IST kicks Donghwa out of ATBO for bullying scandal, fans compare it to Le Sserafim's Garam
Scandals surround the K-pop industry every single day but when it comes to school bullying, the issue in itself is triggering for many Korean nationals. The Entertainment industry came to a sort-of standstill when one after the other several K-pop idols and Korean celebrities were accused of being bullies during their school days. One after the other, the guilty idols left their companies and group with an apology, while the innocent idols threatened lawsuits against their accusers.
The situation around bullying controversies is not the same anymore but now, K-pop labels have started treading carefully when it comes to idols being exposed after such allegations. So is the case for IST Entertainment which has now reportedly kicked out trainee Yang Donghwa from their rookie pre-debut boy group ATBO (previously ABO). The boy group was already laden with controversy from its inception when fans had previously requested the label to change its name from ABO, which is also an Australian slur only for one of the members to be embroiled in a school bullying controversy.
Donghwa leaves ATBO and IST Entertainment
The label seems to be acting proactively as on June 14, it was announced that IST Entertainment has decided to change the lineup for ATBO with Donghwa being removed from the boy group. Over the last few weeks, some posts have been circulating online about Yang Donghwa’s school days which alleged that the former ATBO member was involved in misconduct during his school days. IST Entertainment reported that they contacted Donghwa's school officials, alumni, and acquaintances to discuss the issue and confirm the facts. The label added, "Though some of the assertions turned out to be different from the truth, we found out there were students who were hurt because of Yang Donghwa’s immature and inappropriate remarks and actions."
The label revealed that the former boy group member was able to get through to some of the students and had offered a sincere apology to them in person. IST Entertainment stated that he was reflecting on his past actions and was deeply ashamed of how he offended people around him with his lack of consideration. With this, it was also announced that Donghwa's scandal has cost him a dream of debuting as a K-pop idol. The label stated that Donghwa would no longer be a part of ATBO and live his life in regret of his past actions with the hope of bettering himself in the future.
HYBE and Garam can't relate
Despite Donghwa's issue being very similar to that of HYBE's newest girl group Le Sserafim's, fans are now stating HYBE is biased in the case of Garam. When her scandal was exposed, she was revealed to have done some mistakes, but the label swept the issue under the rug and continued to her debut only for the scandal to eventually blow up after her debut causing her, HYBE, and Le Sserafim a great deal of inconvenience.
One fan called HYBE out for still keeping Garam in the group saying, "@HYBEOFFICIALtwt and garam cant relate. kudos to ist ent and donghwa for facing the allegations head on and didnt try to silence the victims."
Another fan asked, "So when is this going to happen with garam?" One fan of Donghwa said, "It's sad but better take action before debut than after debut. sokey donghwa ur journey still long, fighting!"
Another fan said, "I'm actually so surprised tho like out of ALL people donghwa was a bully??? wow." One more fan added,"The way y’all are sad about donghwa leaving the group i would have never imagine he was a bully."
so when is this going to happen with garam 🤔🤔 https://t.co/DKNdXpUbz3— vin ࿎ ☽ manifesto 🌱 (@indigoblink) June 13, 2022
it's sad but better take action before debut than after debut. sokey donghwa ur journey still long, fighting! <3 https://t.co/DBxLr6qNCz— wonmn (@bbangsheepp) June 13, 2022
I'm actually so surprised tho like out of ALL people donghwa was a bully??? wow— oh junseok #1 fan (@taeilslice) June 14, 2022
the way y’all are sad about donghwa leaving the group i would have never imagine he was a bully— best sunshiner (@acekyujins) June 14, 2022
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