Tuesday, July 31, 2012

HwayounGate: A Timeline

Alright, since everyone's been clamoring for a T-ara article and we finally have a "complete story," AKFG and I have decided to do an exhaustive cover story + timeline about the whole situation from start to "finish."

Prepare your anuses, this is a big one.
Hwayoung on CCM and KKS.
Like The Beginning (07/25)

Apparently, this whole situation began with a series of tweets sparked by Hyomin. For now, we'll ignore the "evidence" that Hwayoung's bullying has been going on for a long time now because it's all conjecture, taken out of context, and subject to a great deal of confirmation bias like our colleague AsianJunkie has excellently pointed out. Slight context for the situation: Hwayoung had recently injured her ankle during a rehearsal for July 22nd's Music Bank performance, becoming unable to perform at the Budokan concert.

The tweets are as follows.
  • Hyomin -- "The difference between our volition ^^ All of us have volition. Hwaiting!"
  • Jiyeon -- "The difference between our volition ^^ That's the concept of it ^^ Always modest about it ^^ Clap for our acting genius."
  • Eunjung -- "Just like how a position can create a person, volition can also create a person...ah, this is pitiful. You're expected to look out for the people around you."
  • Soyeon -- "The difference between our volition + manners + consideration"
  • Boram -- "Clap. *clap clap clap*"

Hwayoung then makes an ambiguous tweet that could be construed as a reply to the rest of T-ara's tweets.
Translation: "Sometimes doing it through just will is impossible. At times like this, I'm upset too. On the other hand, I believe there's good meaning in this from the heavens. God knows, right?"
By this point, fans are pretty baffled but still willing to give T-ara the benefit of the doubt. At least until Hyoyoung steps in and apparently "defends" her other half.

Translation: What's the point if your face is pretty. Your heart/mind has to be pretty. Aren't hurt people
human too? I'm also hurt by this. I really want to cry. Let's go practice or something.
Hyoyoung: "My other half is suffering. I'm hurt over this. No matter what anyone says, 
you can pull through this Hwayoung."
Hwayoung: "You're the only one..."
Fans immediately begin stoking the fires of suspicion, convinced that Hwayoung was being bullied by the rest of the original 6-ara (sans Qri who was noticeably silent throughout the whole affair). CCM and Kim Kwangsoo take notice of the uproar and issue an extremely flimsy statement to "clear the air" so to speak.

Claiming that all 5 Twitter accounts were simultaneously hacked, and that there was no way the T-ara members would ever say such a thing, CCM hoped that this was enough to end it. Everyone with half a brain immediately shit on this terrible excuse, so KKS decided (on the 27th) to issue a press statement on the 30th.

Why Are You Being Like This? (7/27 - 7/29)

Hwayoung's thoughts on T-ara.
In the intervening time until the offical CCM press statement on the issue, netizens began to dig up dirt on T-ara and alleged evidence on T-ara's bullying of Hwayoung throughout the 20 months since her debut. Anything from Jiyeon leaving Hwayoung hangin', to Eunjung stuffing Hwayoung's face, to even Boram wielding newfound powers of magnetism to crush Hwayoung's dreams umbrellas have been linked to this "bullying."

You can decide for yourself whether or not these claims have any grounds, but again it needs to be said that the majority of this "evidence" is anecdotal and out-of-context. Confirmation bias plays a huge role here, so remember to take everything with a grain of salt.

Netizens also begin their ill-advised campaigns to bring T-ara down, making demands for T-ara to be dropped from their dramas or CF campaigns.

Breaking Heart (7/30)

At the climax of the shitstorm, KKS reveals that his big announcement regarding T-ara was the dismissal of Hwayoung from the group. Terminating her contract effective immediately, he stated:
“In deference to the complaints by T-ara’s staff of 19 people (5 stylists, 7 hair & makeup, 5 on-site managers, 2 team managers), Hwayoung’s contract as an artist will be voided effective immediately with no conditions." 
“We wish to impress upon the fact that this has nothing to do with the ‘bullying’ reports surrounding T-araAlthough the staff of Core Contents Media stayed up into early morning discussing with the T-ara members who all wanted to stay with Hwayoung, we apologize in saying that we could not forsake the arguments of the staff members.” 
“We deeply apologize for the many incidents which made everyone who loved T-ara nervous and worried, and we have nothing but sadness to convey such an unsettling incident on their third anniverary. We also apologize again to the T-ara members and wish Hwayoung all the best as a powerful rapper. Since Hwayoung has great potential as a rapper we decided to end her contract without conditions and we believe that she will grow into the future as a free artist.”
After stunning everyone with such ridiculous claims (seriously, who would ever fire an artist over "staff complaints?"), a follow up press release was made in order to clear THAT up.

