Stray Kids’ Hyunjin (Twitter)

K-pop boy band Stray Kids’ member Hyunjin has resumed after apologizing and taking a break for four months over accusations of bullying that happened while he was in middle school (equivalent to junior high school in the Philippines).

Stray Kids released the single “Mixtape: Oh” on June 26 (KST), heralding Hyunjin’s comeback as a member of the group. 

His agency, JYP Entertainment, announced that Hyunjin will join Stray Kids’ activities starting next month after undergoing self-reflection over the school violence controversy. 

The agency said regarding Hyunjin’s past actions of hurting people around him in middle school with harsh language, “Hyunjin met with people who could be identified in February, apologized in person, cleared up misunderstandings and decided to support each other in the future.” 

“During the period of stopping his activities, he had a time to reflect while continuing to donate and do volunteer work, which he has been doing since debut.  He will join Stray Kids’ schedule from July and will show a more upright attitude and a mature mindset.”

In February, Hyunjin’s middle school classmate accused him of verbal abuse. The writer said that at the end of second year of middle school, they were invited to a class chat room where Hyunjin and other male students posted abusive words and harassment. 

School violence under Korea’s Act on the Prevention of and Countermeasures Against Violence In Schools is defined as “actions committed against students inside or outside of school premises resulting in a physical or mental injury, or damage to property through a battery, assault, confinement, threat, kidnapping, abduction, defamation, insult, extortion, coercion, forced errand, sexual violence, bullying, or cyber-bullying, or with obscene or violent information via an information and communications network.”

On Feb. 27, JYP Entertainment announced that Hyunjin will stop all his activities. 

“We would like to inform you about the future activities of Stray Kids’ Hyunjin. We are currently contacting everyone in-charge of the activities for which Hyunjin was already committed to participate in and coordinating the best way to cancel the activities that would minimize the damage. This process took some time and the announcement of Hyunjin’s future activities was delayed,” it said. 

It added, “Hyunjin will self-reflect after stopping all his activities as a celebrity. He is sincerely regretting hurting many people with harsh and inappropriate words during his middle school days . He sincerely apologized to those who have been hurt and he will do his best to heal their wounds. We sincerely apologize for causing great concern.”

Hyunjin wrote an apology on Feb. 26 about the controversy. 

“First of all, I sincerely apologize to those who were hurt by my wrong words and actions while in school. Looking back at what I did in my days when I was lacking, I am ashamed and there is no excuse. I realized that my words and actions, in which I didn’t know how to be considerate of others, hurt others. It’s too late but I will reflect on it deeply,” he said. 

He added, “I don’t think I can ever be forgiven for inflicting an unforgettable wound on someone  whether intentionally or unintentionally. I am deeply reflecting as I know that the scars I left will not disappear completely just because I apologized and the apology was accepted.”

As a result of the controversy, Korean cosmetics company Clio has deleted photos and other promotional materials related to Stray Kids, its new brand model. In March, Clio resumed promotions using Stray Kids’ photos, but without Hyunjin.

Source: Manila Bulletin (