Quick Summary: Seunghan’s Controversy and RIIZE’s Journey

  • Scandal and Suspension: RIIZE member Seunghan faced backlash after private photos and videos of him kissing a woman and smoking a cigarette were leaked. This led to his indefinite suspension by SM Entertainment, despite his public apology and ongoing fan support for his return.
  • Fan Response: Nearly 19,000 fans signed a petition demanding legal action against those who leaked Seunghan’s private content and called for an end to his hiatus. Chants supporting Seunghan were heard at RIIZE’s concerts, highlighting fan desire for his return.
  • RIIZE’s Success Amidst Controversy: Despite the scandal, RIIZE’s latest single “Boom Boom Bass” and their mini-album “RIIZING” have achieved significant success, with millions of views and over a million copies sold globally. Seunghan’s vocals are still featured on some tracks, leaving his future with the group uncertain.

Read: K-Pop Powerhouses Look to Japan and North America for Growth

From Stardom to Silence: What Happened to Seunghan?

The Hidden Story Behind RIIZE’s Missing Member: Seunghan’s Controversy and Its Impact
source: Riize instagram

RIIZE, a promising rookie boy band under SM Entertainment, has quickly become a sensation in the K-pop world. Known for their authenticity and relatable online presence, the group was set to lead the next generation of K-pop idols. However, a controversy surrounding one of its members, Seunghan, has sparked debate and revealed the tension between South Korea’s traditional social norms and the demands of international fame.

RIIZE’s Initial Promise: Authenticity and Approachability

In July 2023, SM Entertainment introduced RIIZE’s seven members—Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee, and Anton—through casual Instagram photos, setting a tone of relatability. During an interview in Los Angeles for Billboard’s digital cover story, member Eunseok expressed their desire to connect with fans by sharing “a lot of pictures of our daily life and intimate [moments] on social media.”

Read: Upcoming K-pop concerts, tours and music festivals in Asia: SEVENTEEN, aespa, NCT and more

Seunghan’s Scandal: A Pre-Debut Controversy

Despite the group’s initial success, Seunghan was notably absent from their activities following an August 2023 leak of private photos and videos showing him kissing an unidentified woman and smoking a cigarette. While such behavior might be seen as trivial elsewhere, it sparked outrage in South Korea, a country with conservative values regarding its idols. The backlash was swift, with some fans calling for Seunghan’s removal before RIIZE’s debut.

A Public Apology: Seunghan Speaks Out

The Hidden Story Behind RIIZE’s Missing Member: Seunghan’s Controversy and Its Impact
Source: RIIZE’s official instagram page

Ahead of RIIZE’s debut single “Get a Guitar” in September, Seunghan issued a public apology on Instagram, expressing regret for causing harm to the group due to his “carelessness.” Despite his apology, criticism persisted, and Seunghan’s involvement in the group remained a contentious issue.

SM Entertainment’s Response: Indefinite Suspension

On November 22, 2023, SM Entertainment announced Seunghan’s indefinite suspension, citing his “severe apologetic” feelings and the need for him to reflect. The label also mentioned taking legal action against those who maliciously edited and leaked the content. Seunghan echoed his regret in a handwritten letter to fans, but the controversy continued to overshadow the group’s activities.

Read: 11 K-Pop Breakouts of 2024 According to GRAMMY: From NCT Wish to KATSEYE

The Fan’s Perspective: Calls for Transparency and Action

As RIIZE’s popularity grew, so did the demands from fans for clarity regarding Seunghan’s status. Nearly 19,000 fans signed a petition urging SM Entertainment to take legal action over the privacy breach and end Seunghan’s hiatus. Chants of “RIIZE is seven” and “Seunghan” at fan concerts in Los Angeles and Mexico City highlighted the fans’ desire for his return.

A Look at SM Entertainment’s History: Managing Scandals

The Hidden Story Behind RIIZE’s Missing Member: Seunghan’s Controversy and Its Impact
source: Riize official instagram page

SM Entertainment has faced similar situations before. Super Junior’s Kangin took multiple hiatuses due to DUIs, and Lucas of NCT stepped back following allegations of personal misconduct. Both artists remained with SM but faced altered career paths. Meanwhile, EXO’s Chen faced backlash for announcing his marriage and fiancée’s pregnancy but continued with the group after support from his bandmates.

The Uncertain Future: What’s Next for Seunghan?

Rumors have circulated that Seunghan might be preparing for college exams, suggesting a potential shift away from entertainment. While his future with RIIZE remains uncertain, the group continues to thrive. Their latest single, “Boom Boom Bass,” has garnered millions of views, and their mini-album “RIIZING” has sold over a million copies globally. Notably, Seunghan’s vocals are still featured on the track “Talk Saxy.”

Conclusion: RIIZE’s Journey Continues

Despite the controversy, RIIZE is on an upward trajectory. As fans and the industry await a resolution to Seunghan’s situation, the group’s success illustrates their resilience and the complexities of navigating fame in the modern K-pop landscape. Whether Seunghan will return or move on to new endeavors remains to be seen, but RIIZE’s impact on the music world is undeniable.

Source: Billboard