Lee Jong Hyun Departs K-Pop Group Cnblue Following Chatroom Controversy

 Lee Jong-Hyun
Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

Lee Jong-Hyun of South Korean boy band CNBLUE attends the photocall for 'JD Sports' launch on April 13, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. 

Singer-actor Lee Jong Hyun has withdrawn from K-pop band CNBLUE, the group’s company FNC Entertainment announced today (Aug. 28).

The news came several months after Lee was revealed to have been one of several South Korean male entertainers to partake in illicit, sexually degrading chats through which they viewed and shared illegally videos of sexual acts. Previously, FNC issued a statement that said the star, who is currently fulfilling South Korea’s mandatory military draft service, was in a period of reflection for his wrongdoing. But the issue arose again this week after YouTuber Park Min Jung revealed screenshots of a series of direct messages from Lee, received over Instagram, through which he reportedly said he enjoyed watching her YouTube channel and later added that he thought her belly fat was cute, drawing new attention to his inappropriate interactions with and about women. 

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 “Also although it’s late, I am informing you that I’m withdrawing from CNBLUE,” Lee said. “I feel sorry that I have caused harm for the members, and I have told the members as well that I am withdrawing. I am ashamed to have disappointed the fans who believed in me.”

Lee apologized further, and also addressed that the delay in his withdrawal was due to his being in the military.

One of several popular South Korean male entertainers brought down after the revelation of a series of chat rooms filled with illicit and immoral content, including allegations of sexual assault, Lee was active as a member of CNBLUE since 2010 and has also acted in South Korean television and film. The 29-year-old star was previously fined in relation to 2016 allegations of insider trading.