On November 9th, THE9’s youngest member, Yuyan wrote a long post on Weibo to everyone for her rude behaviour online before her debut.
In the past, the idol had been speculated by netizens to make many vulgar and sometimes misogynistic comments online through her posts and videos on social media.
Yuyan promised her fans that she would work hard and become a better Yuyan in the future, while also saying, “I accept everyone’s criticism of me, and thank you especially to everyone who has accompanied my growth. As a public figure, I not only work hard for my dreams, but also be more cautious in my words and deeds, and strive to become a person who can give others strength.”
Before making her debut in the survival show, Youth With You 2, netizens uncovered many snippets of what was supposedly Yuyan’s online accounts where she used foul language to comment in various social media platforms. She also allegedly displayed rude and sexist behavior, which led to the ire of some netizens.
[Trigger warning: Contains explicit use of language and content related to rape]
Though Yu Yan did not directly address whether these social media accounts truly did belong to her, or the specific behaviour in which she apologized for, these were the allegations uncovered by netizens.
The language she used on these social media platforms were rampant with vulgarities and also generally foul language.
Another instance of her bad behaviour also included a 17 second video uploaded to social media, where she recorded appeared to have recorded herself teaching a foreign man how to curse in Chinese. In that same video, they were also seen laughing happily after spewing the vulgarities.
As these deeds were done before Yuyan made her debut in THE9, netizens began to retrace her online foot prints which lead to a widespread discussion over the idol’s image and reputation.
Many were surprised at her behaviour, especially in an old video where she made seemingly degradatory and sexist remarks towards woman. In the video, she was heard saying the line, “Why do people have secret crushes on others [in this context it can also mean why do people have one-sided love]? In life there’s not much time for you to have so much internal conflicts. If you like her then rape her, what’s the point of confessing? You’d get rejected in the end. Go on, go and rape her, if you can’t rape her drug her […]”
However fans have argued that Yu Yan was saying these comments sarcastically in a manner that was poking fun of the “scumbag type” of men and mocking their manner of speech. They argued that she was merely imitating their behaviour in an ironic way, which was apparently a viral manner of doing so on the internet. However in the eyes of some netizens, these comments still seemed overboard, as it is unusual to talk about something as serious as rape even if done sarcastically.
Other netizens also uncovered photos of Yu Yan showing off her big tattoos and her piercings, which led to criticisms over the idol’s supposedly ‘clean image’.
While these rumours of Yu Yan continued to circulate online, the idol did not address the issues until recently as netizens have amassed a large amount of her comments made online.
Yu Yan’s apology in full
Yu Yan’s full statement on Weibo is as follow:
“Hello everyone, I am Yu Yan.
First of all, I sincerely apologize regarding my my past behaviour and the impact of my careless words online. I am sorry.
During this period of time, I have resolved some resistance and sorted out some things. I am here today to officially express my true inner thoughts to you. When I was a child, I didn’t seem to have any dreams. Later I fell in love with singing. Singing gradually became a part of my life and it gradually became my job. Until the first time I stood on the stage, that is, from that moment on, I started having a goal to work hard towards and finally realized my dream. I wanted to stand on the stage and sing.
I started to have access to the Internet from the age of 13 until now where I am 23. I am slowly becoming known to more and more people, and I have gradually started to understand the weight of the responsibilities that comes with increasing influence. When I look back, examine and reflect the the deeds from my past, I realized that I obviously lacked a good sense of judgement, and this is [ irresponsible to my fans. I accept everyone’s criticism of me, and I also thank you all for accompanying me in my growth. As a public figure, I am not just working hard to realize my dreams, but also in being more cautious in words and actions. I am working hard in striving to become a person who can help bring strength to others.
I love the place where I was born and brought up in, I respect the people who have worked hard in all walks of life. [I] thank the stage, and thank the people who love me. In future, I will be more responsible for my words and deeds, be strict with myself, work hard, actively spread positive energy, and become a better Yuyan.”
While some netizens feel that it is normal for idols even to have had bad behaviour in the past, especially when they were still young and ignorant, others feel that her past actions are difficult to accept.
But for now, Yu Yan has assured her fans that she is in the process of growing to become a better idol. Now that she has made an official statement, we hope that fans can be assured that she has reflected and understood what it means to be a public figure.