In the hours following Korean pop star Wonho's departure from Monsta X on October 31, 2019, fans around the world shared the trending #FightForWonho across social media in solidarity. They continued to do so in the days and weeks that followed. For fans, who call themselves Monbebe, it was a call to action, a global campaign to clear Wonho's name after accusations of marijuana use in 2013 spread online. Today (March 13), it was announced that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's internal investigation into the singer-songwriter has been closed and the charges have been dropped.
Since terminating the artist's exclusive contract on November 1, 2019, Monsta X's Korean management company Starship Entertainment has remained silent on the investigation, which was reportedly launched last September while he was an active member of Monsta X. But according to a new statement from Starship, provided to MTV News, the drug investigation team concluded the case earlier this week on March 10.
"During the investigation, Wonho actively cooperated with the police and all investigation procedures, including scientific examinations by the investigative agencies," the statement reads. "The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation unit conducted extensive investigations for the past five months but was unable to find any charges. Finally, on March 10th, Wonho's internal investigation was concluded."
The company goes on to thank the "fans for their unwavering support while the investigation was conducted," stating that they intentionally aimed to "minimize media exposure to Wonho" while matters were ongoing.
In addition to savvy social media campaigns to trend Wonho's name worldwide, Monbebe peacefully protested outside of Starship's Seoul headquarters for weeks; they also raised $20,000 for a Times Square billboard of the seven original members that read "we shine brighter as a family." And during promotions for the group's first English album, All About Luv, last month, fans chanted Wonho's name outside of events, bringing banners and signs adorned with his likeness to every public gathering.
It's clear that Monbebe are still fully committed to Wonho — but what about the company's relationship with the former idol now that the investigation has ended? "We will continue to fully support Wonho for developing his own career in the future," Starship says.
Below is the official statement from Starship Entertainment:
"The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation team cleared Wonho, a former member of the idol group Monsta X, of all charges against him on March 10th after closing an investigation into the drug, including marijuana.
In late October last year, allegations of marijuana smoking were raised against Wonho which consequently led the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation team to investigate all drug charges on him. During the investigation, Wonho actively cooperated with the police and all investigation procedures, including scientific examinations by the investigative agencies. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation unit conducted extensive investigations for the past five months but was unable to find any charges. Finally, on March 10th, Wonho's internal investigation was concluded.
Regardless of any above, we would like to apologize once again for the fact that Starship Entertainment and Wonho have caused great concern to our fans. We also thank all our fans for their unwavering support while the investigation was conducted.
During the long investigation, we tried our best to minimize media exposure to Wonho and to appoint an attorney to ensure that there are no charges against him. We will continue to fully support Wonho for developing his own career in the future.
Wonho, real name Lee Hoseok, has been keeping a low profile since leaving Starship. In a letter addressed to fans released the day of his exit from the group, the 27-year-old thanked Monbebe for "making precious memories for me" and his former members for working hard alongside side him since Monsta X's debut in 2015.
He also addressed the accusations against him, writing, "There was a time when I was immature and have made big and small mistakes, but after becoming a trainee and making my debut, I stayed on track and worked hard to avoid being ashamed of myself."