’t hide their excitement when LE SSERAFIM finally debuted in May.
Unfortunately, from the very beginning, it was shrouded in controversy as member Kim Garam was caught in a bullying scandal. Although the companies denied the allegations, the allegations still distracted from the group’s promotions.
After it was announced that Garam was going on a hiatus, LE SSERAFIM continued its promotion with five members. Although the choreography was created for six people, netizens praised the idols for their professionalism in adapting quickly to a five-member choreography.
They also continued sharing images on social media with only five members, and some claimed that it looked “more natural” and even speculated what it would be like with other members in the center position.
Although fans have been praising the members for their professionalism amongst the issues, HYBE has come under fire again for their reaction. Recently, HYBE, along with a Japanese magazine, has been criticized for including Kim Garam in a recent editorial.
Japanese publication Non-No recently released an editorial with the members of LE SSERAFIM, and the cover-model members looked flawless. Yet, instantly, netizens noticed that there were six members on the cover. In particular, in the top center of the shot was Kim Garam.
Even in the close-up shots, Kim Garam was in a prominent place in the publication. It wasn’t too surprising, considering she was the center member of the group.
The article itself also disregarded the issues going on as they wrote, “With the debut mini-album ‘FEARLESS,’ the six people who made their striking debut that the world is paying attention to will be on sale on June 20.”
Netizens shared their anger at the photoshoot when the images were shared on social media. Although the images were taken prior to the scandal, the magazine and HYBE were criticized for the fact they didn’t postpone the release, tried to edit the photos, or had them re-done with the current line-up.
HYBE has continued to be criticized for its handling of the situation. While there have been rumors that Kim Garam will not be removed from the group, netizens have voiced their anger. Although she may not be removed if the allegations are proven false, many believe they shouldn’t have released anything with her while she was on hiatus.
You can read more about netizens’ thoughts on HYBE’s handling of the situation below.