Lim Young-min's DUI delays AB6IX comeback, ABNEWs call idol's actions 'unacceptable and disappointing'
The group's label Brand New Music have announced the suspension of all of Young-min's activities and released an apology on his behalf.
K-pop boy group AB6IX's comeback, originally scheduled for June 8, has now been pushed back following leader Lim Young-min's DUI incident. The group's label, Brand New Music, recently confirmed via a statement on June 4 that Young-min was involved in a DUI incident that involved him being stopped and charged with driving under the influence, following which his driver's license was temporarily revoked.
Brand New Music revealed, "Back in the early morning hours of May 31, Lim Young Min attended a personal gathering with acquaintances and drank alcohol; after which he set out to drive himself home. He was stopped by police and charged with a DUI, and his license has been revoked. Lim Young Min is currently reflecting on his actions deeply, and plans on participating in any further police investigations as necessary with diligence."
The statement continued, "As of today, Lim Young Min will halt all of his activities as a member of AB6IX; we notify that AB6IX will be carrying out all future schedules as a team of 4-members. AB6IX's new album, originally scheduled for release on June 8, has been postponed until June 29 as we reorganize the team."
The label also put out an apology to fans for the trouble, adding that they will ensure such incidents do not take place again. They did not reveal any details as to what disciplinary actions are being taken internally, but it is evident Young-min will not be making a comeback in the near future.
South Korea is notoriously strict when it comes to laws around driving, particularly due to efforts to curtail road accidents. In 2019, the country amended its Road Traffic Act to set stricter limits on alcohol consumption with regards to operating a motor vehicle. Under the new laws, the legal limit for blood alcohol content was brought down from 0.05%, the standard for 57 years, to 0.03%. Additionally, the new laws stated that anyone caught driving under the influence could face the maximum penalty for impaired driving of up to five years of imprisonment and/or a 20 million won fine (about $16,428).
Moreover, South Koreans have continued to push for stronger laws around road safety owing to the high number of deaths relating to road accidents, especially among idols who frequently find themselves in perilous situations due to their strenuous schedules that allow little time for safely getting from one location to the next.
Some fans were naturally concerned that this DUI could lead to Young-min being permanently removed from AB6IX, which is not an uncommon response for labels to have in the case of more serious DUI incidents and was the common understanding following initial reports. But as the label's official statement indicates, Young-min will be on a hiatus and has not been removed from the group's line-up and some fans expressed relief upon hearing the news.
"Youngmin is not permanently out of ab6ix but he will be on hiatus for a time being and will not join their upcoming promotions to deeply reflect on his actions... their upcoming comeback will continue with 4 members," clarified one fan, while another said, "Youngmin will be on a hiatus while repenting for his actions. he did not get kicked out."
Many among the group's fandom ABNEW expressed disappointment in Young-min as well as the fact that the group had to face consequences for his actions. One fan shared, "Omg why youngmin. I really looked forward to ab6ix as a whole group without missing one member. ajuju."
Some fans made it clear that the fandom would hold Young-min accountable for his actions and choices, stating, "I don’t want to see a single person defending him. Especially ABNEWs. I’m an ABNEW and Youngmin was 1 of my biases. What he did was/is unacceptable." Another fan added, "Youngmin is at fault I'm not going to defend him because he's a grown man he should know better."
While some fans did still rush to his defense, tweeting, "I know everyeone and ABNEWs are disappointed but can you just please set that aside for now?! Youngmin needs us ! Being disappoinment for him won’t help either , instead we should protect him now his weak at this moment !" other fans were not here for such comments, responding with "'His weak at this moment" i think you type faster than you think...." as well as, "This is disgraceful delete this."
Another fan responded stating "I’m a youngmin stan and im disappointed in him, i’m not gonna go defend him for his actions. he needs to learn and grow from them. anyone who does anything like this needs to go through the consequences, idol or not."