In a detailed report, Korean media Dispatch revealed how NCT‘s Taeyong has changed since his middle school days and become a kind person now.
The report also exposed how the original poster of all the allegations, [Accuser A], has edited the chat logs to make Taeyong look unapologetic. Dispatch carried out an investigation, looking into Taeyong’s KakaoTalk chat logs and figuring out what actually happened in the past. Here is Koreaboo‘s complete translation of the investigation.
May 2, 2009 — Taeyong In Middle School
On May 2, 2009, the 8th grade middle school student Taeyong left a comment under a picture of his classmates which was posted to the online class board.
Wow, (assumed to be a censored curse word). There are only 10 people in this picture but it looks like there are 13.
A decade later on September 17, 2019, [Accuser A] made an online post about Taeyong. [Accuser A], who claimed to be the administrator of the online school board, said that back then [Accuser A] didn’t know that comments about appearances could be offensive. [Accuser A] also apologized for “bringing up the past” but insisted that Taeyong must admit to his wrongdoing.
Following the allegation in October 2019, Taeyong issued an apology with SM Entertainment — stating he deeply regrets the insensitive remarks made in the past. Taeyong personally met the victim, [Classmate B], to try and settle the issue. Taeyong also provided [Classmate B] with compensation — to cover the medical cost of [Classmate B]’s treatment stemming from the trauma. At this point, Taeyong and [Classmate B] agreed on keeping the details of their settlement confidential. And all seemed to have been settled.
June 2020 — [Accuser A] Reemerges
[Accuser A] reentered the spotlight in June 2020, claiming Taeyong actually had not been sincere in his apology.
To “prove” this claim, [Accuser A] provided a screenshot of an alleged conversation between [Classmate B] and Taeyong which took place between October 28 through 29, 2019 — weeks after the in-person apology happened.
[Classmate B]: …showing and apologizing to me sincerely. When I walked in crying, you simply crossed your legs and looked out the window. You weren’t paying attention, you didn’t make eye contact… I had hoped to see you in person and get a sincere apology. I want there to be no pretense between us, I want to put everything behind us. I only want to be friends again, like we used to be before. That’s why I’m sending you this long text.
Taeyong: Thanks for worrying about my health. I’ve been trying to be more cautious and keeping things under control.
From what seems to be an inconsiderate conversation between [Classmate B] looking for closure vs. Taeyong not being concerned about it, [Accuser A] insisted that Taeyong has never been sincere about the apology.
Dispatch, however, attained the original chat logs between [Classmate B] and Taeyong — discovering that the above-mentioned chat log is an edit by [Accuser A]. Just minutes prior to the time that [Accuser A] insisted the edited conversation took place, [Classmate B] and Taeyong were actually discussing his spine issues.
Dispatch explained that [Accuser A] purposely cropped out parts of the discussion to create an edited chat log which makes it look like Taeyong was not interested in the conversation.
[Classmate B]: Is your back okay? Even though I know you’ll always say it’s okay. My mom also has [back pains]… and she has trouble. (Deleted message) Don’t abuse your back, trying to run toward your goal. Be sure to rest and give yourself breaks too.
[Classmate B]: To be honest, when people claimed your apology is a lie, I told them that is definitely not the case. I believe you meant it when you lowered your head in front of me, with the top of your head showing and apologizing to me sincerely.
[Classmate B] & Taeyong’s Relationship Since The In-Person Meeting
Dispatch also revealed the following chat log, which took place after Taeyong met and apologized to [Classmate B] in person.
[Classmate B]: Uh… This is [Classmate B]. I’m looking with my cellphone camera… Why are my eyes so uneven… Thank you for pretending not to notice. How embarrassing…
Taeyong: Again, I’m sorry and I hope we can stay cool now. I may not be able to stay in touch often or respond right away, but please understand. It would be great if you could support me too. Thank you!
[Classmate B]: Finally, since I’m worried about your health, please don’t hurt yourself. And if you do, please go see a doctor! Herniated spinal discs really hurt, so don’t hold it in and let it become a bigger problem.
Taeyong: Okay, thanks. I will always take care of myself. Thank you for giving me the strength.
[Classmate B]: After what happened yesterday, I don’t want us to be awkward anymore and I really want to be close friends with you. I’d love to message you casually. But if you are uncomfortable with that, you don’t have to keep responding. It’s okay. Your feelings matter to me and I want to respect your decision.
