K-pop girl group H1-KEY have officially made their debut, in spite of a controversy surrounding Thai member Sitala.
H1-KEY officially debuted yesterday (January 5) with the release of their first-ever single, titled ‘Athletic Girl’, alongside its music video. H1-KEY are notably the first K-pop act from the Grandline Group (GLG), which is a subsidiary of popular K-hip-hop label Grandline Entertainment. The latter is home to acts like Stella Jang, Geeks and more.
The group’s label had first unveiled the four members of the girl group late last year. However, at the time, the reveal of Thai member Sitala has stirred controversy, due to her family’s alleged ties to the 2014 Thai political crisis.
During an online press conference held yesterday (January 5), Sitala shared her thoughts on the controversy. “I want to emphasise that I do not have any political belief right now,” she said, per The Korea Times.
“In the past, I was not clearly aware of what was happening in my country because I was too young,” she added. “I just hope that people with different perspectives live together in peace in Thailand.”
GLG had previously announced their decision to keep Sitala in H1-KEY, following backlash calling for her removal from the group. “We cannot hold Sitala accountable on the basis of her father’s past decisions,” GLG had said in a statement.
GLG had also added that the idol had been 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.”