SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Singer Goo Ha-ra, who shot to stardom as a member of the K-pop group Kara, now faces a public image crisis amid a dating violence scandal after her boyfriend alleged she assaulted him for wanting to break up.
Her image suffered severe damage over the weekend after her boyfriend spoke with the Chosun Ilbo and shared a picture of his face, which seemed to bear deep scratches around his eyebrows and on his forehead.
He said they were the result of a scuffle he had with the singer last Wednesday night (Sept 12).
The investigation into the alleged assault is still ongoing, and Goo reportedly told police her boyfriend had kicked her during an argument, but she has yet to release an official statement.
In the wake of the photo, and in the absence of any clarification from her side, the singer faces harsh criticism.
"All hell would break loose if the roles were reversed. Imagine if a male celebrity made a woman's face (look) like that?" one critic said on Naver.
"To sway public opinion, Goo will have to share a photo of herself with bruises around her eyes, at least," another comment on the website read.
Others stood up for Goo, however, with one commenter calling the whole scandal a "witch hunt" against the singer.
Despite the shocking allegations, the home rental app Zigbang, for which Goo serves as a brand model, told several local media outlets that it was carefully watching the investigation but had no plans to take any action yet.
The 27-year-old singer was also in the headlines earlier this month after being rushed to the emergency room after taking medication.
Several media outlets alleged the singer might have tried to harm herself, but her agency denied the rumours and said she was in the hospital receiving treatment for sleep and digestive disorders.