On June 13, IST Entertainment made an official statement in response to the latest bullying allegations against member Yang Donghwa, who was to join the newly debuting boy group ATBO after being selected through 'THE ORIGIN - A, B, Or What?'
The agency wrote, "After reading the posts regarding Yang Donghwa on social media and online communities, we received the artist's consent to contact the school officials, alumni, and acquaintances to discuss the issue and confirm the facts."
The agency explained that it had found that some students were hurt by the newly debuting idol. Therefore, the agency ultimately decided that Yang Donghwa will not be joining ATBO to self-reflect on his past actions.
IST Entertainment elaborated, "We bow our heads and extend our apologies to those who were upset by Yang Donghwa's past misconduct, as well as those who showed love for the artist...Following the fact-checking process mentioned above and an in-depth discussion with the artist, we have decided that he will no longer be joining ATBO in their debut and promotions."
The entertainment company also left a word of encouragement to the departing artist saying, "We know this does not make up for the past, but we hope the artist's sincerity was delivered to those he has hurt. For the artist himself, we hope this serves as a chance to look back on the past and turn over a new leaf...We would more than appreciate it if you understood and encouraged him as he learns from his mistakes and grows into a mature and responsible member of society."