SEOUL -- Yoon Seo-bin, a talented trainee who shined in a popular audition program, lost his contract to be expelled from JYP Entertainment over his alleged past wrongdoing as a disorderly student following revelations by a whistleblower who claimed to be a schoolmate.
Yoon, 20, appeared in the first episode of "Produce X 101", the fourth season of South Korea's cable TV music audition show, on May 3. The JYP trainee excelled in in-program competitions and even won a rare chance to shoot a one-minute solo promotion video.
However, the agency, which manages girl bands TWICE and ITZY, said in a statement on Wednesday that it terminated a trainee contract with Yoon. He would be removed from "Produce X 101", according to JYP. The Produce series, a preferred stage for trainees who wish to become a K-pop idol, have produced project idol bands such as I.O.I, Wanna One and Iz One.
JYP's decision came after one of Yoon's high school mates argued that Yoon was a member of a well-known school bully gang in the southern city of Gwangju. Photographs showing Yoon drinking and smoking with friends have been uploaded.
The revelation caused an uproar from fans. "Well. I guess it's all over for Yoon now. No one can become an idol if he is an ex-school bully gang member," said "Yeem", a user at South Korean online community "Clien". Many fans supported JYP's decision to expel Yoon.
It is not rare for trainees competing in music audition programs to be removed because of improper actions. In 2017, a trainee was expelled from the second season of the Produce show after fans found that he had made improper remarks to an underage fan via social media.
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