The life of a K-Pop idol trainee can be extremely difficult. Dance and vocal practice for hours each day, financial difficulties, and missing out on regular life are just some of the things that idol trainees face with no guarantee of debut. Many trainees now have to compete publicly to debut.
In addition to all the issues they can face, some trainees run into trouble when their past or present actions are revealed to fans and it can have terrible consequences for their careers. In some cases, the most controversial trainees are removed from their companies and struggle to find success.
Here is a list of some of K-Pop’s most controversial trainees and what they’re doing now:
1. Yoon Seobin
Yoon Seobin was a contestant on Produce X 101 as a trainee from JYP Entertainment in 2019. He was a popular fan favorite until he was accused of being a school bully which led to JYPE terminating his contract. There were also rumors of him smoking and drinking while underage as well.
As a result of these accusations, he was terminated by JYPE and removed from the show by Mnet. He was also edited out of all future episodes of Produce X 101. After his contract termination, Seobin apologized for his controversy while denying the bullying accusations.
I am sorry for causing a big controversy when I am only a trainee. I am back in my hometown but I can’t go online and I can’t meet anyone. I can’t do anything because I feel like the public will not see me in a good light no matter what I do. I’m simply sorry towards everyone.
— Yoon Seobin
Seobin was signed by Sublime Artist Agency later that year and was able to hold his first fan meeting Miracle on December 15, 2019.
Seobin made his acting debut in 2020 in the web drama Touch Me If You Can and also played a supporting role in the drama The Mermaid Prince: The Beginning. His most popular role to date is his role in the vampire BL drama Kissable Lips alongside Kim Ji Woong.
Seobin is also active on YouTube and posts song covers, vlogs, and behind-the-scenes videos from drama filming.
2. Hongseok (PENTAGON)
Prior to his debut with PENTAGON, Hongseok was featured on the reality survival program MIX&MATCH that formed iKON. Many fans of iKON were upset at the fact the pre-existing members of iKON had to participate in another reality program, but also at how Hongseok seemed to not be trying as hard as the other participants.
He later left YG Entertainment in March 2015 before joining Cube Entertainment where he competed in the reality program Pentagon Maker. It was during his time as a Cube trainee that what was believed to be his private Instagram and Cyworld accounts were revealed. Some of the alleged issues included disrespect towards senior singers, lovestagrams featuring gifts from fans that appeared to be given to his supposed girlfriend, and fatphobic comments.
He later apologized but when fans pointed out discrepancies in his apology, he removed the post. Many fans chalked his previous behavior up to his age at the time and appreciated his acceptance of the issues when they were brought up. After his debut with PENTAGON, Hongseok branched out to acting and has appeared in a variety of dramas including Anniversary Anyways, Best Chicken, and Blue Birthday.
Hongseok is currently serving his mandatory military enlistment.
3. Fu Yaning
As a participant on Girls Planet 999, trainee Fu Yaning (also known as YENNY) was involved in a few controversies.
In a preview posted, it seemed as though Yaning dissed fellow participant and former member of CLC Yujin. When she was asked if she had anything to say to Yujin, Fu Yaning pointed and rapped “We go up…but you don’t.”
Fu Yaning later claimed that this was part of the “evil editing” that often takes place on reality programs. Fu Yaning also caused controversy for her repeated usage of a racial slur in performances.
a nojenta da fu yaning dizendo a n word pic.twitter.com/4CCSZR7wQo
— mafe (@hyenbhd) July 30, 2021
She later apologized for her usage of the word. After she was eliminated in the show’s finale, she released a single titled “Starlight.” She has since made her acting debut and released an extended play in April 2022 under the name YENNY. Her first mini-album is set to be released on July 15, 2022.
4.Heo Chan Mi
Before her appearance as a trainee on Produce 101, Heo Chan Mi had an eventful career. She was a potential member of both f(x) and Girls Generation and debuted as a member of the co-ed K-Pop group Coed School. Heo Chan Mi later left the sub-unit formed from Coed School, F-ve Dolls, and was a trainee under Pledis Entertainment before joining Duble Kick Entertainment.
During her time with Duble Kick, she joined the Produce lineup as one of the contestants, leading some participants to complain that she had too much experience to be on the show. Heo Chan Mi received criticism over a liked comment on one of her Instagram posts. In the post, she and a friend were shown using a filter that made them into gorillas. Heo Chan Mi liked a comment from a fan that called the two “The Obamas”
Heo Chan Mi also appeared on Mix Nine during her time as a member of High Color. Since then she has joined FirstOne Entertainment, and released her solo album Highlight in June 2020. She now goes by Huh Chan Mi, and most recently competed on King Of The Masked Singer.
5. Han Jong Youn (Park Ha)
Han Jong Youn (now known as Park Ha) appeared on Produce 101 Season 2 as a trainee from Maroo Entertainment but was quickly removed from the show when bullying allegations were revealed. According to the claims, Han Jong Youn allegedly forced a classmate to masturbate in public. The victim in question uploaded screenshots of proof of the incident.
He also competed on MIXNINE before debuting under NOGA Entertainment as a member of LUCENTE. He has since competed on another reality program, G-EGG, and debuted as part of the Japanese-Korean project group NIK.
6. Han Seo Hee
The now infamous Han Seo Hee was originally a trainee under several different K-Pop companies and was rumored to be part of the potential line-ups for both GFRIEND and Gugudan.
Han Seo Hee initially gained infamy for her involvement with Big Bang T.O.P‘s marijuana charges. While investigating her drug usage investigators discovered that the rapper smoked marijuana with her on at least three different occasions. Han Seo Hee eventually claimed that YG Entertainment attempted to pin blame on her because of her non-celebrity status.
She was also directly involved with B.I‘s drug scandal and subsequent departure from iKON. Han Seo Hee was arrested in 2016 for violating the Drug Control Act. When police began checking chat logs on her phone, it was discovered that B.I inquired about purchasing both LSD and marijuana. When asked, Han Seo Hee gave conflicting statements on whether or not he actually purchased LSD.
She also was involved with the illegal drug and debt scandal that drove Wonho to leave MONSTA X in addition to sharing that MONSTA X‘s Shownu was allegedly involved with a married woman. She also made comments about BTS‘s V and Jaejoong.
She most recently apologized for the scene she made after being sentenced to jail on drug-related charges and exposed YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun Suk for allegedly meeting with her while she worked at a high-end brothel.