The Korean ballet sisters’ “allegations of bullying in junior high school” are now being widely refuted. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Korean ballet sisters’ “allegations of bullying in junior high school” are now being widely refuted.

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Sisters Lee Jae-yong (left) and Da-young, who were star athletes in South Korea before the controversy (PHOTO: Jiji Press)

I don’t want to be criticized for something I didn’t do.

In an interview with the Korean volleyball magazine “The Spike” on August 16, Lee Jae-young, 26, a former member of the national women’s volleyball team, expressed her indignation. Jae-young and her twin sister, Lee Da-young (26), are popular volleyball players who are often referred to as the “beauty sisters. They have appeared on TV variety shows and in commercials for Kia Motors and other companies. She was expected to be a leading star in women’s volleyball in Korea.

However, …….

“In February ’21, the sisters were exposed online by a victim as having been spectacularly bullied in middle school. Several teammates were verbally abused, saying they were ‘dirty’ and ‘don’t come over to the side,’ and were beaten up during meetings for not being ‘spirited enough. A former player who shared a room in the dormitory said he was ordered to run errands after lights out, and when he refused, he was threatened with a knife.

When they lost a game, some were hit on the head with their fists. The sisters demanded money in the form of “fines” if they were deemed not tense enough during practice. After practice, they took turns giving massages to the players.

I’d like to know what they were up to.

When the accusations became public, the sisters came under intense criticism. Their team suspended them indefinitely, and the two released a handwritten apology in which they said, “I want to apologize directly” and “I regret what I have done. Their national team status was also revoked, and their goal of competing in the Tokyo Olympics was also closed.

Even so, the bashing of the sisters did not stop. I guess they couldn’t stand the constant criticism. In October 2009, they gave up playing domestically and transferred to a team in Greece.

The bashing gradually subsided after the sisters moved abroad. However, now the furor is about to resurface, as Dayon, who returned to Japan on August 5, responded to the media gathered at Incheon International Airport, including the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper, as follows.

I want to correct what has been wrongly reported. (When I got into trouble with my teammates (in middle school), my sister Jaeyeon was not there. Jae-young had nothing to do with the criticism against me.

About 10 days later, Jaeyeon expressed her dissatisfaction to a ballet magazine, as mentioned above. She stated

[Joon] was asked to pay 100 million won (approx. 10 million yen) as a settlement by the person who accused her of being a bully. We cannot pay such a high amount. We demanded repeatedly that he apologize in person. But the other party said, ‘I don’t want to see you.’ We want to know what their intentions are for suddenly revealing a trouble that happened more than 10 years ago.

Why did the sisters act in such a way as to rehash a once-silenced disturbance?

The older sister, Jaeyoung, injured her knee and left an overseas team. After her injury healed, she wanted to play domestically, but she was unable to find a new team, perhaps because the teams were afraid of a public outcry. The sisters are still in their mid-20s. It is too early for them to retire. They must have been unable to bear the plight of not being able to play and decided to speak out against it in order to break through the current situation.

The beautiful sisters must have resumed their comments with a determination to receive further criticism. Whether they will be understood by the public remains to be seen.

  • PHOTO Jiji Press

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