Taeyong: Thank you for asking me, but I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. But because of work, I might not be able to chat often and I can’t respond quickly. I know you’ll understand though. Maybe I’ll see you at our next concert, if you can come? Take care until then.
Eventually, Taeyong kept his promise to keep in touch with [Classmate B], being the first to reach out in May 2020. Taeyong even kept his promise to see [Classmate B] at his next concert.
May 15, 2020
Taeyong: Hello! It’s Taeyong. How have you been?
[Classmate B]: Hey, I’ve been well. I’m watching baseball right now!
Taeyong: I see ^^ Last time I said I would invite you to our concert. But because of the coronavirus, we can’t host a real concert. It has to be an online concert. It is on Sunday 3PM and you can watch it on V Live. Tomorrow or the day after, I will send you a code. I wonder if there will be any baseball games that day? Anyway, you can watch it if you have the time.
May 17, 2020
[Classmate B]: Hey, I don’t check KakaoTalk or other messenger applications because I have the notifications off. So I think texting me will be the fastest way to reach me. I’d be grateful if you send me the details via text to my phone number!
Taeyong: Ah okay, got it. I’ll send you a text message.
Same day, via text message
Taeyong: It’s a shame that I can’t invite you to our live concert. If you search the store on V Live’s application, you can insert a code in the coupon entry section. Put this (code) code in!
[Classmate B]: Got it. They host contactless concerts online these days? How cool… Anyway, hwaiting for the performance!
Taeyong: Yep, thanks. You stay safe too!
[Accuser A] vs. Reality Regarding Taeyong’s Charity Work
Dispatch also verified that, unlike [Accuser A]’s claim that Taeyong has not been keeping up with his promise to do charity work, Taeyong has been continuously donating at least ₩1 million KRW ($832 USD) a month since April 2016. Taeyong has also served in a group which supports underprivileged students. Below is what Dispatch discovered, as far as Taeyong’s charitable acts.
February: Food Drive at Gangnam Senior Citizen’s Welfare
March: Community Improvements at Bondong Community Welfare Center
April-June, August, and December: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
March: Baking Event at Red Cross Youth
April: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
June: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
July: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
September-October: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
April: Volunteering at Writers With Developmental Disabilities
June-July: Volunteering at All Love Multicultural School
September: Food Drive & Cleaning at Suseo Social Welfare Center
November: Food Drive & Cleaning at Suseo Social Welfare Center
March: Mealtime Assistance at Seocho Senior Care Center
April 2016-Present: Monthly donations to All Love Multicultural School
The principal of All Love Multicultural School also commented on Taeyong’s kindness.
Taeyong is sponsoring the students at our school. Everyone wants a scholarship from him. He was cautious about it at first and didn’t want to disclose himself as he didn’t want the scholarship awardees to face any issues for being associated with him. The amount that he donates is not what is important. I personally didn’t think to donate to scholarships when I was Taeyong’s age.
— All Love Multicultural School’s Principal
A Dispatch Fact Check
Dispatch concluded, “It is true that Taeyong made rude comments about his classmate’s appearance in middle school. It is true the classmate was hurt by the comment.” The report added though “It is also true that Taeyong said he will try to correct his mistakes from the past.” According to Dispatch, everything else is “distorted.” Dispatch concluded that [Accuser A] is the only person claiming that Taeyong bullied [Classmate A] to self harm and left a homophobic message in [Classmate C]’s yearbook.
As the teacher of the class, I remember exactly what happened at the time. Taeyong had nothing to do with the self-harm incident. I can swear by this, as a teacher.
— Taeyong’s Middle School Teacher
[Classmate C] also stepped up and defended Taeyong, in a comment left with Dispatch.
I wasn’t offended by it. We were young. And close friends at that age make nasty jokes. It’s fine. I didn’t care because I’m not gay.
On the other hand, I’m offended by [Accuser A]. I don’t even know that person. We’ve never met. [Accuser A] posted my yearbook picture without permission.
[Accuser A], if you read this article, please find my contact information and apologize to me directly.
— [Classmate C]
In response to this, SM Entertainment has also stated that the agency will no longer tolerate [Accuser A]’s incessant accusations — and that they will be taking legal action.