Upcoming K-pop boyband ATBO to debut without Yang Dong-hwa

The pre-debut ATBO member was recently accused of school misconduct

IST Entertainment’s upcoming boyband ATBO will be moving forward without Yang Dong-hwa, following allegations of misconduct during the trainee’s school days.

Set to debut in the second half of 2022, ATBO’s original seven members had been chosen through the idol survival series The Origin — A, B or What?, which concluded last month. However, one of its finalists, Yang Dong-hwa has since come under fire for his alleged misconduct as a student.

Today (June 14), IST Entertainment announced its decision to drop the member from the lineup of ATBO, which will continue as a six-member group. “After reading the posts regarding Yang Dong-hwa on social media and online communities, we received the artist’s consent to contact the school officials, alumni, and acquaintances to discuss the issue and confirm the facts,” wrote the agency, per Soompi.


Upon investigation, the agency shared that some of the allegations made against Yang had been “different” from the truth. However, it also noted that “there were students who were hurt because of Yang Dong-hwa’s immature and inappropriate remarks and actions”, sharing that the trainee has since issued an apology to several of his former classmates.

“Following the fact-checking process mentioned above and an in-depth discussion with the artist, we have decided that he will no longer be joining ATBO in their debut and promotions,” said IST Entertainment.

“We know this does not make up for the past, but we hope the artist’s sincerity was delivered to those he has hurt. For the artist himself, we hope this serves as a chance to look back on the past and turn over a new leaf,” it continued, adding that Yang will continue working towards his goals.

“A young man with his whole life ahead of him is admitting his mistake, taking responsibility, and repenting. We would more than appreciate it if you understood and encouraged him as he learns from his mistakes and grows into a mature and responsible member of society,” concluded the agency.