K-Pop band member quits as label denies sexual misconduct accusations

South Korea backtracks on K-Pop guidelines
JTBC Drama/YouTube via Wikimedia

A K-Pop band has broken ties with one of its members after accusations of sexual misconduct were made against him online.

In a statement Wednesday, FNC Entertainment said Kwon Kwang-jin, known as Kwangjin, “has decided to voluntarily leave N.Flying.”

The move came after accusations were posted online against Kwangjin, accusing him of inappropriate behavior with fans, leading some to mobilize around a Twitter hashtag that translates as “leave the band Kwangjin.”

CNN has been unable to independently verify the claims. CNN has tried to reach Kwangjin for comment but has so far been unsuccessful.

“After meeting face to face with the individuals who were involved in the currently spreading online rumors related to Kwangjin, we’ve confirmed that elements of the rumors including Kwangjin’s dating scandal with fans, sexual harassment claims, and more are not true,” the FNC statement said.

However, it added that Kwangjin had held “personal meetings with fans outside of official promotional activities.”

“Seeking personal relationships with fans no matter what the reason is, is improper behavior for a member of a band,” the label said. “Until we are able to discover the full truth regarding the ongoing rumors, Kwangjin will halt all broadcast and promotional activities and partake in a time of reflection.”

It added that it would be taking “strict legal action should some online posts prove to be false and of malicious nature.”

South Korean music labels are notoriously strict about controlling the behavior of their artists, even limiting who they can date. Stars who defy these restrictions can face censure or dismissal.

While prominent South Korean politicians and entertainment stars have been accused of sexual misconduct, the #MeToo reckoning in the country has been more muted than in some nations, especially when it comes to the outwardly squeaky clean K-Pop scene.

In recent months however, women have been increasingly active in organizing against pervasive issues of sexual harassment, with tens of thousands protesting regularly against spy cams under the slogan “My Life is Not Your Porn.”