If you’re a big K-pop fan, you’ve probably heard of the band Stray Kids. But how much do you know about Woojin, the group’s former lead singer? Since leaving the group a little over a year ago, he’s gotten himself into some pretty hot water. Read on to find out what went south with the 23-year-old pop star.
Who Are Stray Kids?
Stray Kids is a wildly successful South Korean pop band. They were formed by JYP Entertainment in 2017 as part of a reality show also called Stray Kids. The band initially had nine members: Woojin, Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. Some of their most popular songs include “Hellevator, ”District 9,” “My Pace,” and “I am YOU.”
Woojin Is A Former Member Of Stray Kids
Kim Woojin was born in Daejeon, South Korea, on April 8th, 1997. Before becoming a member of the K-pop band, he attended the School of Performing Arts Seoul and was a trainee at SM Entertainment (a Korean entertainment company that trains and puts together K-pop bands). He also worked with the members of NCT, another hugely popular Korean boy band.
Woojin was 20 years old when Stray Kids first hit it big in 2017, and he stayed in the band until October of 2019. According to Soompi.com, Woojin recently signed a deal to release his first solo record sometime in 2021. He’s also been adding new content to his YouTube page, including vlogs, short films, and covers. Clearly, he’s setting his sights on a solo career.
But the official reason given for Woojin’s departure was quite vague. JYP Entertainment released a statement on the band’s online fan board saying:
Woojin, who has been with Stray Kids as a member until this time, has left the group due to personal circumstances and terminated his exclusive contract. We express apologies for causing trouble to many fans with the sudden news. As a result, Stray Kids’ mini album “Clé : LEVANTER,” which was scheduled for a November 25 release, will be delayed to December 9. We once again express apologies to the fans who have waited for a long time. We ask for much support for Woojin who will be going on a new path, and we also ask for the warm support of STAY for the eight Stray Kids members who will once again go on the road towards their dreams with their compass.
Woojin Made The Other Stray Kids Members Uncomfortable
While we can only guess what those “personal circumstances” were, there have been rumors that the band was not always at ease around Woojin. Koreaboo.com cites an 2018 video clip of the Stray Kids as evidence for this claim. In the video, Woojin is physically slighted by one of his fellow boy band members as the group takes the stage to accept an award. He then rushes quickly and angrily to the other side of the stage.
Of course, it’s impossible to know what was really going on here—the clips are just seconds long and there are many people crowding the stage. However, there was enough buzz when the video surfaced to get some curious fans talking.
Woojin Was Accused of Sexual Harassment
Fans may have scrutinized that 2018 video extra carefully as a result of some recent sexual harassment accusations made against Woojin. In September 2020, an anonymous Twitter user posted a series of tweets describing her encounter with the singer at a bar in Seoul, claiming the K-pop star repeatedly touched women inappropriately without their consent. The tweets spurred a number of other women to come forward on the social media platform claiming they’d had similar experiences with the pop star.
Woojin vehemently denied the allegations on his Instagram page, writing:
“Today, I had an absurd experience. I’m letting fans know what’s going on by posting this. Someone posted a strange rumor on Twitter and then deleted their account… I’ve never even met that person, and I’ve never been to where they said I was.”
He continued: “I know my fans must’ve been very shocked, but it’s not true so don’t worry too much. Also, I recently found an agency that my heart agrees with, so I’m working hard to prepare for solo promotions,”
Woojin also told the South China Morning Post that he was surprised people actually believed the false stories. “I didn’t take it seriously when the issue first came up because it’s not true at all. I knew that Twitter users often make up stories, but I was shocked that my case was spreading way faster than any of the other rumours.”
10x Entertainment, Woojin’s current management company, has stood behind the K-pop singer and denounced the accusations as false. They also say they have photos that prove Woojin was at home, and not in a bar, when the alleged first sexual assault happened, and that they plan to take legal action against the accusers.