SM Entertainment, one of South Korea's largest K-pop agencies, is currently under fire from fans of the girl group aespa, particularly supporters of member Winter. The controversy stems from what many perceive as the company's repeated instances of neglect towards the artist, despite her significant popularity and role within the group.

aespa, which marked its fourth anniversary with the release of the documentary film "aespa: MY First Page," has been at the center of debates concerning favoritism within the group. Winter, known for her visual appeal and main vocal position, has often been highlighted alongside Karina as one of the most favored members by SM Entertainment since their debut. Despite this, recent events have led to accusations from fans that the company is mistreating Winter, sparking a considerable backlash.

The controversy ignited when Winter was conspicuously absent from a promotional poster featuring fan signature art cards for the "aespa: MY First Page" film. The poster only depicted three of the four members-Karina, Ningning, and Giselle-leaving Winter out due to her being obscured in the image. The distributor's attempt to justify the exclusion by stating that the production was carried out under SM Entertainment's guidance did little to quell the fans' discontent. Instead, it fueled rumors of Winter's potential departure from the group and intensified criticism towards SM Entertainment.

Further complicating matters, fans noted that Winter's message on the promotional poster seemed to be a recycled note from an old Polaroid, which was contextually inappropriate for the current promotion. Winter's message, expressing difficulty with English, appeared out of place and added to fans' concerns about her treatment by the company.

Moreover, fans have observed that aespa's group account, managed by SM Entertainment, seldom updates about Winter's individual schedules and activities, which contrasts sharply with the updates for other members. This discrepancy has led to a rallying cry among Winter's supporters, who have taken to social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) to demand fair and equal treatment for all aespa members.

The irony of the situation lies in the fact that Winter, once dubbed the "SM princess" for the preferential treatment she was perceived to receive, now seems to be sidelined by the very company that helped propel her to stardom. This shift has not only drawn criticism from fans for being unfair to Winter but has also contributed to unrest within the broader aespa fandom.