BI of iKON leaves group and label over drug allegations

He says he’s “ashamed and apologetic” over his actions.

BI formerly of iKON press image
Image: YG Entertainment

BI—real name Kim Han-bin—the leader of the popular K-pop boyband iKON, has left his group and label, YG Entertainment, following allegations that he had attempted to purchase illicit substances.

The K-pop idol took to his Instagram to break the news, apologizing to his bandmates and fans. “It is true that I wanted to rely on something that I shouldn’t have had any interest in due to going through a hard and painful time. However, I was too scared and fearful to do it,” Kim wrote in Korean, as translated by Soompi. “Even so, I am so ashamed and apologetic to fans who were greatly disappointed and hurt because of my wrong words and actions. I intend to humbly self-reflect on my mistake and leave the team.”

YG Entertainment has since confirmed the singer’s departure from both the group and the label. “Taking the matter seriously, [Kim] has decided to leave [iKON] and terminate his exclusive contract [with us]. [We have] become keenly aware of our responsibility for managing our agency artists,” their statement read.

Reports by South Korean media agency Dispatch, detailing Kim’s attempts to arrange the purchase of marijuana and LSD in April 2016, first broke early Wednesday morning local time. The report included several exchanges between the singer and the drug dealer, identified as “A,” on KakaoTalk (a popular messaging app in South Korea).

Amid the controversy, YG Entertainment has also confirmed that iKON will continue activities without Kim, as a six-member group. The boyband previously released the single “I’m OK,” from their January compilation, New Kids Repackage: The New Kids.