YG CEO Says Park Bom Is Reason for 2NE1’s Disbandment
2NE1's disbandment in 2016 caused an immediate pointing of fingers among fans looking for someone to blame, from CL and her absence to embark on her long-awaited, yet-to-be launched U.S. solo career to youngest member Minzy's departure earlier that year to become a solo star.
But according to YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun Suk, the reason is apparently...Park Bom.
In a new interview with Yonhap News this week, Yang Hyun Suk spoke about his label's biggest acts and their plans for 2017 — as well as the sudden disbandment of 2NE1.
Already, his response has garnered a strong reaction from fans around the world.
“When Gong Minzy moved to a different agency, I wanted to save 2NE1. What led to the decision to disband the group was the state of Park Bom’s mental health," he revealed during the interview. (English translation via Soompi.)
"After ‘the incident (Park Bom’s drug scandal),’ the criticisms we received were endless. But in addition to the stress and guilt from that, I’m sure Park Bom would have felt a strong determination to continue 2NE1. I told her, ‘2NE1 is important, but I wish for you to be healthy, both mentally and physically.'”
For those unfamiliar with the situation, news first broke in 2014 that a shipment of amphetamines from the United States sent to Park Bom, considered illegal in South Korea, but legal in America, was stopped at customs back in 2010.
In a statement at the time, Yang Hyun Suk revealed that the medication was for treating depression as a result of childhood trauma, prescribed by an American university hospital which reportedly provided evidence of the diagnosis.
Still, Park Bom received intense backlash for "smuggling drugs" into South Korea, and largely stayed out of the public spotlight ever since.
As a result, Yang Hyun Suk says he made the decision to end 2NE1. But it's not necessarily completely over: “You never know what can happen," he added. "It’s possible they’ll get back together like S.E.S. It may not be as long of a break [as S.E.S], but I’m thinking there’ll be a day when the reunion happens.”
Reactions to Yang Hyun Suk's comments are mixed among fans, but largely supportive of Park Bom.
"People keep blaming Yang Hyun Suk for 2NE1's disbandment but it's KNets that kill the group. Bom must have felt a big burden on the group's hiatus and all the criticisms toward the group because of her," one fan wrote.
"I remember watching Bom crying on Roommate and it made me realize how vulnerable of a person she was...I don't think people understand the situation quite well because they've never experienced say, anxiety or depression, which is why they probably won't believe Yang Hyun Suk when he says he's concerned for this. I think the YG people made the right decision."
Others found his remarks hypocritical: "You want her to take care of her mental health and basically go and tell everyone she has mental problems. The irony is big in this one," a fan wrote.
And some just flat-out disagreed with his approach: "'I'm sure' Bom would have wanted to continue? So he didn't even ask her? Sorry, I still hate him. Bom deserved better. So did [WINNER's] Taehyun. So did a lot of people."
On the same day that 2NE1's disbandment was announced in November of last year, YG Entertainment cancelled WINNER's Nam Tae Hyun's contract with the popular group, citing concern for his mental health.
“The remaining members made his health and recovery the priority and hoped for improvement, but it’s difficult to say when he will recover and return because it’s a psychological issue he has dealt with since he was young," a YG source said at the time.
While the manner in which these two related incidents were handled by YG Entertainment is certainly up for debate — after all, shouldn't Bom be the one to speak for herself? — with any luck, these situations can also hopefully aid in increasing dialogue and understanding of these issues in South Korea (and beyond) to destigmatize mental illness.
Today (Jan. 20), Park Bom uploaded two scans of her diary on Instagram. "This is my diary from 2 years ago...I just wanted to post this up to show it to my fans all around the world," she wrote.
2NE1's final single, "Goodbye," will be released on January 21.
2NE1 Through the Years: