IST Entertainment Adds New Member To Boy Group ATBØ After Former Member Yang Donghwa Steps Down Amidst Bullying Allegations

The group will be making its debut with a 7-member line-up.

IST Entertainment recently announced that its new boy group ATBØ is adding a new member to its line-up. The changeup comes after the news that now-former member Yang Donghwa will no longer be making his debut with the group later this year.

Yang Donghwa

ATBØ has undergone more than one change since the line-up was officially announced at the finale of the survival show, The Origin – A, B, Or What?, wherein trainees competed for a spot in IST Entertainment’s new group.

The Origin – A, B, Or What? trainees

Seven trainees were chosen to form the new group, which IST Entertainment originally intended to debut under the name ABØ. Yet, the name faced considerable backlash, with netizens pointing out that it sounds too much like a racial slur and derogatory term used against indigenous Australians.

IST Entertainment was rightly asked to change the name. Fortunately, they listened and trademarked the new name, ATBØ, at the beginning of June 2022. While the new name was still met with some mixed reactions…

…fans were still grateful that the new group would no longer have to debut under a controversial name.

Yet, not long after the group was renamed, IST Entertainment made another change, this time to its line-up. Following bullying allegations against member Yang Donghwa, it was decided that he would leave the group and no longer make his debut alongside the other winners of The Origin – A, B, Or What?.

In a statement, IST Entertainment informed fans that Yang Donghwa had decided to step down and take some time to reflect on his actions.

Through this decision Yang Donghwa intends to apologize sincerely to his fellow students for his past misconduct. Although he hasn’t made his debut, Yang Donghwa and his parents have expressed their desire to be reprimanded for the mistakes, and will take this time to self-reflect and repent. We have gone through an in-depth discussion with Yang Donghwa and his parents, and we will be respecting their decision regarding this issue.

— IST Entertainment

His departure left the seventh spot in ATBØ’s line-up open, and thankfully there were many very deserving candidates among the trainees who competed in The Origin – A, B, Or What?. IST Entertainment’s most recent statement announced that the company has been conducting evaluations of the trainees who were eliminated from the show.

For about a month after recording the final member selection on The Origin – A, B, Or What?, IST Entertainment carried out an internal evaluation of the six trainees who had been eliminated. This was done as a continuation of their training process but also to consider selecting an additional member that could contribute to completing ATBØ.

— IST Entertainment

After careful consideration, it was decided that trainee Won Bin will be a great fit for the group. As a talented young artist who gained plenty of support from fans, Won Bin did particularly well in the show.

During the evaluation, trainee Won Bin received the highest score by proving his vast potential and ability to learn quickly. Won Bin has also received huge support from domestic and international fans, ranking first in all global fan polls during the program.

— IST Entertainment

Won Bin

The new line-up will now include Jeong Seunghwan, Oh Junseok, Seok Rakwon, Ryu Junmin, Bae Hyunjun, Kim Yeonkyu, and Won Bin.

ATBØ’s original line-up on The Origin – A, B, Or What? | 1theK/YouTube

IST Entertainment apologized for going against the results of the survival show but claimed it was ultimately done with the best of intentions.

This was a decision made in an effort to satisy as many of you as we can and create a team loved by many more people, so we humbly ask for your kind understanding.

— IST Entertainment

ATBØ is scheduled to make their official debut in the summer of 2022. IST Entertainment shared a small update regarding their progress, claiming that the company is currently “developing quality content” for the group, while the members themselves “are working hard to prepare for their debut.”

Given the unexpected obstacles the young group has already faced so far, it will be great to finally see the members make their hard-earned debut soon. We wish them the best of luck, as well as congratulations to new member Won Bin!

Read IST Entertainment’s full statement below.

Source: Twitter