EXO originally started with a total of 12 members. However, the group eventually downsized to 9 after 3 Chinese members filed lawsuits against SM Entertainment.
After the departures of Luhan, Kris, and Tao, Lay garnered attention for being the only Chinese member to remain in the group. Around the time of their departures, some netizens joked that Lay would eventually be leaving EXO as well. Despite the departures and some negative attention, EXO overcame the issue and successfully continued promoting as a group of 9. Lay also assured fans he will not terminate the contract with SM and keep the promise with his members.
However, concerns surrounding Lay's departure are growing following his frequent absence in EXO's activities.
This year, Lay was unable to participate in parts of EXO's concert tour due to "failure in schedule adjustments". Not only that, Lay was absent in EXO's comeback with ''Ko Ko Bop'' as well as current promotions for ''Power''.
Many non-EXO fans mistakenly think Lay has already departed the group. Comments stated, "Huh? Lay hasn't left the group yet? They were always just 8 members so I thought he already did...", "What the... I've never seen him on music shows with EXO so I thought he had already left."
Others believe Lay's continuous absence is foreshadowing his impending departure from the group. Comments stated, "If I were a fan of EXO, I would be supporting them as a group of 8 at this point", "I think he's eventually leaving the group...", "Just leave."
On the other hand, some are arguing that if Lay really wanted to leave, he would've left already. These netizens explained the main reason why Lay isn't or unable to participate in the Korean comebacks is due to the strained South Korea-China relationship over THAAD.
In midst of the all this, Lay is currently busily continuing his promotions in China. He also recently became the third artist from SM Entertainment to get a wax figure at Madame Tussauds. Many netizens claim Lay at the museum posing with his wax twin reminded them of Kris and Luhan at the same event.
What are your thoughts on the issue?