Our idols are human too, a fact that’s easy to overlook when we’re bombarded by flashy visuals and crafted personalities. We forget that this is a job for them, and that this industry is a tricky one. We don’t always have the full story, but when we’re always presented with a happy go lucky, “all is well” persona, it hits hard to have an artist speak out about unfair or disparaging treatment. We’ve all heard the horror stories —Block B moving companies, B.A.P’s lawsuit against TS, the saga of JYJ, the list goes on and on. Recently, the weight of keeping quiet about the stress and disappointment of idol life seems to be getting to one of SM Entertainment’s artists — Amber.

Amber, of girl group f(x), has always been very vocal. She’s active on Twitter and YouTube, where she shows that her bubbly and fun personality is truly her nature. Where most of her peers tend toward the diplomatic answers, Amber hasn’t shied away from talking about how her image has caused her to be bullied and questioned. She’s taken strides to be as open with her fans as she possibly could be.

Which is why a few weeks ago, when she posted a black picture on Instagram with a questionable caption, everyone got a little panicked. The post reads:

I’ve given my everything. I tried to work things out. Whether it be the creative or business, I’ve been doing everything myself for years so I can keep myself afloat. But in the end, I’m continuously neglected, hurt, and taken advantage of. I’ve been patient… the fans have been extremely patient and I can’t take it anymore just sitting around, waiting, being constantly rejected and given false hope. I’m so tired mentally and physically and this is where I draw the line. No more

Rumors of disbandment flew but no word from SM was said on the matter. Amber didn’t say anything else either. Until another two weeks went by and another post came up:

“We don’t have time for you” Every year, I would stay at home for weeks because nothing was “coming in.” Instead of waiting, for the past 5 years I’ve been writing my own songs, making my own albums, producing, directing, and/or editing my videos, making concepts and styling, writing proposals and presenting marketing plans, and even looking for my own jobs, all so that I could do what I love for my fans. Even after 5 years, I’m given the same answer. They still tell me I’m not good enough. What more do I have to do?


While the initial post reads sad and hurt, the anger and annoyance in the second is apparent. Something is going on at SME, and Amber is sick and tired of it. Her frustrations are founded as any creative person knows the agony of not being able to express and create. Being held back from your craft when you’re giving it all you’ve got is the worst form of torture. Amber, seemingly unable to get through to her company, has turned to her fans for support.

This isn’t a new thing with SME, as many long-time K-pop fans can attest. Even as recently as this past December, solo artist and Super Junior-M member Henry aired his grievances in an alarming (and now deleted) post about what a mistake the past 9 years have been.

It’s easy to say that “well, they knew what they were signing up for when they wanted to become an idol” but is that really fair to say? No one signs up to have their weight criticized to the point they develop an eating disorder. No one asks to be follow around foreign countries by stalker “fans”. When those contracts are signed, Amber, Henry, and others are only hoping for the chance to succeed…to put out the music that they love for the masses in the hopes that others will be entertained.

We will never know what goes on behind the closed doors of SME (or any other company) and their talent. What we do know, right now, is that Amber is having a bad time of it and she needs the support of her fans. Until she or SME comes forward and shares both sides of the story, all we can hope for is an easy, painless resolution and new music from f(x) and Amber.

(Twitter, Instagram, Images via Dazed and Confused, SM Entertainment)