‘Produce 101’ Contestant Lee Hae In Leaves Agency, Won’t Debut With Lee Soo Hyun

During its airing, Produce 101 was one of the more popular music competition shows on Korean television. A lot of its popularity had to do with who participated and what was at stake: female talent from numerous agencies hoping to be a part of a girl group backed by a huge corporation.

Participants who became members of the Produce 101 girl group would do wonders for their careers. We know that to be a fact because Ideal of Idol, better known as I.O.I., has been one of the most popular girl groups to ever exist in K-pop recently. Almost every album they released, either it is an extended play (EP)/mini-album or long play (EP)/full-length studio album, have been successful selling up to the hundreds of thousands like their final K-pop comeback, a farewell single titled “Downpour.”

What some K-pop fans don’t know is that being a contestant on Produce 101 could be enough to jumpstart careers. For example, many former contestants of the music competition variety show who did not make it on I.O.I. are now members of K-pop girl groups. DIA and Gugudan come to mind.

Not all former Produce 101 former contestants are able to keep the ball rolling when handed an opportunity for one reason or the other. Case and point: Lee Hae In. Sadly for her, she had to leave her agency which also means she will not make her highly-anticipated debut with Lee Soo Hyun.

안녕하세요 이해인입니다. 최근 악플과 오해들로 인하여 그것에 대해 바로잡고자 저와 수현이 함께한 모든식구 분들께 피해를 끼치기 싫어서 알려드리고 싶어요 먼저 제가 HYWY 회사에서 나오게 된 이유는 이전에 소속되어있던 회사 SS 시절 여러문제들로 인해서 트라우마가 생겨 계속 힘들어하던 차에 공황장애 진단을 받았습니다. 그 후 숙소생활이힘들어 회사 분들과 여러 차례 이야기를 나누었고, 시기상 팀 데뷔 준비에 들어가야 했으나 저의 몸과 마음 건강상의문제 때문에 당장은 데뷔를위한 하드트레이닝이 힘이든 상황이라 병원에서는 휴식을권하셨고 제가 그당시 저로인해 피해를 끼치는게 두렵고 당장의 짧은기간안에 제가 이겨낼 수 있을까 스스로에 대한 확신이 없어 데뷔팀에서 빠지고싶다는의사를 회사에 전달하였습니다 회사에서는 저의 상태를 염려하여 여러 가지 면에서 도움을 주셨고 멤버들이나 회사모두 제상황에 대해 누구보다 걱정해 이후 제가 회복해 다시 데뷔준비를 할 가능성을 열어두시고 조건없이 제요구사항을 들어주셨고 회사 나온 이후에도 이미잡혀있었던 드라마 촬영 현장까지 혹여나 걱정되어 같이 도와주신만큼 많은 분들이 오해하시는 서로 틀어지거나 한 일은 없었다고 말씀드리고 싶어요. 제가 데뷔를하고 난 후 탈퇴 절차를밟는것이아니라 연습생 신분이였기에 회사를 퇴사하게된 이유에대해 공식입장을 밝히기가 곤란해 서로 입장발표 없이 각자의 위치에서 최선을 다하기로하고 지냈으나 침묵속에 오해가 계속 생기는 것 같아 뒤늦게나마 바로잡는것이 중요하다고 생각하여 글을 올립니다. 수현이와는 현재 곧 데뷔준비를하고 있기에 만나지는 못하지만 모든 멤버들 회사직원분들과 연락은 자주 주고받으며 이전보다도 잘 지내고 있습니다! 저 또한 6개월의 치료기간과 휴식기간을 거치며 지금은 충분하게 호전된 상태이며 앞으로의 행보에대해 회사이외에도 많은 분들과 이야기를 나누며 지내고 있으며 올해가 가기전 빠른 시일 내에 좋은 소식으로 찾아뵐 예정이니 조금만 더 기다려주시고 곧 나올 저희 수현이네팀도 정말 누구보다 착하고 좋은친구들이니 많이 사랑해주셨으면 좋겠습니다! 시작한지 8년만에 처음으로 휴식기를 가지는동안 정말 이 일이 나에게 너무 소중한 일이라고 느껴질수 있게끔 해주시고 포기하지않고 이겨낼수있게 잘 잡아준 지인분들 팬분들께 감사드리고 이제는 정말 괜찮아졌기때문에 올릴 수 있는글이니 걱정하지않으셔도 좋다고 이야기 해드리고 싶습니다. 그동안 입장발표없는 탓에 마음고생 하셨을 수현이와 제 팬분들께도 죄송하고 또 감사합니다. 앞으로는 걱정 끼쳐드리지않고 좋은 소식으로만 찾아뵙도록 할게요!

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The news of Lee Hae In leaving her label and agency, HYWY Entertainment, was first made known on her official Instagram. She uploaded a post with a very lengthy caption explaining why she left. For those who are unable to read Hangul, a direct translation (which means there might be spelling and grammar issues) is provided below.

“Hello, this is Lee Hae In.”

“I want to right some hate comments and misunderstandings, and I am writing this because I don’t want to hurt everyone who have been with me and Soohyun.”

“First of all, the reason why I left HYWY is because I have a trauma from all the problems while I was at SS. I was having a hard time, and I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.”

“After that, it was hard for me to live in a dorm, so I talked multiple times with the label and while I had to prepare to debut as a team, I could not have hard training because of both my mental and physical health issues. The hospital suggested I rest, and I was scared I would harm [the team] and I didn’t know if I would be able to recover in a short time, so I told the label I wanted to be taken out of the debuting team.”

“The label took my condition into account and helped me in various ways. The members and the label worried about my condition more than anything else, and they accepted my requirements without any conditions, and left the possibilty of my debuting open when I recovered. Even after I left the label, they were worried about me and helped me at the drama filming that had already been scheduled. I want to confirm that nothing between us went badly like some people are thinking.”

“It wasn’t that I had left after I debuted, but left as a trainee, so it was difficult for the label to make an official statement. We decided to do our best without making any statements, but I am writing because misunderstandings keep happening in the silence, and I think it’s important to right it even if it’s late.”

“Suhyun is currently preparing for her debut, so I can’t see her, but I still talk to all the members and the staff, and I’m doing better than before!”

“I have recovered completely during 6 months of treatment and rest, and I am talking with the label about what to do from here. I am planning to come back with good news before the end of the year, so please wait for me just a little. And I hope everyone shows love to Soohyun’s team, because they’re such good, bright kids.”

“While I took my first break in 8 years, I realized how precious this was to me. I’m so thankful to my friends and fans who helped me win over this without giving up, and I’m writing this because I really am okay now, so I want to say you don’t have to worry.”

“I’m sorry to Soohyun, who must have suffered from the lack of statements, and also to my fans, and I’m also grateful. I won’t worry you from now on and only come back with good news!”

It is sad that Lee Hae In can’t continue onward with her K-pop career at the moment. As mentioned earlier, many were expecting to see her debut with Kim Soo Hye whom she apologized profusely to in the above message. As for the girl group she was supposed to debut under, it is called I.B.I. which also features Kim So Hee, Yoon Chaekyung, Han Hyeri, and Lee Soo Hyun.

The five members of I.B.I. pose together in a group show.
Lee Hae In was going to be a part of project girl group I.B.I. [Image by HYWY Entertainment]

We only hope the best for Lee Hae In gets well soon so she can get back to doing what she loves. As for I.B.I., it is expected they will continue onward as a four-member group. Maybe when Hae In is feeling better, she’ll be added in.

[Featured Image by HYWY Entertainment]