APRIL's Kim Chaewon has opened up about former member of the group Lee Hyunjoo's allegations of team bullying. She took to APRIL's fan café to clear her stand and refuted all the claims made by Hyunjoo. Chaewon's statement read: "After much deliberation, I am writing this post to clarify that there is no truth in Hyunjoo's allegations."
She stared her post by apologizing to fans who have been disappointed with the bullying controversy. She requested her fans to read the complete post even if they find it long. Chaewon stated that in a lengthy post, she had revealed why Hyunjoo's claims were false.
She started the post by telling that she had joined the group APRIL along with Hyunjoo. She also said that her mother was a close friend of Hyunjoo's mother and that was one more reason for her to take care of Hyunjoo.
Hyunjoo Disappearance Saga
Explaining Hyunjoo's behaviour when the group was getting ready for debut, Chaewon said: "While preparing for our debut, Hyunjoo often claimed that her body hurt and had a hard time practicing. She did not participate, even when there were lessons that were needed, and although the managers did their best to take care of her, she continued to say it was hard, even during the times we had to work the hardest before debut. Still, as an older sister, I tried to take care of her, and Hyunjoo became dependent of me, so I thought of Hyunjoo as a really close friend."
She also mentioned videos of the team and said, "If you take a look at actual videos, and not the ones that were maliciously edited, you can see that Hyunjoo and I have always been close friends. But as soon as we debuted, the thing I worried about the most happened."
Explaining Hyunjoo's disappearance saga, Chaewon said: "We made our first debut stage on The Show on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. Later on Friday, we went to the shop for Music Bank performance, but realized that Hyunjoo had suddenly disappeared. Hyunjoo still did not appear and we had to finish the stage with five members and wait anxiously for her return. But before the live broadcast, Hyunjoo stated, 'We still have to do the live broadcast' while returning to the waiting room as if nothing had happened," said Chaewon.
APRIL – The Rude Girl Group!
Because of Hyunjoo missing out on rehearsals just a week after debut, APRIL was known as the rude girl group. Chaewon said that Hyunjoo did not think about the team. "To miss out on practice, Hyunjoo would say that she had tinnitus, her knees hurt, her wrists hurt, her ankles hurt, her head hurts, and she always had a spot that hurt every day," revealed Chaewon.
Giving an insight into the control agency has over idols, Chaewon said: "According agency's management policy, we did not have personal cellphones from pre-debut times in 2015 to September 2017. During this time, the six of us shared a single 'team cellphone,' which was not a smartphone. The agency would check call histories and for anyone who went over the limit, there would be some sort of a penalty."
"At one point, however, Hyunjoo started using her personal cellphone. While the rest of us could only go home during the holidays, Hyunjoo commuted from home," Chaewon said.
Cheawon also expressed her disappointment over the agency and said that the she along with other members did not have any clue as to why the agency let Hyunjoo do everything she wanted. "This might make you think we bullied Hyunjoo because of this [discrimination]. But no, I actually tried to help Hyunjoo as much as I could. My goal was to protect APRIL as a group," Chaewon clarified.
Truth behind Kimbap Incident
Explaining about Hyunjoo's brother's claims, Chaewon said that the day they went on THE SHOW for a Tinkerbell performance, they got the kimbap as part of the fans' support. They had left the food in the car while waiting for their turn.
"When Hyunjoo arrived, she made a face about the kimbop smell. She then started spraying her perfume all over, inside the car with the windows up. Jinsol and Yena, who were sitting in the back seats, got sprayed on. We asked her to stop spraying because it was giving us headaches. She got aggressive though, attacking the members with vicious words and raising her voice. Again, because I've always been the one to try and help Hyunjoo by her side, I asked her to keep her voice down. I was worried that our fans outside the car might hear her," said Chaewon.
Chaewon said that that was the first time she asked Hyunjoo to stop and Hyunjoo ended up getting frustrated with extreme irritation. The next day APRIL had a Show Champion performance scheduled, but Hyunjoo did not show up and the show was cancelled.
Chaewon's Questions to Hyunjoo
Chaewon posed some questions to Hyunjoo.
Why did you go behind my back and frame me as someone who bullied you?
Why did you turn me into this betrayer?
Why did you make up all those lies and rumors about me and why did you spread them?
Giving a reason for writing such a lengthy post after being quite for a long time, Chaewon said, "So many of us are still suffering in pain because of the lies that she [Hyunjoo] spread, but she's out there posting videos on her YouTube channel. She looks happy. But I would like her to undo the damage now. I've stayed quiet as long as I could. I hope she learns that the attention and fame she gains this way will never last. And I hope she knows that the truth always prevails," said Chaewon.