Over 500,000 fans worldwide have signed a petition supporting and defending K-pop boy band iKON leader B.I, aka Hanbin, who announced on June 12 that he was leaving the group due to allegations related to illegal drugs.
The petition on Change.org titled “Hanbin shouldn’t have to leave iKON” is intended “not to make Hanbin feel obligated to stay, it is only to show support.”
“Hanbin was accused by Dispatch of 2016 drug use on June 11, 2019. There has been an official statement released, informing us that YG Entertainment orders drug tests every month or so from the USA and NONE of the IKON members, INCLUDING HANBIN tested positive,” according to the petition.
It added that “iKONICS and fans don’t want Hanbin to leave iKON when he did nothing wrong. He doesn’t deserve to. We just want him to be in a positive mental state and obviously at the time when he was thinking about doing drugs, he was not. Hanbin only mentioned he was thinking about drugs due to his pain, but NEVER took drugs due to being too scared.”
“We have every right to make a petition to voice our opinion. That’s the least we can do since he was practically thrown out unfairly. If nothing changes, at least we can show him how important he is to us as a person and as an IKON member,” the petition stated.
As of writing, the petition has been signed by 511,360 fans.
B.I decided to leave iKON and YG Entertainment terminated his exclusive contract on June 12 after Korean entertainment news site Dispatch revealed chat conversations between the K-pop idol and a drug dealer in 2016 for the purchase of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a hallucinogen.
The drug dealer was arrested in 2016 and during a police investigation, the suspect told about delivering 10 pieces of LSD to B.I outside iKON’s dorm in Mapo, Seoul on May 3, 2016. But during a third investigation, the drug dealer took back the earlier statement.
After the story came out, B.I took to Instagram to apologize and announce that he was leaving iKON.
“First of all, I apologize for the trouble caused by my inappropriate actions. It is true that I once wanted to rely on something that I shouldn’t even have an interest in when I had a hard time. But I was scared and afraid to do it,” he posted.
He added, “Nevertheless, I am so embarrassed and sorry for the fans and members who are greatly disappointed and hurt because of my wrong words. I humbly reflect on my mistakes and I want to leave my team. Again, I bow my head and apologize to the fans and members. I’m sorry.”
B.I debuted as a member of iKON in September 2015. With his departure, the remaining members in iKON are Chanwoo, Jinhwan, Bobby, Yunhyeong, Ju-ne and Donghyuk.