Fans of rookie boy group RIIZE are having mixed reactions over leaked photos said to be showing Seunghan and an ex-girlfriend kissing. The photos were allegedly first released on a Korean website, before making their way to X (formerly Twitter). One post sharing the photos, with the translated caption “Rookies are different”, has gotten over 15.4 million views.
The photos come at a particularly sensitive time for the boy group. RIIZE is currently preparing for the release of their debut single album Get A Guitar on Sept 4, 2023. Its members – Anton, Eunseok, Seunchan, Shotaro, Sohee, Seunghan and Wonbin – recently released a series of concept photos for their album. The group is also featured in a web novel titled Rise & Realise.
RIIZE made their international performance debut at KCON LA 2023 on Aug 20, 2023. They also performed at last weekend’s Inkigayo music show.
The ‘kissing scandal’ photos
The set of three photos show Seunghan kissing a girl, whose face is covered in all the images. In one shot, the two appear to be cuddling in a bed, while the other two appear to have been taken while the two were out on a date. At the time of writing, the original post has received over 8k likes, 6,868 reposts and 32.5k quotes.
Netizens believe that the photos were actually selfie images taken by Seunghan himself. While the identity of the girl in the images has not been confirmed, it is being alleged that the girl is actually Seunghan’s ex-girlfriend. Many are calling this the first dating scandal to hit RIIZE.
The situation got even murkier when another photo surfaced showing a reflection of Seunghan and a girl in a hotel room window, with Seunghan circled. The second poster alleged that Seunghan was with his girlfriend in a hotel “before he debuted”. Interestingly, the caption for one of their tweets included hashtags for RIIZE, as well as members Anton, Wonbin and Eunseok.
It is not known whether this implied that other RIIZE members were also there during the incident, or if it was in order to get the post seen by more people.
The second poster also made allegations that Seunghan’s girlfriend at the time was underage. However, the fact that the girl in photos has yet to be identified has made this claim extremely difficult to verify.
RIIZE fans’ reactions to the photos of Seunghan
Many Korean fans voiced their disappointment over the photos. On Korean gossip site Nate Pann, many of the comments slammed Seunghan and his behavior. Many of them took at as a sign that he was not serious about debuting as an idol. Others thought it was inappropriate for him to be taking such photos with a girl, even if they were dating at the time.
However, on X, the response has been less critical of Seunghan and his dating scandal. International fans have largely been more accepting about the fact that Seunghan may have had a girlfriend prior to joining RIIZE. This appears to be the main difference in how dating scandals, which were once seen as career-killers for idols, are perceived outside of Korea.
Several of the comments were also critical towards the original poster, questioning their motives for posting these photos now.
So far, there has been no response from either SM Entertainment, RIIZE or Seunghan regarding the photos. We hope that fans will remain calm until all the facts have come to light. As of now, the authenticity of these images and the story behind them have yet to be verified.