On August 15, in a series of Instagram posts, rookie girl group ANS‘s Haena exposed the bullying she said to have experienced. In the posts, Haena claimed that she suffers panic disorder — caused by the alleged bullying — and that she ultimately attempted to take her own life.
This, following her earlier upload of one cryptic message on Instagram stories, immediately made fans grow extremely concerned for Haena’s mental health — as well as the group’s current situation.
In response, the remaining seven members of ANS released an official statement August 20, “clarifying the situation” and revealing that the group has actually disbanded as of August 11.
Hello, this is ANS’s Lina, J, Royeon, Dalyn, Raon, Bian, and Dami. That’s everyone except Haena. First, we’d like to apologize to our fans for the concerns raised by the recent media coverage about our group. We understand the news could create misunderstandings and worries, so we decided to share the details regarding the current situation that we’re facing.
As of August 11, all members of ANS except Haena have requested that our contracts with the agency be terminated effective immediately — with the help of our legal representative. We believe, however, that our trouble with the agency has something to do with Haena’s trouble with the agency. Thus, we found it reasonable for us to clarify the situation and explain ourselves to our fans. While it is shameful to reveal everything, here is what happened.
Members revealed that the agency, ANS Entertainment, has been nothing but neglectful in taking care of the group. According to the statement, ANS members have been on their own since early 2020.
Our agency, ANS Entertainment, has laid off most of the employees in March then again in April. We had no one taking care of us, not even a manager. By June 14, the agency got rid of the office. We had to move our dorm from Sinsa-dong (Seoul) to Gimpo. Since then, we have been without a practice room. Without a manager, it has been up to us to communicate and stay on top of our schedules. No one was taking care of the fan cafe, so we pretended to be employees in charge of managing that page. Most of the time, we only got one vehicle so some members ended up having to take taxis. That’s why when we held the fan meeting on June 20, we ran into a lot of problems during the event. If we didn’t have the help of former employees who visited the fan meeting for us, the event would have completely fallen apart.
When the agency no longer provided the essential training that idols require to successfully grow in the industry…
As embarrassing as this is to admit, we have received no vocal and dance lessons thus far. All we had ever received was about ₩10,000 KRW ($8 USD) per day, per member. On the weekends, we didn’t even get that much. So in reality, we received no support or management from the agency. We asked the agency that we at least get some vocal and dance lessons, but the agency denied saying that there is no money. We tried to understand, as things are difficult right now because of the pandemic. But even so, the neglect had been too extreme. And we couldn’t sit around any longer because we had our fans waiting for us. We also didn’t want to waste our time.
… ANS took legal action against the agency. In the statement, members claimed that ANS Entertainment “verbally abused” them when they asked for proper management.
With legal help, we sent the agency an official request on July 22. We requested that as per our contracts, we are provided the proper management. We requested that the agency has an office and practice rooms. We requested vocal and dance lessons. We gave the agency 14 days to correct the breach of our contracts. Unfortunately, the agency opted to call one of our mothers and insist that the agency is not guilty of anything. The agency also threatened and verbally abused us by saying, “The agency is planning on eliminating members so ANS can be comprised of members who have good character. The rest are garbage. The agency is also going to make sure that the eliminated members stay home and get depression so they can’t ever return to the industry.” Once we became fed up with this, we filed for termination on August 11.
As the members vs. the agency’s conflict deepened, that’s when Haena’s struggle with the agency came to light. The members pointed out that they themselves “didn’t really have problems with Haena” per se — contrary to what Haena’s since-deleted Instagram posts suggested.
That’s when Haena’s struggles surfaced. Coincidentally, right after we sent the agency our official request, the agency talked to us about Haena’s problems. Shortly after, the agency told us that Haena had been hospitalized and that we needed to visit her. And after we took legal action against the agency, Haena shared those Instagram posts.
To be honest, we didn’t have any issues with Haena. It’s not like our relationship with her had been bad. She became a part of the group in December 2019, as our maknae member. She was in 11th grade at the time so she had to go to school. When the agency started having difficulties with operating, we as a group stopped having a lot of opportunities to perform. So really, Haena and we didn’t even get to spend that much time together.
At most, the members recalled, their “bullying” might have been when they tried to convince Haena to return to school — after she tested negative for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Members claimed that while they tried to be persuasive, they didn’t raise their voices or get upset with Haena.
