H1-KEY’s agency says Thai member Sitala will remain in the group despite backlash

"We cannot hold Sitala accountable on the basis of her father’s past decisions"

South Korean entertainment agency Grandline Group has announced that Sitala will remain part of upcoming girl group H1-KEY, in spite of the ongoing controversy.

Last week, Sitala, a Thai member of the forthcoming K-pop act, had caused a stir online over her family’s alleged involvement in the 2014 political crisis in Thailand. Her 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, according to both The Korea Times and The Bangkok Post.

Earlier today (December 8), her agency addressed the controversy with a statement released on social media. Grandline Group said that it has been “very cautious” about the backlash, and had taken time to considered “the history, political, economical and social context and background of Thailand” before responding.

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“We have thoroughly reviewed matters regarding Sitala and her background of her father’s actions, how she was brought up as a minor and up until how she has become a young adult,” it stated. “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 then shared its decision to keep Sitala in H1-KEY, and addressed a self-written profile by the idol, where she had shared that her “role model” was her father. Grandline explained that Sitala had named him as her role model “based on [his] role as a parental figure of the family, actor and director, and not upon his political views and actions”.

Grandline Group added that the upcoming idol was reflecting after feeling “remorse and pain” from the concerns raised by Thai citizens. “The Sitala we know is a very polite and hardworking person,” it stated. “We sincerely would like to ask everyone to cheer on and support Sitala and treat her with warmth and kindness.”

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.

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