Third-Gen Idol-Actor “Abandons” Group, K-Netizens Express Anger

Many fans were anticipating his participation.

As idols grow older and more secure in their careers, many venture into other entertainment avenues. Many idol actors maintain both group activities and grow their acting careers simultaneously.

EXO’s D.O | SM Entertainment
BTOB’s Yook Sungjae | GQ Korea
ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo

At the same time, as contracts expire and interests change, some idols prefer to focus on their acting careers, leaving the group they promoted with. Former SF9‘s Rowoon is an example of this, having earned mixed reactions after announcing his departure to focus on acting.

Recently, another idol actor earned adverse reactions with an announcement regarding his K-Pop group.

Since 2016, VIXX have remained active, despite member departures and military services. Currently, the group comprises four members — Leo, N, Hyuk, and Ken.

VIXX’s Ken, Leo, N, and Hyuk

At the end of October 2023, it was announced that VIXX would make a full comeback for the first time in five years. Many were excited to see the four on stage together and what sort of concept would be promoted.

The Concept Kings Are Back: VIXX Set To Have First Full-Group Comeback In Five Years

On November 4, the same day as VIXX’s first teaser, N shared a letter letting fans know that he would not be participating in the comeback.

“Dear Starlights,
This letter has been difficult to start because I don’t know how to explain everything. But I finally worked up the courage to write one, after hesitating for a while. I’m sorry that I won’t be participating in promoting the album. And I’m sorry I won’t be seeing you all on stage as VIXX. This apology has been sitting heavy in my heart until I decided to talk about it today. I know, from the letters and the messages that I got from Starlights, how you feel. I know how long you’ve waited without promises, and how frustrating it has been. And I know how big of a burden this could be to the members holding down VIXX as it is now. But after careful consideration, and after endless conversations with the members, I decided that I would not be able to take part in the promotions for this album as Leader N. I apologize to everyone that I’m letting down with this news, especially knowing how much Starlights have been looking forward to it. Dear Starlights, whose hearts I’ve broken, I’m sorry and I appreciate you all. and I’m grateful for Taekeun, Jaehwan, and Hyuk, who still treat me as VIXX’s oldest hyung and who worked through the difficult times with me, too. While I won’t be a part of this album, I will support it with all my heart; And I wish VIXX and Starlights all the best, and I hope you make beautiful new memories together. VIXX has been my life for throughout my 20s. And even in my 30s, I’ve always considered it as home, where my roots grow. I won’t ever forget that. And I’ll continue to do my very best to repay you all for the love and support. Thank you always.”

— VIXX’s N

His letter was not well received by K-Netizens, who viewed his actions as abandoning the group. Many even referenced how the other three members, all active as solo artists, made time for the comeback.

  • If he won’t promote as a part of the group, he shouldn’t keep his leader role. IMO.
  • Just… leave the group.
  • Or, like, he could quit.
  • I feel terrible for the fans. I don’t really follow idols. But it does bother me when idol group members don’t want anything to do with the group activities, but won’t let go of their places in the group because of the clout. It’s annoying how they won’t quit, while not giving it their best.
  • I don’t really understand the excuse that he’s too busy acting to participate in the album promotions. I watch a lot of musicals at Daehak-ro… and Ken was on stage today. Leo has a lot of bigger shows lined up AND he does smaller theatrical work, too. I get that going on tour might be a stretch, but recording the album, shooting the MV, and doing a couple of music shows as well as fan meetings doesn’t sound like a lot to ask. Besides… There are other idols who had roles in K-Drama while promoting as a group AND went on tour.
  • Judging from his behavior, I don’t think he has any desire left to participate in group activities. He should simply leave the group like Rowoon left SF9. I get that it’s up to him to decide what he wants/doesn’t want to do in terms of activities, but I don’t get why he won’t quit the group. Is it because he still wants the income from being a part of VIXX?