As for Haena’s claim that we bullied her, we think that she may be talking about the time we tried to convince her to go back to school after she got tested for COVID-19. She went to a PC cafe where someone who tested positive also visited. So on May 29, Haena got tested. Fortunately, her test came out negative. The clinic mandated that she stays in quarantine for three days regardless. And around that time, we didn’t have any employees taking care of us — so we were the ones reading Haena’s school announcements. At one point, we ended up speaking to Haena’s school teacher. On June 8, her teacher called and said that she had not been back to school even though her three day quarantine had been way over. The teacher then told us that Haena had been using her agency schedule as an excuse to miss school for quite a while now. Even on the day she was supposed to have her graduation picture taken, Haena missed school saying she had an agency schedule. But it turned out she didn’t have anything officially scheduled.
The members also insisted that when they talked to Haena, they had been “Only supportive with Haena and left no hard feelings behind“.
That day, we asked Haena to meet us at a cafe. We told her what we heard from her teacher and asked her what’s going on. Haena didn’t really explain, but said the reasons are personal. So we persuaded her that between all of us there should be no secrets or lies. And we asked that she comes and talks to us if there’s something she wants to discuss. We encouraged each other to keep trying our best. We never cursed at her or scolded her. And something like this should have been handled by the agency. But the agency didn’t care, so we had to be the ones looking after Haena’s school life too.
According to the statement, the members claimed that after having the talk, Haena allegedly called to say that she needs time to think about her career. The members claimed that they have not spoken to Haena since June 12.
The next day, Haena called one of the members and talked about her mental health problems. She also said that she would like to talk to her parents about her career and decide where she wants to go from here on. We said we would respect her decision. We told her that she should talk to the agency and then tell us what happens. Since then, Haena had been impossible to reach. The on June 12, Haena contacted two of the members, stating that she was “going through a lot of things” and that she was “sorry for being hard to contact.” She said she would get back to us when she becomes stable. That was the last time we heard from Haena. She didn’t attend the fan meeting on June 20 either. We had to re-arrange our choreography last minute. Then, after we sent the agency our official request, we were told to visit Haena at the hospital. The agency made it sound like we were the reasons Haena ended up at the hospital. We were terrified that the agency might be plotting something against us. We couldn’t even reach out to Haena because we were so worried. When we heard that she was okay, we were relieved.
The members raised the question of whether ANS Entertainment is trying to blame Haena’s issue with the agency on the rest of the members. And while the members don’t believe there is anything wrong between them and Haena, they claimed they are open to sit and talk with Haena — in the possible case that she does harbor hard feelings against the rest of the members.
Honestly, Haena must have been mentally strained because ANS’s future as a girl group became uncertain when the agency fell apart. And because she got no monetary support, she must have been financially strained too. We don’t hold anything against Haena — we never have. And if Haena would be open to talk to us, we’d love to sit and talk with her. And if there has been any misunderstandings, we want to clear them away.
But we do want to point out the fact that Haena’s issues only surfaced as the rest of the members began trying to terminate the contracts. And seeing from how the agency sounded pretty set on ruining our futures and lives, we can’t help but feel like the agency is pitching Haena against us.
At the end of their long statement, ANS members thanked their fans for being loyal and supportive through the short time they had been active. They asked that the fans try to understand why they opted to go against the agency and face disbandment.
Dear fans, we’ve been blessed with your love and support. We’re terribly sorry that we caused you guys to worry with this situation. We terminated our contracts with the agency because we had no other choice. We have no idea what will happen to us from here on. We feel like we’re standing on nothing. We don’t know if we can continue to work in the industry. We don’t know if we can even remain one team. But even so, we chose to fight against the agency. We ask for your understanding. And should we be given another chance at this, we promise that we’ll return as better versions of ourselves. Thank you so much for everything.
August 20, 2020
ANS’s Lina, J, Royeon, Dalyn, Raon, Bian, and Dami
Neither Haena nor ANS Entertainment has responded to the members’ statement. Meanwhile, fans are furious at the agency for its “absolute lack of professionalism“.
- “Oh I get it. The agency was trying to cover sh*t up by pitching Haena against the rest of the members, huh? Trying to destroy their futures and stuff. My god…”
- “Man… I liked watching their performances. I feel so sorry for them.”
- “I watched their performance once because they promoted alongside my bias group. I thought they had great potential. What happened…?”
- “You know… small agencies really outdo themselves every time some bullsh*t like this happens. I hope the members can figure things out.”
- “Aw man, I had my eyes on this rookie group! I hope they can find a better agency and that they can eventually return to stage.”
- “What a statement. Thank you for sharing everything about what happened. Now we know the ugly truth behind small agencies who are absolutely worthless.”