Monsta X fans were greeted with shocking news this past Thursday that member Wonho, real name Lee Ho-seok, would be leaving the group immediately.
Rumors and accusations have been circulating about Wonho’s past behavior over the past week. The most prominent accusations include failing to pay back money a friend loaned to him, being sent to a juvenile detention center and smoking marijuana. So far, there has not been any concrete evidence supporting the first two allegations, but the rumors have already left a deep mark on Wonho’s image in conservative South Korea.
Fans, collectively named Monbebe, are turning out in the thousands to demand Wonho’s reinstatement in Monsta X. One U.S.-based fan, Carter Lee, has started a GoFundMe page to display the request to Monsta X’s label, Starship Entertainment in Times Square. According to Billboard, the campaign raised more than $13,000 USD in the first hour it was up.
The description of the GoFundMe reads as follows: “We are going to make a graphic and display it in Times Square, where it will be on a board for 21 hours, a 15-second spot, 30 times per hour. They will not put out this fire inside of us…fire needs oxygen, Monsta X needs Monbebe. Starship cannot ignore us.”
Protests have also been taking place outside of Starship Entertainment’s headquarters in Seoul. Fans have been writing messages of support for Wonho on sticky notes and posting them on the building. Fans observed staff members of Starship collecting the notes, placing them in bags, and taking them inside the building.
— 산’s marwa ⛰ -143 (@8eezs) October 31, 2019
Support has been widespread online as well. Fans have gotten multiple hashtags supporting Wonho and Monsta X to trend worldwide on Twitter. They have also started ones calling out Starship and demanding answers. There is also a Change.org petition called “Keep a member of Monsta X” that has over 400,000 signatures.
At time of publishing, Starship Entertainment and Monsta X have yet to release a statement in response to the protests.
Credit: Featured Image: Starship Entertainment