T-ara – HwaYoung Controversy

July 30, 2012Hyun Lee

It all started on Saturday July 28, 2012 – a simple rumor started going around all over the web.
Within a day, the news picked up the story and the rumor became one of the largest controversies in the kpop industry.

The story surrounded the kpop idol girlgroup T-ara and the bullying of HwaYoung, a member of the group.

Usually when a rumor revolving celebrities come up, the fans and/or netizens get to work: they find evidence (or something that could act as fuel for fire).

This time, the fans find that the rumor might be true. The screenshots they take from shows T-ara was featured in become evidence and the story takes a turn to being more and more legitimate.

One of the more popular screenshots that take a central role in the developing story is this one:

T-ara HwaYoung Controversy Rice Cake

Another member of the group, EunJung, is seen force-feeding HwaYoung.
Usually, comedic television shows often show a little bit of playful force feeding once in a while.
A netizen points out that it should have been EunJung who had to eat the rice cake because it was a punishment.
Does HwaYoung’s face seem like she’s happy or having fun?
How about a look at member HyoMin’s awkward laugh at the camera?

As usual this type of story turns into a huge witch hunt, a typical development in the Korean news sector. You can read some of the comments here and you can see where this story would go:
T-ara HwaYoung Controversy Comments

WONY: “That’s no joke – look at how they’re scheming something, the two plan it out and force feeds her.
And Ham EunJung is holding back her laugh.
Makes me curse, that Ham EunJung.”

Warm Spring: “Those pieces of shits..
That is like attempted murder. . Don’t they know SungWoo passed away because he choked on rice cake (tteok)?”

gold_win: Show us how they’re planning it out! Those bad girls. The reporter is the best!”

gold_win: Look at chin-HyoMin nickname laugh. It’s evil and cruel.”


If you can take a look at the votes going on in the comments sections, they’re mostly in favor of HwaYoung.

The fans await in the meantime for T-ara’s agency to respond – to give them some sort of a light in the shadow. All they want is a little hint of what’s going on. Their unni’s are being framed! Oh my lord, the pain HwaYoung must be going through – someone do something! OH THE HUMANITY!

Well it turns out T-ara’s agency, Core Contents Media, decided to take action.

The CEO of the company, Kim KwangSoo, announced that “there are no internal issues or bullying in T-ara and HwaYoung’s contract will be terminated with the consensus of the staff”.

Just 40 minutes after the announcement, HwaYoung tweets, “…facts with no truth”.

T-ara HwaYoung Controversy Twitter

Her tweet really stirs up some e-drama and essentially gives the “go” to the netizens to go on a verbal rampage against Core Contents Media and T-ara.

There are polls going around for the controversy: some 21,000 users have voted for this poll within half a day in regards to CEO Kim KwangSoo’s announcement.

T-ara HwaYoung Controversy - Poll
“Down” is equivalent for “Thumbs Down” in regards to the termination. “Up” goes for “thumbs up”.

The crowd definitely is for the little guy – or, girl in this case… and the group seems to be falling apart. What do I mean by that? I mean, sure, the company defended the group and kicked the “troublemaker” out… but at what cost? Let’s take a look at some more comments and the “fallout” of the controversy:

T-ara HwaYoung Controversy Comments

jjujjukim: “We need to show that if the idols aren’t genuine towards the fans, they will fall”
agjqgl: “KwangSoo and T-ara are ruined. The company that promotes this type of anti-social behavior should be destroyed.”
-_-ahnnyong: “Signs of T-ara’s fall haha. Personally, I think BoRam should act her age. Ah I hate her.”

There are other fallouts due to this announcement.

For one, some 6,300 members of the official T-ara fan club quit on the 30th – in just one day. Additionally, the fan club on the portal site Naver changed their name to “Ryu HwaYoung Advocates” and gained over 3,000 fans – reaching over 40,000 fans total. A club asking for the truth from T-ara was created and reached over 50,000 fans while asking television producers to take EunJung off the air on the shows “We Got Married” and the upcoming “Five Fingers”.

The so called “Ryu HwaYoung Advocacy Movement” does not stop there. Actual television producers tweet eachother back and forth about the situation and how to handle it: SBS’s Ryu CheolMin PD: “I will not cast T-ara for any of my shows” while MBC’s Lee SangYup PD agrees: “Oh then me too.”

The story goes international. This kind of thing doesn’t stay in the country:

T-ara HwaYoung Controversy

Hopefully this will end any kind of bullying throughout the kpop industry. Stories like this pops up once in a while if the reader of this article can recall what we call the “JaeBeom Controversy”. The netizens at the time also find evidence of bullying of JaeBeom (aka Jay Park) in the idol boy group 2PM under JYP Entertainment, but the story died down as JaeBeom moved back to Seattle and asked the fans to stop pursuing the matter. There are many fans who still believe that he’s been bullied and that was the main reason why he was kicked out left.

The tables have turned for the group and company. The “group vote” for the termination of her contract consisted of the group members plus 19 staff members (5 stylists, 7 hair & makeup staff, 7 managers) and while trying to salvage what they could by sacrificing the one member, they’ve effectively doomed the entire group.

Don’t mess around with your group members – this advice goes to individual members and the agencies. Unless you’re SM Entertainment. Then you can cover up and make up for almost anything (cough HanGeng of Super Junior, the JYJ trio of DBSK and more!)

Side note: T-ara just added two more members and released “Day By Day” on July 13, 2012. If anyone’s interested in listening to this member-bullying group.

Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun Lee is a writer for KPOPSurf and KPOP News Guy on YouTube.

6 comments to “T-ara – HwaYoung Controversy”

  1. Emily | August 10, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I don’t want hwayoung to leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Charles | September 17, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I thought I found a good k-pop news site and wanted to give it a chance, but not anymore. Reporting gossips as facts and insinuating your readers to condemn a group over unproven controversy….seriously?

    This is gutter journalism at work.

    • Hyun Lee | October 4, 2012 | Permalink Reply

      I am sorry you feel that way.
      We hope we can “up” our game and provide you with better content.

      Thank you for your input!

      • Sarah | October 24, 2012 | Permalink Reply

        I <3 how humbly many Koreans seem to take criticism. Regardless of the initial issue, you go oppa!

  3. vita | October 5, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    At first i like T-ara so much. however, when I heard this kind of bullying to hwayoung, i hate t-ara. Jiyeon is beautiful outside but ugly inside. I vote for hwayoung! :)

  4. ilovetaraforever | July 22, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    you guys dont know ANYTHING think about them too! they disn t do anything and people are hurting them because people read those fucking journals!!!!!!!!! tara up up up you can do it!!!!

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