B.I Departs iKON Amid Drug Purchase Allegations: Reports
B.I of K-pop group iKON left the act on Wednesday (June 12) shortly after reports in local media alleged he had looked into purchasing drugs several years ago. The star, well-known as a rising producer in the Korean music scene, posted to Instagram shortly after the news broke to apologize for his past actions and announce his departure from the act.
“I will humbly reflect and leave the team,” he wrote. Label YG Entertainment later confirmed B.I’s departure from the group. In its statement, as reported by Soompi, the company stated that its exclusive contract with the rapper-songwriter had been terminated.
In the Instagram post, B.I (born Kim Han-bin) apologized for causing trouble with his past actions, and seemingly admitted to a 2016 alleged attempt to purchase marijuana and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), but denied using the drugs.
“It’s true that I had interest in something to rely on which I shouldn’t have at one point when I was having a hard time. But I was too scared and worried to follow through,” he wrote, as per translation by the Korea Herald.
Earlier today, Korean tabloid Dispatch released images of a conversation allegedly held over text message through which B.I expressed interest in purchasing drugs in 2016. The other person in the conversation had allegedly been arrested by police that year, and B.I’s intent became known, but he was not investigated at the time. South Korea has a tough stance on drug charges, and sentences can vary between a few months to several years in prison.
“Once again, I bow my head and sincerely offer my apologies to my fans and the [iKON] members. I'm sorry,” he concluded the statement.
The police station involved has reportedly issued a statement saying it will consider reopening the investigation, but had been unable to conduct the investigation in the past as there was no physical evidence of the claims and only testimony from the other party involved in the conversation.
The situation follows several investigations into YG Entertainment and founder Yang Hyun-Suk’s activities, including allegations of tax evasion and procurement of prostitution. Earlier this year, BIGBANG's Seungri left YG amid growing investigations into his role in widespread corruption and crime in the Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul's club scene.
iKON got its start in 2015, and B.I served as the group’s leader, rapper, and producer. He won songwriter of the year last year for the group’s hit song “Love Scenario” at the 2018 Melon Music Awards. He most recently featured on Lee Hi’s single “No One,” released at the end of May.