JYP Entertainment, home to K-pop girl group ITZY, denied Tuesday allegations that member Lia bullied her classmate when she was in middle school.
The company recently filed a complaint with police against an internet user in her 20s for allegedly defaming Lia with the bullying allegations, but the case was dropped. JYP said it will ask the law enforcement agency to reinvestigate the allegations, which have "tarnished" Lia's reputation.
"The fact that she (the accuser) has been cleared of the defamation suspicion does not imply that Lia bullied her," the label said in a statement. "We are planning to request a reinvestigation so that the truth can be uncovered. We believe no one should fall victim to distortion."
The Incheon Yeonsu Police Station said it decided not to send the case to the prosecution as there was insufficient evidence that the accuser fabricated her stories to tarnish Lia's name.
"The aim of the investigation was not to find out whether Lia committed violence in the past," a police official told the Edaily, a local media outlet Tuesday.
The accuser raised the bullying suspicion first in 2018, insisting Lia ― whose real name is Choi Ji-su ― verbally abused her. She also claimed that the star did not pay back money she borrowed from her classmate and ostracized another student for no clear reason.
Lia, 20, debuted as a member of ITZY in 2019 with the track "Dalla Dalla." With the song, ITZY, consisting of Yeji, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, Yuna and Lia, clinched the No. 1 spot on a Korean music show only 10 days after its debut.
Since then, the quintet has put out a series of hits, including "Icy" (2019) and "Not Shy" (2020), becoming one of the most sought-after K-pop rookie groups. With its latest release, "Guess Who," ITZY entered the Billboard 200 chart for the first since its debut, grabbing the No. 148 spot.
source: The Korea Times