C’mon, we all got our favorite boy band. Not all of ours are U.S.-based, though. And some Korean pop fans are pissed (understandably so)—all thanks to a little pot.
This is some heavy-hitting drama, so brace yourselves. iKON, a seven-person group known for hits like “Killing Me” and “I’m OK,” lost its lead singer, YG Entertainment confirmed Wednesday. Why? Turns out Kim Han Bin (most popularly known as B.I.), the dreamy lead singer many fans on social media are heartbroken over, likes to smoke pot!
Well, whether he smokes it isn’t totally clear, but a Korean tabloid published a major expose showing texts from 2016 where the performer is allegedly trying to buy some weed and some LSD, according to Teen Vogue. Damn, he goes hard.
Label Apologizes on Behalf of Artist
The agency wrote in a statement, per Soompi, a Korean pop culture blog:
This is YG Entertainment.
We bow our heads and apologize for disappointing everyone with our artist Kim Han Bin’s problem.
Kim Han Bin is feeling heavy responsibility due to the impact of this matter. Taking the matter seriously, he has decided to leave the team and terminate his exclusive contract.
YG has become keenly aware of our responsibility for managing our agency artists.
Once again we sincerely apologize for causing concern.
Meanwhile, hip hop artists and rappers are out here producing entire bops dedicated to their love for the plant. Looks like homie got into the wrong genre of music. (Or maybe not given how the last Korean rapper caught smoking was treated.) B.I. issued a public apology via Instagram to his fans, who are really torn up about losing him.
B.I. Apologizes for Interest in Drugs
“I’m deeply sorry for causing a controversy over my inappropriate behavior. It’s true that I had interest in something to rely on which I shouldn’t have at one point when I was having a hard time. But I was too scared and worried to follow through,” the singer wrote, according to the translation from the Korea Herald.
In South Korea, medical cannabis was only legalized in December 2018, reports U.S. News & World Report. It was the first East Asian country to do so, but the drug is still heavily stigmatized there. If authorities investigate these allegations, B.I. could face up to four years in prison, per the Korea Herald. South Koreans aren’t even allowed to smoke abroad without catching a charge.
Fans Want B.I. Back
Still, fans are trying their hardest to bring B.I. back. They argue the kid wasn’t smokingor using drugs; he was just stating an attempt to buy. Nearly 700,000 people have signed a petition to reinstate him in the band.
“Ikonics and fans don’t want Hanbin to leave ikon when he did nothing wrong. He doesn’t deserve to,” the petition reads.
Fans are begging, but the show must go on. The remaining (apparently perfect, rule-abiding, straight-edge) members of iKON will be continuing their Japanese tour without their lead man.
YG will continue without its founder Yang Hyun-Suk and his brother and YG Entertainment CEO Yang Min-suk, who both left the company within hours of each other.