The Rise and Fall of Red Velvet Irene Due to Attitude Controversy 

Irene, Red Velvet’s leader and a 3rd gen top visual, faced a career downfall post-attitude scandal

Red Velvet member Irene, hailed as a “3rd gen top visual,” once enjoyed a flourishing career in K-pop. Her stunning appearance and charismatic presence made her an idol to be reckoned with, securing numerous commercial deals. However, all that changed when she found herself embroiled in an attitude scandal.

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Irene’s infamous attitude scandal broke out in 2020. She was accused of displaying a condescending attitude and verbally abusing a staff member. This took a severe blow to her reputation. Despite issuing apologies and seeking reconciliation, Irene faced backlash from the public. There were even demands for her departure from Red Velvet.

Suspended solo activities

Irene’s activities were frozen for two years, during which time she saw a decline in her image in the public eye. Irene’s skills as an idol were not highly regarded. Despite taking on the role of Red Velvet’s main rapper, she still found herself in controversies over her talent.

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Starting from 2021, Red Velvet members shifted their focus to solo activities. Wendy made her solo debut with “Like Water,” Joy released “Hello,” Seulgi went solo with “28 Reasons,” while Yeri has been active as an actress. Meanwhile, Irene only participates in group activities. Her personal career suffered severe setbacks.

Loss of Advertising Contracts

One of the most glaring consequences of Irene’s attitude scandal was the loss of numerous advertising contracts. Irene was once a highly sought-after name among idols for various brands, including cosmetics, jewelry, and luxury fashion, but after her scandal, brands turned their backs on her. Prada even distanced themselves despite a recent ambassador contract. 


For three years following the scandal, Irene didn’t have any significant commercial deal, with all her activities restrained to social media. It took three years for Irene to make a return to the advertising world, and even then, not everyone has fully embraced her comeback.

Uncertain future with SM

Irene’s contract renewal with SM Entertainment remains uncertain. Recent reports suggest that she may not renew her contract with SM, leaving fans worried about the future of Red Velvet. As Red Velvet celebrates their 10th year anniversary next year, SM’s poor management of the group has drawn criticism, with fans fearing that Red Velvet could follow in the footsteps of their senior group f(x).


Irene’s career has faced a sharp decline in the aftermath of the attitude scandal, although she has made efforts to rebuild her image. If Irene leaves SM, she will likely focus entirely on her solo career, possibly acting. However, given the divided public response, it will be challenging for Irene to elevate her status to the top once again.

Source: K14