Daniel Gauss, who taught the girls from October 2009 to May 2010, had stated in an email interview with local English daily The Korea Herald published yesterday that the girls were ill-treated in the U.S., including not having health insurance and being housed illegally.
JYPE CEO Jung Wook had denied the accusations later in the day which has been followed on Wednesday by the girl group's leader Sun and another member Yenny siding with their agency through remarks they posted online.
Sun addressed the allegations on the quintet's official fan site, starting with Gauss' argument that she had to perform at a concert for mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson, which the girls endorse in the Asia-Pacific region, despite her father suddenly lapsing into a coma.
She said her dad, who had been suffering from an illness for a while, became increasingly sick a few months ago, but she was able to fly into Korea immediately and even look after him for a week.
She went onto explain that her dad's condition improved during the seven-day period and after consulting with her family and their doctor, engaged in pre-scheduled activities in Korea with her group who had flown in the following week.
Sun affirmed that her English teacher's statements "are not true" and added, "I cannot help but feel a bit taken aback by him talking publicly about my personal life."
She also denied that her group was not covered by health insurance in the U.S., saying that former member Mimi had received hospital treatment in the country until she fully recovered from a previous operation she had in Korea, as well as their agency having tended to even their most brief visits to the dermatologist.
"Our decision to come to the U.S. came after long and careful consideration and it has already been over a year since we've come to New York but words cannot express how happy we are and there are so many things we are grateful for," assured Sun.
Yenny posted her remarks separately on her personal Twitter account in a briefer yet firmer voice.
"There is just one thing that I must say. One day, I said I felt like I'm coming down with a cold and I was given a whole box of vitamins while told I should take one everyday. And another day, each of us were handed five tubs of natural honey and told to take a spoonful everyday because it would be good for our throats," she wrote.
"That is how we've been treated wrongly... Because we haven't been given the chance to repay them," tweeted Yenny.
Wonder Girls, considered one of the most successful Korean female idol groups, has been popular in several countries in Asia as well as having seen a promising start to their career in the U.S. -- their U.S. debut single "Nobody" placed on No. 76 of the Billboard Hot 100 in October of last year after having scoring 45 opening gigs for boy band Jonas Brother's U.S. summer tour and appearing on several TV shows.
They are set to release a new record titled "2 Different Tears" globally on May 16 (Korea time), which will mark their full scale debut into the U.S. market.
The Wonder Girls are composed of Sohee, Yubin, Sun, Yenny and new member Lim who replaced Mimi who quit the group several months ago to pursue her studies.
Jessica Kim jesskim@
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