South Korean company Starship Entertainment has issued an official statement that MONSTA X main vocalist Wonho will be permanently leaving the group. The band will now feature only 6 members starting from 31 October.
In a letter published on their official Twitter account, Starship Entertainment stated that the decision was based on Wonho’s desire to avoid causing the group’s destruction in the wake of a recent scandal the singer was involved in regarding the “MeToo” movement.
“We will continue to hold legal liability for malicious and distorted claims related to this matter”, the statement reads.
Wonho, who has been with the band since its formation during the reality survival programme No.Mercy in 2015, has also shared a handwritten letter with his fans, where he announced his departure from the group.
“I am sorry for disappointing my fans who believed in me. I have reached this decision after seeing many people having a hard time because of me”, Wonho said in the letter.
“Please give strength to MONSTA X. The members have nothing to do with me”, the band’s former vocalist added. “I carefully ask that you at least give support and encouragement to the members. They are people who are too good to stop and get hurt like this because of someone like me”.
Wonho’s decision came following a recent scandal involving him and another group member Minhyuk. A video of their unfortunate joke during a fan singing event on 9 March spread on Twitter this October, shortly before the group’s scheduled comeback with their new mini album “Follow: Find You”.
The video of Minhyuk putting his mic on Wonho's chest, while saying in Korean, "Mr. Nipple, please say something" featured Wonho shouting in English "Me too", which received a stormy reaction among Korean fans after being posted on the band’s official fan page.
Many users found Wonho’s appeal insulting, as they claimed that he and Minhyuk had ridiculed the international "MeToo" movement, aimed at addressing the problem of sexual harassment.
MONSTA X’s fans were generally devastated to hear the news, calling to start sending letters to Starship Entertainment in order to reverse their and the singer’s decision to leave the band.
Don't— Sahael 🐋⋈ (@SahaelMxMbb) October 31, 2019
Don't you dare leave him now monbebe
Those awful people giving him hell for days
Now we have to show our strength to Wonho
We gotta show we can protect him#원호탈퇴반대
SOMEONE BETTER STAY WITH WONHO UNTIL HE CALMS DOWN AND COMES BACK. WE NEED YOU WONHO— Neve | #원호탈퇴반대 (@honeyneve) October 31, 2019