It’s been less than a day and another Hwa-young is making headlines in South Korea.
Actress, Ryu Hwa-young, and her twin sister, Hyo-young, featured as the main guests on the live talk show, Taxi. As the format of the show is to have a host drive guests around in a taxi while allowing said guests to speak about their lives, no one was surprised to see the girls tear up while talking about girl group, T-ARA, on the show.
The T-ARA scandal might not mean much to newer K-pop fans, but it dominated news coverage and online communities in 2012. The girl group had been steadily rising in popularity before Hwa-young joined the group mid-2010. T-ARA finally hit the peak of the career with consecutive hit tracks, like “Roly Poly” (2011) and “Lovey Dovey” (2012). At this time, their fame and brand name could rival even that of Girls’ Generation.
Their fame prompted their company, CCM (now MBK), to milk the girls for what they were worth and their schedules were packed with different events and concerts. Hwa-young injured her leg before a concert in Japan in 2012 and only performed one song as a result. Following the end of the concert, the members were embroiled in conflict with Hwa-young on Twitter.
Netizens quickly compiled “evidence” of the members bullying Hwa-young and Hwa-young won public sympathy. T-ARA lost their fans, their public image, their advertisement contracts and even had their company building egged. Shortly after, Hwa-young was removed from the group and promoted as an actress, often mentioning the T-ARA scandal to her favor in interviews.
After the Ryu twins shed tears talking about the scandal again on Taxi yesterday, a former T-ARA staff member leaked a Kakaotalk conversation between Hwa-young’s sister Hyo-young and the youngest T-ARA member, Ah-reum.
“I’ll scratch your face so hard you won’t be able to go out on broadcast,” threatened Hyo-young. “I’m not going to be a singer anymore so just wait. Dogs need to be beaten to get their sh*t together”.
Hyo-young’s current agency, B.A.M Company, released a statement hours later admitting that the text messages were real, but that Hyo-young had only sent them to defend her younger sister.
Later in the day, MBK Entertainment said in an interview with news outlet OSEN, “Though there were aspects we felt were unfair when the incident first occurred 5 years ago in July of 2012, we didn’t explain this situation. At the time, the public had already turned their backs on T-ARA, so no one would have believed it if we said anything”.
“The truth from 5 years ago has come to light, but to be honest, we don’t welcome it. The misunderstanding has been clarified, but from the T-ARA members’ point of view, it’s tough that this has become a big issue again. It’s also tough to handle from our company’s perspective”.
Public sentiment currently sides with T-ARA and other staff members of T-ARA, current and former, are coming out with more stories and evidence that Hwa-young had fabricated her injury, acted out while in the group and lied to cosplay as a victim after she had left the group.