T-ara Scandal Spells High School D-R-A-M-A
Although rumors of member conflicts within boy bands and girl groups are nothing new to the K-Pop scene, we’ll admit it still surprises us when we hear that our favorite idols aren’t as synchronized within their groups as their neat and tidy choreographies on stage lead them on to be.
Such rumors of bullying and members ostracizing one another have followed girl group T-ara around for quite some time, but it was often pushed under the rug. Until July 25, that is, when the T-ara members made a surprisingly rookie move and seemingly brought out the kitty claws through a series of elusive tweets on Twitter.
The problem is, no one thought the Bo Peep Bo Peep kitty cat act was cute this time around.
Maybe the girls thought they were being clever with their passive aggressive tweets—directed at no one in particular, but all saying the same thing, it seemed—on “will,” “determination” and “humility.” Maybe the members thought the tweets would be their own little inside joke, with “^^” (smiley faces) sprinkled throughout.
But the joke backfired, as it didn’t take long for speculations suggesting the tweets were directed at member Hwa Young, who was unable to perform for most of the group’s shows in Japan due to an ankle injury, to rise. It didn’t help that Hwa Young’s own tweet “just will is not enough” a few days later seemed to be a response to the other members’ previous tweets.
The controversy quickly exploded into a he said, she said mess in the days that followed as individuals, from Japanese staff members to those claiming to be a dancer for T-ara and even a trainee, added fuel to the member conflict rumors. Not to mention the onslaught of netizen backlash and companies pulling out of their endorsement deals with T-ara.
But whether the rumors are true or not, the current state of the controversy boils down to a PR issue.
We can appreciate that social networking websites like Twitter have enabled idol stars to appear less like robots, whose every move is controlled by their agencies, and more like approachable human beings.
But as public figures, the T-ara members were lacking in foresight when they decided to air what appeared to be their dirty laundry out on Twitter.
Let’s be honest, it was a dumb move on the girls’ part, especially because member conflict rumors had been swirling around the group for a while.
This then leads us to wonder why they did it in the first place—maybe to draw a little attention to themselves without revealing too much? Because what better place to accomplish just that than on Twitter, where you have hundreds of thousands of followers and 140 characters to say whatever you want without actually saying it?
Sounds like high school drama if you ask us. The girls just didn’t expect reality to hit them so hard once the high school bubble popped.
If the T-ara members are the so-called queen bees and Hwa Young the outcast in this high school drama, as the public has made them out to be, Core Contents Media CEO Kim Kwang Soo is the principal, whose attempts to do some damage control following the mess his ‘students’ created for themselves only served to cloud the issue further.
It was dramatic enough that Core Contents Media proclaimed it would be making an “important announcement” soon after the members’ tweets gave rise to more rumors. But the press release issued on July 30 only left us more confused with Kim Kwang Soo starting off by going on the defense about the member conflict rumors being unfounded then concluding with the announcement that Hwa Young’s contract would be terminated and that she would be leaving the group. We’re sorry, but we don’t follow.
And we know better than to believe every rumor flying around, but Kim Kwang Soo’s attempt to mediate the issue, then later publicly accusing Hwa Young of acting out and then asking her to “accept responsibility for what she has done” and to “apologize for her actions.” Still not following.
We’d be surprised if time just sweeps this scandal under the rug, but anytime anyone related to the controversy speaks up, we’re left with more questions than answers.
T-ara, however, seems to be set on trudging on the best it can, most recently announcing an arena tour set for next year.
Meanwhile, the drama continues as Tijinyo shows no signs of backing down, with plans to hold a demonstration in front of Core Contents Media office on August 4.
High school was fun, but thank you T-ara for reminding us why we don’t ever want to go back.
Photo credit: Core Contents Media, T-ara members′ Twitters