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Sending their child to school, parents trust that it’s a safe place. But sometimes, schools can become a nightmare due to bullying. In South Korea, bullying has become a big problem, causing students to drop out. The real issue is that schools don’t always address these cases properly, and it’s often linked to social hierarchies. Recently, a shocking case came to light involving actress Kim Hieora, who played a bully in “The Glory.” Let’s dive into Kim Hieora’s school controversy.


Kim Hieora’s Background

Kim Hieora, born on March 18, 1989, attended S Girls’ Middle School in Wonju, Gangwon. In schools, students are often divided into categories: the studious, athletic, popular, and the rest, often labeled as “outcasts.” These outcasts are usually targeted for bullying. Kim Hieora found herself in a tough spot and joined a group known for bullying, called “Big Sanji.”

Kim Hieora’s Defense Kim Hieora claims that she joined Big Sanji to avoid being a target herself. She felt that her unique appearance and name could make her a victim, so she decided to align herself with the bullies. She insists she was merely protecting herself.


Victims’ Testimonies

Anonymous victims interviewed by Dispatch shared their experiences. One former student, B, from Sangji Girls’ Middle School, said, “At the school, there was a group named Big Sangji. They took money from people and gave it to the oldest in the group. They would yell at you and hit you if you didn’t have money. Kim Hieora was in this group too.”

Another former student, C, added, “The online community (Big Sangji) was just for bullies. They would suddenly ask us for money and use it to buy cigarettes and alcohol and sing at karaoke. Also, they used the money to buy gifts for their boyfriends. They wouldn’t stop bothering you if you didn’t give them the money.”


Kim Hieora’s School Controversy

Kim Hieora rose to fame with roles in popular shows like “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” and “Hospital Playlist.” However, her big breakthrough came with “The Glory,” where she played the role of Sara, a school bully. Dispatch revealed chatroom messages from Big Sangji members discussing Kim Hieora’s role as Sara, suggesting her involvement in bullying.

In response, Kim Hieora admitted to being part of the group but maintained that she was just a bystander. She confessed, “I admit I watched all this happen, and I’m truly sorry for that. Still, I never took part in yelling at people or hitting them.”


The Severity of Bullying in Korea

Bullying is a grave issue in South Korea. The number of reported cases has been increasing, with 31,130 cases reported in 2019 alone. These cases involve physical violence, verbal abuse, detention, extortion, coercion, threatening, and sexual violence.

One of the reasons for this rise is the lack of severe consequences. In many cases, students were asked to write an apology or received special education, psychotherapy, or community service as punishments. Expulsion or transfer were rare consequences, leading some to believe they are untouchable.


Impact on Celebrities

Several Korean celebrities have been exposed for their involvement in bullying, including actors, TV hosts, and K-pop idols. Many faced backlash and were removed from their projects. While there’s been some progress, more needs to be done to tackle bullying at its core.



Kim Hieora’s school controversy sheds light on the pervasive issue of bullying in South Korea. It’s a problem that affects many students and can have a lasting impact. While celebrities like Kim Hieora face scrutiny for their past actions, the larger issue of bullying in schools must be addressed to protect future generations from enduring such hardships.