It's quite long but the important things to "take away" are:

  • KKS reverses his initial stance on T-ara's Twitters being hacked by continually referring to the "determination" mentioned in the tweets as fact
  • Hwayoung was not allowed to perform on stage (against her wishes) "for her own protection" as insisted upon by the other T-ara members and the staff. [This will be extremely important later]
  • KKS reaffirms that Hwayoung's removal was based on staff input that she was being a diva and difficult to work with, NOT because of bullying.
  • KKS emphasizes that "If T-ara becomes lazy or puts themselves first, then the group will become empty on the inside." (Like he hasn't already created a toxic environment where T-ara needs to be selfish cutthroat bitches in order to stay in the group, but I digress.)

It's all obviously a load of horse shit fouler than Jessica's diarrhea, but this will quickly become a commonality through the rest of CCM's press releases.

People are still confused/bewildered/horrified at Hwayoung's departure, so another follow-up interview with KKS regarding the follow-up press release was made in order to "clear the air" of the additional shit thrown onto the pile.
[Q] The press release is a bit vague. It seems to have actually inflated the controversy.
[A] I can’t reveal everything. It’s the least amount of courtesy for the departing member. Please think carefully about who will be hurt if the truth is revealed.
[Q] There were reports of bullying. Are the fights between the members a big reason in the departure?
[A] No. The relationship between the members are not a big problem. In fact, once you take control of a team, small problems can erupt. The bigger problem is the hardships faced by the staff members.
[Q] The problems with the staff was also in the official press release. What kind of problems existed?
[A] I don’t want to go into detail, nor do I want to make personal attacks. But the staff were very tired after driving for the entire night and taking care of hair and makeup. There were several managers who cried, saying they wanted to quit. Although the artists are important, I believe that the sweat and tears of the staff are equally as important. I could not stand by watching this destruction of teamwork any longer.
[Q] If you go into a little more detail, would that not quell the controversy?
[A] There were so many issues, but I really do not want to shed light on any of them, so I am keeping quiet. There were many examples of yelling at the members and breaking down the teamwork. How would the T-ara members feel, who had trained for over three years? In order to not inflate this issue any further, I hope (Hwayoung) stays quiet.
Yeah. You read that right. KKS effectively threatened Hwayoung to shut up in a nationally published interview.

I Go Crazy Because of You (7/30 - 7/31)

The Ryu Twins "fire back" on Twitter, not taking the bullshit lying down.

Translation: "...Facts without the truth in them."
Perhaps in reply to Hwayoung's tweet and her not keeping quiet about the situation, KKS begins a systematic campaign to slander and destroy her reputation. Using alleged reports of Hwayoung acting out and behaving as a general bitch/diva, KKS hoped to justify his claims that the staff could no longer work with Hwayoung. He even goes back and contradicts previous stories when he claims Hwayoung was responsible for Jiyeon's attitude problems back in a 2010 performance of YaYaYa.

I don't know about you, but I distinctly remember KKS saying that Jiyeon was tired and overworked for that particular performance. He's clearly grasping at straws here, especially with Hwayoung's alleged diva behavior. Previously stating that she insisted on performing despite the wishes of her fellow members and staff, KKS has the audacity (or big brassy balls) to claim that she's refused to perform and threatened to throw tantrums in public. Really now.

Regardless of whether (or not) Hwayoung was bullied or a diva, CCM's mismanagement of PR has left T-ara embroiled in too much drama for advertisers to accept as they begin ending T-ara's endorsement contracts. Fancafes begin shutting down, and everyone continues to dig up more "evidence" of T-ara's bullying.

Meanwhile, numerous petitions for T-ara's disbandment sprung up and gain tens of thousands of signatures in support. In addition, a new group calling themselves "T-Jinyo" or "We Demand the Truth from T-ara" spring up with over 150,000 members.

Hwayoung's departure and subsequent T-ara drama has left a foul taste in everyone's mouth, and numerous celebrities have stepped up to talk about it. Everyone from E.Via to even Lil Miss Badass Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took to Twitter to voice an opinion on the matter. 

In the meantime, KKS has finally come to a bit of his senses by keeping T-ara on the downlow, indefinitely suspending all further activities including what was supposed to be their last official stage until the next round of promotions. It also would have been their first stage without Hwayoung as an official member, but that's beside the point.

Time to Listen (7/31)

Only a few minutes ago (as we were writing this very article as a matter of fact), Hwayoung issued an "official" "apology" to all of her fans.
Translation: "For all the fans that have loved me until now, I'm sorry that I only gave you disappointment. I want to stop for now, but please anticipate my more mature and developed image. I'm sorry for causing people to worry for me during this time. I also want to apologize to my Core Contents Media family members and will greet with you with a better image." 

Notice that she does not apologize to CCM the company, nor specifically name T-ara in this apology. Suspicious, very suspicious. KKS has mentioned that he would be willing to take Hwayoung back if she issued a sincere apology, so it remains to be seen what course of action will be taken next.


