BTOB’s Eunkwang apologizes after backlash for questionable gesture at concert, band hit by Ilhoon's departure
Ilhoon left the group in late December after news that he is under investigation for suspicions of marijuana use and it looks like some BTOB members have been getting emotional about it
South Korean boy band BTOB has been facing criticism after certain members made a questionable gesture at a recent concert. The group's leader Eunkwang addressed the issue on Wednesday (January 27).
What occurred was that during BTOB 4U’s live online concert on January 23, BTOB member Changsub looked into the camera and held up seven fingers which signal the original total number of members since their 2012 debut. Additionally, Changsub and Peniel also held up seven fingers in a photo after the show.
The gesture was seemingly sentimental or some sort of emotional response to the recent departure of a member, but could also be misconstrued or seen as offensive. According to Soompi, member Ilhoon left the group in late December after news that he is under investigation for suspicions of marijuana use. The group's agency, Cube Entertainment, apologized to fans at the time in a statement and said, "Jung Ilhoon feels strong responsibility for breaking the trust of fans and causing disappointment, and he is deeply reflecting. Respecting his opinion to no longer cause harm to the group, it was decided that he will withdraw from the group as of today."
Eunkwang took to his social media to apologize to Melody (BTOB fandom name), citing that he was feeling a surge of emotions around the time of the concert, one that didn't feature Ilhoon.
"Hello! I think we’ve hurt everyone once again not so long after the situation occurred, so I’m writing this as the team leader and as Seo Eunkwang because I want to show how I feel in the inside at least for now," he opened a lengthy message on Instagram.
Read the rest of his post below, as translated by Soompi:
"First, I want to sincerely apologize to those who were hurt by our actions and words at the concert. I’m even more sorry because I understand very well that everyone wanted to try to start anew by watching the concert while carrying a wound that had yet to heal.
"Honestly, I thought that if continued to smile and silently work hard at promoting, it would gradually get dulled and it would become okay, but the moment ‘our concert’ appeared, I had a lot of thoughts as many emotions surged up.
"I’ll always do my best for the current BTOB and take responsibility for the words, ‘BTOB will be forever,’ which I spoke after firmly resolving my heart and shaking off [those feelings and thoughts] through the tears, so until the day arrives when the six of us make a full group in November and until we can smile while seeing each other, I’ll do my best to sing while hoping we’ll work hard to continue onwards together so that we can be happy by becoming each other’s strength.
"As always, Melody! I sincerely thank and love you."
While the group may have received some criticism, there are many fans who have been understanding and supportive. "Eunkwang-oppa, you don't have to apologize. It Will be fine. Melody here. Standing for you and BtoB. It Will be hard, of course, but don't let annoying people disturb our mind. Please stay strong. We Will understand.💙💙💙💙," said a fan in the comments section of his post.
"You dont need to apologize Leadernim! If you are happy, melody is happy💙💙 we will always support you 💙," wrote a fan.
Another fan shared a lengthy response, saying, "Eunkwang Ilhoonie has been your brother for a long time. So I know you must be going through a rough time right now. Also I do not expect you to just abandoned him. I personally feel you do not have to apologize for anything. But I know our cultures are a little different. I respect that. Just know that it's okay to not be okay," and adding that the group should take care of themselves and sharing their appreciation for the group.