Just five months after their debut, it has been revealed that K-pop star Sitala has exited the girl group H1-KEY.
In a statement to South Korean media outlet Wikitree on Wednesday, Grandline Group, the agency behind H1-KEY, announced that Sitala will be departing the K-pop girl group due to undisclosed “personal reasons”, following discussions with the singer.
“After speaking at length with the artist and the members of H1-KEY and considering the situation in its totality, we have come to this decision,” Grandline Group said, as translated by Koreaboo. “Most of all, we would like to apologise to the fans for the sudden news.”
The 4-member girl group debuted earlier on January 5 this year with the release of their first single, ‘Athletic Girl’, though Sitala’s inclusion was surrounded by controversy due to her family’s alleged involvement in the 2014 political crisis in Thailand.
GLG responded at the time by announcing their decision to keep Sitala in H1-KEY, despite calls by K-pop fans for her removal.
“We have come to the conclusion that we cannot hold Sitala accountable on the basis of her father’s past decisions and actions that were beyond her responsibility,” the agency’s statement read.
Speaking during a press conference in January, Sitala addressed the concerns, saying: “I want to emphasise that I do not have any political belief right now.
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“In the past, I was not clearly aware of what was happening in my country because I was too young,” she said, per The Korea Times.
Following the news of her exit, fans of the group seemed to mostly support the news, with one writing on Twitter, “Now the group look much better without the coup supporter #H1KEY.”
Another added: “Most of us are satisfied with this news. We think she deserves to leave and accept the actions of her past that has caused her to face with disappointment for the debut in Korea the land where has democracy.”