[OP-ED This post reflects the opinions of the author and not those of allkpop.]
In this article, I hope to discuss why Wonho deserves to be supported and why he should not have to leave Monsta X.
Starship Entertainment released a statement announcing Wonho’s departure from Monsta X on October 31. The statement revealed that Wonho chose to leave the group in order to avoid affecting the rest of his group due to the recent allegations against him. Shortly after, Wonho wrote a letter to address the fans regarding this matter. In his letter, he apologized repeatedly for causing fans pain and for harming his fellow bandmates. He thanked fans, his band members, and staff for supporting him and giving him happiness until that point.
There were two recent controversies involving Wonho that made their way into headlines. One involved Jung Da Eun who recently claimed on Instagram that Wonho has yet to repay a debt. Jung Da Eun then posted screenshots of the conversation that she had with Wonho’s lawyer. I am not saying that Wonho is above the law. If he owes someone money, he definitely should pay them back. However, I do think it is inappropriate for Jung Da Eun to be hashing this out on a public platform such as Instagram.
Wonho's lawyer stated: “What damages did you suffer exactly? Wonho does not believe there's any money that should be repaid, so he's very curious. If you explain the exact damages, I can relay the message accurately, and I'll make sure you don't suffer any damages”. From this statement, we can tell that Wonho currently doesn’t know or think that he owes Jung Da Eun any money, and if he does, he has the full intention of paying Jung Da Eun back if Jung Da Eun was able to tell him how much money he owes him and what for. In my opinion, Wonho did the right thing by getting his lawyer to try to settle this matter with Jung Da Eun in private. It doesn’t make much sense why Jung Da Eun would take this to Instagram, especially since it seemed like Wonho was ready to pay him back if he could prove that Wonho owed him any money. While I don't know what Jung Da Eun's true intention of porting this matter on Instagram is, it seems like it wasn't just money because if money was all she wanted from Wonho, it would make more sense to settle this in court rather than blowing this matter out of proportion online.
The second controversy involving Wonho was in regard to his alleged run-in with the law when he was young. A few days after the Jung Da Eun incident, Han Seo Hee, who is Jung Da Eun’s current close friend, took to Twitter to accuse Wonho of going to juvenile detention when he was 17 years old via a series of tweets. Wonho is a 93 liner, and that means he is 26 this year. This incident happened almost a decade ago. It seems to me that the two of them are trying to tarnish Wonho’s reputation by rehashing things from his past and blowing them out of proportion. If Wonho did do something wrong when he was young, it is only right that he received punishment for it. But even if Wonho did do something wrong that got him sent to Juvenile Detention when he was 17, it shouldn’t reflect on how he is as a person 9 years down the road. I am not saying that slates should be wiped completely clean just because I love Wonho but I think that people should be given second chances, especially if they do make the effort to change and do better. While it is not confirmed whether this is true or not, Wonho apologized for something he did in the past through his letter, stating “There was a time when I was immature, and I've made big and small mistakes. After becoming a trainee and debuting, I stayed on track and worked hard to avoid being ashamed of myself.” Even if Wonho did something wrong when he was young, the man that he has grown up is nothing short of amazing.
From observing him as a fan, I see that Wonho has shown in many ways how genuine and kind he is as a person. Here are a few examples that are a reflection of his true character. The love he has for his members is overwhelming. He left because he was afraid of harming his members and even when saying goodbye to fans he writes: “The members have nothing nothing to do with the issues with me. I carefully ask that you give support and encourage the members. They are people who are too good to stop and get hurt like this because of someone like me”. Wonho has always been one to take responsibility for his actions, he is often seen as being hard of himself for his mistakes. In NO.MERCY, (the survival show that produced Monsta X), Wonho also broke down talking about why he wants to debut and why he wants to be successful. He spoke out about how he wanted to do well so that he could finally support his mother who has given everything for him to chase his dream and pay her back for giving so much for him. Wonho also defended a lesbian ulzzang that was being bullied. One of his exes is transgender and Wonho was said to have dated that person to protect them as well.
It seems clear that it is in Wonho’s protective nature to always want to do what is best for the people around him that he cares for and loves so much. It is without a doubt that he loves his fellow Monsta X members and he wanted to leave to protect them from any backlash that may come with these controversies surrounding him.
Sadly, the image of Kpop idols are still being marketed very heavily as ‘perfect human beings’ even though we all know, in reality, that this is not physically possible. People make mistakes and as amazing as the Kpop idols that we stan are, they are humans too and it is likely that somewhere in their life, they might have made a mistake or did something wrong like the rest of us. It is extremely upsetting to see people holding them to ridiculously high standards that are impossible to achieve.
What makes matters worse, the ‘canceled’ culture is extremely prominent in K-media especially. Every small mistake an idol makes, regardless of how long ago and regardless of how much has changed since that mistake was made is unforgivable in the eyes of many K-netizens. Wonho is not the only one whose entire career has been uprooted because of a mistake that he might or might not have made years ago.
I hope that through reading this, you will see that these ‘allegations’ seem to be nothing more than two people trying to rehashing things of the past in a way that drags Wonho’s name through the mud. Although I don't know if Wonho really does owe that guy money or if he has been to juvenile detention before, from what I can see as a fan, the Wonho today, definitely does not seem like the same 17-year-old boy that they are accusing him of being.
Monbebes have started a petition in hopes of getting Wonho to stay in Monsta X. While I think we should respect Wonho’s wishes in whatever he chooses to do, I do hope that Wonho knows that he shouldn’t have to leave the band that he worked so hard for years to be a part of.
As a fan, I think it is evident that it was Wonho’s dream to be a part of an amazing group like Monsta X and as said in his letter, the few years he spent in the group has brought him a lot of happiness. I hope that Wonho knows that there are plenty of people who are in full support of him because even if he did something wrong in the past, the version of himself that he has grown to become is someone that he should be proud of. Wonho is someone who is beautiful both inside and out and he is definitely a person that is worthy of love and support from people everywhere.
The petition currently has 258,000 Signatures (as of the time this article was written), you can show your support here.