Controversy Over Karina’s Apology Letter, Industry Claims ‘Evidence of SM Management Collapse’

 Sacrificing the Fandom for Apology

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Karina apologized through a handwritten letter on her SNS on the 5th regarding the dating news with actor Lee Jaewook. The letter conveyed apologies to the surprised fans.

However, the apology method stirred controversy. By apologizing directly on a platform like social media where millions can see, it seemed to give a strange treatment to ‘My’ and only fueled the fandom’s anger. It’s worth noting that Karina’s SNS has over 12.79 million followers, and the comments on her apology letter surpassed 140,000.

It seems like fans wanted Karina to break the news of the dating rumors through their communication channels first. Especially considering that Aespa has a strong female fanbase, there’s a sense of disappointment that SM Entertainment didn’t understand how important it is to handle things the right way for them.

One music promotion insider put it this way: “The female fandom operates differently. They don’t want their favorite artists falling behind in competition with other idol groups because of external factors.” It’s kind of like the idea of rooting for the home team in sports.

Incomprehensible Choice by SM

Karina’s action of apologizing through SNS without prior communication with the fandom seems like an obvious ‘mistake.’ However, this is not Karina’s mistake but a clear mistake by SM Entertainment’s management. It’s hard to believe that this is the best solution a company that is home to groups like Red Velvet and NCT could come up with.

In reality, many stars have traditionally used their communication channels with fans rather than personal SNS when revealing their dating or marriage news. This is because in the current structure of the K-pop industry, keeping the fans happy is key.

A former official from one of the four major entertainment companies in Korea commented, “For the agency, which must protect the value of its affiliated artists and also safeguard the fandom, as well as the investors’ assets, they should have engaged in ‘defense against media coverage’ once the issues regarding personal lives or dating rumors surfaced.” He expressed concerns about how SM handled things, making the situation worse than it had to be.

He added, “The agency’s need for swift ‘media defense’ is not just about protecting the artist but also about safeguarding the fandom, which has a significant influence on the company’s revenue. It’s not just an emotional issue but a rational one that requires careful handling.”

-Things seem to have gotten even noisier after she posted her apology letter…

-With the stock price dropping and shareholders going crazy, how could she not apology?

-Journalists these days seem to write in the same level as K-Netz’s comments…

-What does that have to do with SM Ent. failing?ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

-Well, Sm must have its reasons. Karina must have her own thoughts too, and who would want their artists or company to be criticized? Isn’t Dispatch at fault first for taking the photos without knowing the whole story? Personally, I think it’s okay for an artist to admit to dating. It seems a bit fake to pretend otherwise to the fans while doing everything behind the scenes. 

-The way SM Ent. handles this matter is absolutely regretful, but it’s still better than other large agencies at media defense

-That’s true, but I wish they’d stop talking about this dating news now…

-What’s a media defense? Blocking articles from coming up?

-Even if they tried to block journalists from writing articles about her, fans know everything. Honestly, it’s even worse if they try to manipulate the public’s opinion. 

-Isn’t Karina in one of SM Ent.’s top girl groups? I don’t understand why they handled this matter like that.

-They posted it on Instagram, and now even people who weren’t interested are making a fuss because only the fans are being criticized. The way SM Ent. is handling this is really disappointing.

-Ultimately, it’s true that real fans who were already upset are now being mocked and hit from all sides because of that one apology. The way SM Ent. handles this matter was wrong.

-Then what should Karina have done instead…?

-SM wasn’t kidding about their mysterious concept since the 2000s. While other agencies aim for a friendly image, SM has always had this ‘celebrity among celebrities’ vibe, but lately, they’ve been too open, too communicative, and because of that, SM’s unique vibe is disappearing.