20131202_seoulbeats_sm-rookies_taeyongOn December 11, 2014 SM rookie Tae-yong released a statement through SM Entertainment apologizing for his shady online behavior prior to becoming a trainee with the entertainment company.

Allegations of Tae-yong’s past deliquencies began to surface last week through fan cafés and forum posts that detailed the trainee’s involvement with online auction scamming back in 2009. Reportedly, before training with SM, Tae-yong participated heavily in the online buying and selling of used items.

According to accounts, Tae-yong knowingly sold damaged goods and, when confronted, responded with crude and threatening language that bordered on assault. In addition, Tae-yong was accused of accepting money for goods while failing to deliver the purchased product. His behaviour on these auction sites resulted in his being banned multiple times; however, Tae-yong continued to return with new user names.

While SM remained quiet for several days, the allegations continued to gain steam as more details seemed to validate the claims, including the matching of his cafe usernames, phone number and Line user IDs. SM’s uncharacteristic silence appeared as more of a confirmation of the allegations than a denial.

Finally, on December 10, Tae-yong in conjunction with SM released the following statement, taking responsibility for Tae-yong’s past actions:

[Tae-yong] deeply regrets his actions from middle school, where he acted with little judgment, and would like to sincerely apologize to those affected. The company, as well as  Tae-yong himself, will try to help him grow as an artist with good skills as well as a person with upright values.

As one of the highly promoted SMRookies, Tae-yong already has a growing fan base. In October, Tae-yong made his musical pre-debut debut as a feature in Red Velvet‘s “Be Natural.” He also guested on labelmate Exo‘s EXO 902014.

While Tae-yong has acknowledged his wrong doings — and SM expressed their desire to move past the situation — Tae-yong’s idol future remains uncertain. Even if Tae-yong has matured since his junior high days, his image is certainly tarnished very early on in his career.

This seems to be a tough year for rookies, as their pasts continue to surface through netizen accounts.

Readers, how do you think SM should handle Tae-yong’s rising career from here? Do you think he still has a chance to debut?

(Nate: [1], [2], Instiz, Images via SM Entertainment)