Social media support for Wonho and K-pop boy band Monsta X is gaining momentum, a week after the announcement of the lead vocalist’s departure.
As the hashtag #LoveUWonho trends on Twitter, the devoted army of the group’s fans, known as Monbebe, meaning "my baby" in French, is sending out messages of hope for Wonho's return.
One fan, Isabel Sun, started an online petition for Wonho's return on the website Change.org, which has received more than 441,000 signatures.
Others fans of the band have directly addressed Starship Entertainment, the management company of Monsta X, to reinstate Wonho.
To those who tell us to give up:— MONBEBE Entertainment (@MONBEBEnt) November 8, 2019
-Starship NEVER said that they terminated his exclusive contract
-They haven't removed him off the website & fancafe
-They see the #s but havent shut us down
If there is a silver of hope we will take it for our boys & make history.#LoveUWonho pic.twitter.com/NkXdVJ5zJh
Tonight i had a dream, that starship published an official statement, that Wonho will come back after this week's promo... But then i woke up...— WE LOVE YOU WONHO 💜🐰 (@GoldenCookie12) November 8, 2019
I want it to become a reality as soon as possible...#LoveUWonho@OfficialMonstaX pic.twitter.com/gmjNv3Y5xY
As Monsta X have been nominated for the top spot on the popular Korean music television show Music Bank, many fans have been encouraging each other to keep streaming the band’s music.
Monsta X is nominated for first place on Music Bank today! 65% of the criteria is based on digital sales, so please continue to stream Follow on music sites as much as possible since this is where we struggle!#LoveUWonho— Hanez (@Hanez26715138) November 8, 2019
Come on Monbebe! Let’s give them a clean run with these promotions. We can do it!!!— Rayjgrady7 (@rayjgrady7) November 8, 2019
Starship has not responded officially to the fans’ pleas.
A poor judgment joke
Korean boy band MONSTA X was recently embroiled in a scandal when two members, Monsta X Minhyuk and Wonho, made a poorly-received joke during a speech at a fan signing event on 9 March.
A video of the incident spread on Twitter on 25 October, just before the group’s scheduled comeback with their new mini album “Follow: Find You”.
The footage shows Minhyuk putting his mic on Wonho's chest and saying in Korean, "Mr. Nipple, please say something" while Wonho puts his hand up and shouts in English, "Me too".
In that specific fansign minhyuk made reference to that meme that k-mbb made during the world tour .— 7-1=0 (@171114_) October 25, 2019
Minhyuk : Mr.nipple please talk
Wonho : me too me too ( means : i want to talk too )
Wonho was raising his hand like he was asking for permission to talk pic.twitter.com/S9brAkIloe
The video generated a storm among Korean fans, according to local media reports, with the boys criticised for having mocked the MeToo movement.
Most international fans, however, rushed to Twitter to support the musicians, insisting the situation was taken out of context.
Nevertheless, the South Korean company Starship Entertainment issued an official statement that the main vocalist Wonho, who has been with the band since its formation during the reality survival programme No.Mercy in 2015, would be permanently leaving the group, which would now feature only six members.