Sitala leaves H1-Key

Sitala Wongkrachang has left the K-pop band H1-Key 5 months after its debut. The GLG Entertainment, the band's manager, said that it was due to personal reasons.

"The agency discussed this matter at length with Sitala herself as well as with the rest of the H1-KEY members, and the decision was reached after a thorough review of the overall situation," said GLG's press release on May 25.

"Above all, we apologize for causing concerns with such sudden news. We ask for your warm encouragements toward Sitala's future, and also toward the remaining H1-KEY members, who plan to resume the road to their dreams once again," said GLG.

In late 2021, GLG announced Sitala as the fourth member of the new band H1-Key (pronounced ‘high key’). She faced a public backlash immediately after the announcement as netizens exposed her and her family's involvement in Thai right-wing protests which paved the way for a military coup and the current regime.

Sitala's father Saranyu, who died of liver cancer in 2020 at the age of 59, was a royalist and a leading figure in the People's Alliance for Democracy and People's Democratic Reform Committee which overthrew democratically elected governments in 2006 and 2014.

In response to the controversies in December last year, GLG Entertainment said that they “cannot hold Sitala accountable on the basis of her father’s past decisions and actions that were beyond her responsibility” and they had “made the decision not to change the members of the group.”

Sitala herself was photographed as a young girl participating in anti-government rallies with her father.  In response to the argument that she was too young to recognize the implications of what her family encouraged her to do, critics have noted that she has not explicitly repudiated her earlier actions.  

In a debut event in January, Sitala said, "I do not wish to express any political stance. I was very young at the time when my father participated in anti-democracy campaigns, and I did not fully understand the situation. However, I sincerely hope that the people of Thailand can live in peace despite their differences."

The band faced a challenge when Ja Mezz (Kim Sung-hee), the CEO of Grandline Entertainment, announced the company would dissolve following accusations against him of aggressive behaviour and drug use. GLG Entertainment, which operated under Grandline Entertainment, remains in business.

The remaining members of the band are Seoi (Lee Ye Jin) Riina (Lee Seung Hyun), and Yel (Han Shin Young). The H1-Key debut song "Athletic Girl" received 11 million views on YouTube after four months and hundreds of thousands of views on the first day of upload. The band has sold only 988 copies of its debut album as of 27 May, according to KTOWN4U.

Advertisements

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: service@prachatai.com, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”