  1. omfg this was such a big shitmess. lol @ Kyary macros popping up during all this.

  2. This is a pretty legit article.

    1. Let it not be said that AKF has no journalistic credibility.

    2. My AKF bias will never be terminated right oppar

    3. I know, right

      sulli_fag is amazing.

    4. ;A; I can't catch a break around here. ;A;

    5. It's okay zaku oppa, you have me. sulli_fag ain't got nothing on you.


  3. THIS WAS ALL HIS PLAN TO GET HYPE FOR THE NEXT SINGLE! GENIUS! Now...how to get those endorsement deals back....

    1. Yes! I've been saying this the whole time. Everyone was falling prey to Kim Kwang Soo's genius plan.

    2. Nipslip, that's the only way for them to get endorsement deals. Errbody has to nipslip their right nipples.

  4. Replies
    1. Sure it is http://i.yai.bz/Assets/56/045/l_p0011204556.jpg

    2. You got an album with a typo on the cover

    3. Did you all forget about the initial misprint (http://tinyurl.com/ctune5x)? Or are ya'll just ruining my fun? :|

  5. KKS is the best CEO ever! You bunch of haters.

  6. The bitch in me(haha) is thinking maybe just maybe JYP is behind all of this (hacking taras twitter and releasing bullying issues) just so the spotlight would not be on nickhuns DUI??? But that's just me hahaha

  7. That kyary macro is fuking GOLD

    1. And did people see this tweet by the girl in SPICA? https://twitter.com/ppjwy/status/230156765776474112

    2. I saw it but jiwon didn't state her stand in this issue though.... I believe it must have been hard for her because eunjimin were her friends (?). But she definitely felt that hwayoung was the victim...

      My interpretation anyway

    3. It's even funnier that she was in 5-ara.

    4. The power of 5 - 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 - 1 + I don't know any more.

  8. Hwayoung shouldn't apologize what so ever. that is a bad ass chick make your unnirs look like a bunch of punk bitches.

  9. https://twitter.com/danicookie12

    Dani's twitter RIP in peace

    1. You do realize that RIP stands for Rest In Peace right?

      Or am I being trolled here.

  10. "Clap. *clap clap clap*" - Boram, 2012

    Trained seal words of wisdom. Also, you all know Boram gravity squeezed that umbrella. Call Senator Kelly! Tell him to release the Sentinels!

  11. Where's the JYP/Nichkhun macro?



  12. Has Korea not discovered labor rights? I know it's a contract and everything... Just interesting to me how the CEO can fire anyone at anytime for any reason with no recourse from the employee but in the case of Hangin he has to go through a multi-year court battle to get released from his. Different cases but whatever.

    1. Koreans take their contracts very seriously. Legally, Hwayoung could wipe the floor with CCM... there'll be all sorts of clauses about behaviour in idols' contracts, but the point is that CCM would then have to prove her indiscretions in court.

      So if he's confident enough to kick her out straight away, that must mean he still holds considerable influence over her. What form that is, whether dodgy stuff to blackmail her with, or threats over Hyoyoung's career, we can only guess.

    2. Welcome to the 21st century! Corporate control FTW!

      With South Korea being as commercialized as it is, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often...or maybe it does, and CEO's are just generally more smart than KKS. The bottom line is that if you ever feel like deliberately torturing yourself, you should enroll in a company situated in SK.
      What's that? You want motivation to kill yourself, now? Sorry, I don't have time to explain SK's educational system.

  13. I guess my point is just that labor stuff seems to always strongly favor the employer rather than be fair to both parties.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA has anyone seen this? http://www.soompi.com/2012/08/01/did-ccm-force-hwayoung-to-tweet-hwayoung-leaves-a-hidden-message-to-fans/

  15. My theory is that they're going to take Hwayoung back (the bullying thing is probably berserk; even CCM wouldn't come up with a excuse like that twitter thing), and this was all a huge and rather smart publicity stunt.

  16. My girl Qri is doing the right thing and staying away from this shit storm.

    1. Is she choosing to smartly do that, or does she never add her 2 cents into anything? She seems really reserved.

    2. Maybe she isn't the type of person to keep her opinions on others to herself.

      Personally, i think she was too busy on mole contemplation to worry about anything else.

  17. why do we even care bout it.seriously we got nothing by interferring with their stupid prob.its not like they some sort of special people.nor they even know our existance.2fight 4 something nonsense like dis shows how uncool we are.or should i say we become bimbo by fighting bout them

    1. ...what?

      (Also, kudos, zaku. Well-written and unbiased article.)

  18. Damn this whole story sent airwaves overseas! Even Kyary from Japan!

    But what will remain as a mystery is "Why"? Such a small incident that could've been handled behind the scenes has gone all the way to getting her contract terminated. Did KKS and CCM do it so that they could make more room for the 2 new members? We will never know.


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