A new K-pop idol has become embroiled in controversy following allegations that her family allegedly had ties to the 2014 Thai political crisis.
Sitala, a member of the upcoming K-pop girl group H1-KEY, which are slated to debut on January 5, has caused a stir online over her family’s alleged involvement in the 2014 political crisis in Thailand.
According to both The Korea Times and The Bangkok Post, Sitala’s father was late Thai actor and filmmaker Sarunyu Wongkrachang, who had allegedly been a supporter of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which played a key role in the 2014 Thai political crisis. He had also later reportedly produced and released a propaganda film in support of the Thai military government, per The Korea Times.
The news of Sitala’s upcoming debut as a K-pop idol has since garnered uproar online from K-pop fans and Thai citizens alike on Twitter, with many citing a self-written profile from the singer that her “role model” was her father.
“She is totally part of it all,” one Thai Twitter user wrote in protest. “Why [does] she has such a privilege to be an artist in a democratic country after [ruining] our freedom & rights?”
— bubblebubbly (@bubblebubblyy) November 30, 2021
Other have also voiced similar criticisms towards the group’s agency, Grandline Group (GLG) and Sitala across social media, calling for her to be removed from H1-KEY. GLG has yet to respond to the allegations as of writing.
— mimmii | ☁️ (@mimmii6029P) December 2, 2021
However, others have also called for calm amid the controversy. Notable Thai activist Nattha Mahatthana has spoken out against the online uproar, saying that the singer deserves freedom of expression and should be responsible for their own actions, per The Bangkok Post.
H1-KEY are the first K-pop act from the Grandline Group, which is a subsidiary of popular K-hiphop label Grandline Entertainment. The latter is home to acts like Stella Jang, Geeks and more.