In WM's official statement, the label stated, "We have recently come to a settlement with Laun (Kim Min Suk) for him to halt all entertainment activities due to his personal reasons, and so as of August 23, he will be leaving the team and ending his contract with the company." The label did not provide any further explanation for Laun's decision to leave his group except for "personal reasons".
Shocked with the news, fans of ONF began looking into Laun as well as ONF's most recent activities.
Just recently, ONF's Laun made his acting debut through web drama 'When You Love Yourself' season 2:
Then, last week, Laun attended the recent recording of MBC's Chuseok special 'Idol Star Athletics Championship' with his group members:
Earlier this week, ONF began releasing teasers for their fall comeback:
Then, an hour before WM Entertainment's official statement regarding Laun's departure, fans noticed ONF member E-Tion going live on 'V Live', eating ramen:
Shortly after WM Entertainment's announcement, ONF's OFF Team leader J-Us took to the group's fan cafe to write, "First, I apologize for delivering such sudden, unfortunate news to Fuses. We also heard of Laun's decision to leave the group very suddenly, and so we also feel very shocked and don't know what to do. However, knowing that Fuses will be the most hurt and upset by the news, I am writing this letter."
He also added, "Over half of the ONF members worked day and night for a very long time in order to achieve our dream of debuting. After achieving that dream, we thought that we would only have happy times from there on, but it turned out that there were times when we felt tired and weary, and today is a day where I learned that we can't all go straight in the directions that we want."
From J-Us's letter, many fans suspected that even the ONF members were not notified of Laun's departure until WM Entertainment's official announcement to the press. In addition, many are confused by the fact that the label gave no specific reason for Laun's departure, as with previous idols' cases where they chose to leave the industry due to health issues, academics, etc. The idol has no history of taking hiatuses due to health problems, or rumors of attitude issues, further confounding fans.
Some netizens commented, "This is one of the strangest idol member departures ever", "I still can't believe it, Laun really isn't the type of person to get into trouble TT", "If they're really not giving any reasons, doesn't it mean he got in some big trouble?", "Most idols leave a letter of thanks after they leave, but this one's gone off the grid in a snap", and more.
Meanwhile, some ONF fans also pitched in their comments, wondering if this departure is temporary for "marketing" purposes. According to fans, ONF may be pursuing a storyline in their musical concept where the remaining members go searching for a member who is not with them anymore. Some shared, "I heard some fans say that this group's universe is about finding Laun after he loses all of his memories? Is this related to their concept?", "If this is all for their 'universe' like some fans are saying, then it's crazy", "If this is for show just for the story of their 'universe', this company needs to shut down", etc.
How did you react to Laun's departure from ONF?