Le Sserafim, a new South Korean girl group, announced that one of its members, Kim Ga-ram, will no longer be part of the group following accusations that she was involved in bullying incidents at school.
The group’s label/management companies, Source Music and Hybe Corporation, confirmed Ga-ram’s exit in a statement shared Wednesday, July 20. “Our company has decided to terminate the exclusive contract with Kim Ga-ram,” the statement read. “We extend our sincerest apologies to our fans to those who have shown love and support to the group for causing you concern over the controversy involving the member.”
Source and Hybe added that Kim would not be replaced and that Le Sserafim “will continue their activities as a five-member group.” The statement concluded: “[A]nd we will spare no effort to support the group to grow further as artists through their music and performance.”
[공지] 르세라핌 향후 활동 계획 안내 pic.twitter.com/OUZBSFgjeb
— SOURCEMUSIC (@SOURCEMUSIC) July 20, 2022
Le Sserafim formed earlier this year, with Hybe and Source revealing each member of the group in April. Almost immediately after Ga-ram was announced as a member, an array of allegations about Ga-ram’s behavior in school began to spread on forums and social media. As Vulture notes, one photo appeared to show Ga-ram and others in front of a chalkboard covered in drawings of naked figures, genitals, and sex acts (the word “sex” was also written in giant capital letters on the board). Various people also claimed that Ga-ram frequently bullied her schoolmates and that one of her alleged victims supposedly collapsed after learning she was joining Le Sserafim.
Initially, these accusations were emphatically denied, with Source Music even saying it had “taken legal action against the spread of unilateral and distorted allegations and false information related to this case.” Le Sserafim’s debut EP Fearless arrived May 2 and performed well, but on May 15, someone leaked what appeared to be school records detailing Ga-ram’s alleged bullying. A Korean law firm, Daeryun, representing one of Ga-ram’s alleged victims, said in a statement that the details in the documents were consistent with their client’s experience.
On May 20, Ga-ram was placed on indefinite hiatus from Le Sserafim, who continued to perform as a five-piece. While there were reports that Source and Hybe were trying to find a way to bring Ga-ram back into the group, they ultimately decided to terminate her contract and let the group continue as a quintet.