PETALING JAYA, Oct 23 — K-pop girl group Red Velvet has pulled out of an online fanmeeting after member Irene was accused by a stylist of committing verbal and emotional abuse.
Korean news outlet Herald Pop reports that the band will not be appearing at the 2020 Korean Culture Festival, a day after Irene, 29, apologised on Instagram for hurting the stylist with her “foolish attitude.”
The controversy began when Kang Kook-hwa, who has worked on pictorials with various Korean stars, took to Instagram on October 20 to talk about an unnamed female celebrity who she described as “disqualified from being human.”
Kang wrote that she had to endure “hysterical fits” and found herself in a powerless position as the celebrity “spewed insults” in her face during a recent work event.
“I experienced hell for 20 minutes in an unfamiliar room. This person didn’t greet me at all and sat right down and began spewing insults at my face with her cellphone pointed at me.
“This person was so emotional that you couldn't know if she was talking to everyone in the room or just me. But either way, the target today was me,” Kang wrote, according to translations from Allkpop.
She compared the celebrity to former Korean Air vice president Heather Cho, who became infamous in a “nut rage” incident after she stopped a plane from taking off because she was unhappy with the way a flight attendant had served her nuts in first class.
Kang also claimed that she had heard many stories of the unnamed celebrity's tendency to mistreat her staff members and that she possessed a recording of the person verbally abusing her.
In the now-deleted post, Kang included the hashtags #psycho and #monster which are titles of Red Velvet’s songs, leading fans to speculate if Irene was the idol being referred to in her post.
Irene later admitted to being the figure at the centre of the controversy through an apology posted on her Instagram yesterday.
“I am regretting and reflecting on the fact that I have hurt many people who have worked with me up to this point, due to my immature behaviour.
“The recent events helped me look back on my past, and I am feeling ashamed of my lacking behaviour, actions, and words,” Irene wrote, based on translations by Koreaboo.
Red Velvet’s label SM Entertainment also issued a statement saying that Irene has met with the stylist to apologise to her in person.
“Irene met the stylist in person this afternoon and sincerely apologised for the pain she caused the stylist due to her careless attitude and emotional outbursts and actions.
“We are very sorry for concerning many people with her immature image,” the company said.