Lee Jong-Hyun Leaves K-Pop Band CNBLUE After Scandal

K-pop group CNBLUE hasn’t released an album since 2018, and that was a “best of” compilation album. With most of its members busy with military duties, the group has largely faded out of the public eye during the past couple of years. But that changed earlier this year when band member Lee Jong-Hyun was embroiled in a scandal involving sexually inappropriate messages.

K-pop singer Lee Jong Hyun
K-pop singer Lee Jong Hyun of CNBLUE | Han Myung-Gu/WireImage/Getty Images

What led to Lee Jong-Hyun’s departure from CNBLUE

In March, it was revealed that K-pop singer Jung Joon-young (a DJ) was caught illegally using hidden cameras to film women without their consent. The videos contained sexually explicit content, and Jung Joon-Young shared the videos with other celebrities, including CNBLUE’s Lee Jong-Hyun. Jung Joon-young was posting the videos in a group chat and after he was caught, was indicted for a number of sex crimes (including rape) in a South Korean court, E! News Asia reported.

According to Soompi, around the same time, it was discovered that Jong-Hyun participated in viewing the videos and was having one-on-one conversations about the women with Jung Joon-Young about their exploits. Collectively, the authorities characterized the acts as “illicit, sexually degrading chats.”

CNBLUE’s label, FNC Entertainment, then issued a statement on his behalf explaining that he knew he was wrong and needed to reflect:

“He is reflecting and is he deserves criticism as he watched the videos via KakaoTalk, had inappropriate sexual conversations, and inappropriate conversations degrading women as reported. Feeling embarrassed and horrible, Lee Jong Hyun accepts the criticism of the public regarding his wrong sexual morality and values and is deeply regretful and criticizing himself. He will be careful about all of his words and actions as a public figure, and he will reflect and accept the consequences of his wrongdoings.”

The 29-year-old singer released a statement today announcing his exodus

Recently, it’s been reported that Lee Jong-Hyun sent flirty messages to YouTuber Park Min-Young. She took a screenshot of the message and shared it on her Instagram story, but apologized later for creating a controversy. Fans told her she did the right thing, but she removed the screenshot, per AllKPop.

One of his messages read, “I watch your YouTube channel very often. Please upload more interesting content. Your belly fat is cute.”

After the post caused a social media uproar, Lee Jong-Hyun deleted his Instagram account and today, FNC Entertainment released a statement announcing his retirement from CNBLUE.

“Hello. This is Lee Jong Hyun.

I once again apologize to the people I’ve hurt through my inappropriate words and actions and to all the people that I’ve greatly disappointed.

Also although it’s late, I am informing you that I’m withdrawing from CNBLUE. I feel sorry that I have caused harm for the members, and I have told the members as well that I am withdrawing. I am ashamed to have disappointed the fans who believed in me.

Since all of us including me are currently doing our military service, it took a while to convey opinions and announce this. I feel sorry and grateful to our company who waited.

I feel great regret over my wrongdoing and I am willing to accept criticism from many people. I’m sorry for evoking criticism over a shameful matter.”

What’s next for CNBLUE

Lee Jong-Hyun and the other members of CNBLUE have all been occupied with serving their mandatory military service terms. In the wake of the scandal, fans began clamoring for Lee Jong-Hyun’shis removal from the band (he’s a vocalist and guitarist), but it is assumed he will continue with his enlistment. One group member—Jung Yong-Hwa—is due to be discharged this coming November.

There is no word on whether or not the band has plans to release new music once their military time is over. Fans can keep up to date on social media.