B.I leaves K-Pop band iKon over drug report
K-Pop star B.I has said he is leaving the group iKon following a report that he tried to buy illegal drugs.
In an apology posted on his verified Instagram account, B.I said he was ashamed of his actions and apologized to his bandmates and K-Pop fans.
“First of all, I want to sincerely apologize for causing a trouble with my awfully inappropriate action,” wrote B.I.
“It is true that I was once in pain and suffering and I wanted to find comfort in something I shouldn’t even have taken an interest in. However even that scared me so I couldn’t take part.”
The story broke Wednesday morning local time as the result of an investigation by South Korean media outlet Dispatch.
B.I, whose real name is Kim Han-bin, allegedly bought LSD pills in 2016, according to Dispatch.
The report, which was picked up by South Korean news agency Yonhap, featured a reconstruction of messages from B.I to a drug dealer.
“I humbly accept my faults and I wish to leave my team,” the Instagram post continued. “Again I would like to lower my head and apologize to the fans and team members. I’m sorry.”
YG Entertainment, the agency that represents B.I, released a statement apologizing over the singer’s drug allegations, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
“Kim Han-bin is holding himself heavily responsible for the repercussions of this issue,” the statement said. “Taking this seriously, (YG) decided on his departure from the team and the termination of his exclusive contract.”
“YG is deeply feeling a sense of responsibility in managing its associated artists,” it added.
YG Entertainment could not be reached for comment.
Formed in 2015 as a result of a reality TV program, iKon went on to become a successful group.
K-Pop is growing in popularity outside South Korea, with seven-man mega-group BTS one of the biggest boy bands in the world right now, but the genre has also attracted some negative attention.
In February, South Korea’s government released guidelines that criticized the “similar appearance” of K-Pop stars and aimed to diversify the industry, but they were quickly withdrawn following a backlash from fans.
And Stacy Nam, a K-Pop communications specialist, says its stars are under intense pressure to act “in character” in public.
“The image you must maintain as an idol has to be clean,” she says. “However, anything you do can be spun and taken out of context by a random person on the street.”