IST Entertainment have announced a change to the debut lineup of their upcoming boy group ATBO, as Yang Donghwa has been removed. In a statement, ISTE say they investigated allegations against the member, he made amends with the victims and is reflecting, and that they will move forward without him in the group.
The company released a statement in Korean, English, and Japanese.
For those who like me also didn’t know what was going on, apparently he had bullying allegations from middle school.
Some people will never forgive for things like this, which is fine since it’s ultimately a personal choice on morality and punishment and what not, though I do feel like those who make amends and attempt to change deserve forgiveness (perhaps debuting later or whatever), if nothing else because if not it doesn’t really incentivize people to take responsibility and change. And ultimately humans are humans and will respond to incentives if not morality.
From a company perspective, I’m curious as to whether this and the group name change helps them in the long run in terms of initial negative press versus cutting out the potential stumbling blocks. Obviously ISTE is not a huge company with a guarantee for success either way, but K-pop fandom always talks about how companies should do background checks and listen to fans concerns, which they did here and it should be interesting to see the response now.