Woojin of Stray Kids.
(Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Why Did Woojin Leave Stray Kids? Here’s What We Know.

One of the biggest shocks STAYs experienced was Woojin leaving Stray Kids in 2019. So Why did he leave?

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Nowadays, Stray Kids is known as one of the biggest K-pop boy groups. Though they debuted in 2018, Stray Kids garnered worldwide acclaim after selling over a million copies of their studio album “NOEASY” in 2021. After signing with Republic Records in 2021, Stray Kids released more chart-topping albums, such as “ODDINARY” in 2022 and “5-Star” in 2023.

Newer fans know the eight members—Bang Chan, Lee Known, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N—well, but it might be shocking to learn that just a year into their career, a ninth member, Woojin, left the group.

JYP Entertainment announces Woojin’s departure from Stray Kids

On October 28, 2019, JYP Entertainment shocked STAYs by announcing Woojin would be leaving the group. Their statement, as translated by Soompi, reads

Hello, this is JYP Entertainment.

Woojin, who has been with Stray Kids as a member until this time, has left the group due to personal circumstances and terminated his exclusive contract.

We express apologies for causing trouble to many fans with the sudden news.

As a result, Stray Kids’ mini album “Clé : LEVANTER,” which was scheduled for a November 25 release, will be delayed to December 9.

We once again express apologies to the fans who have waited for a long time.

We ask for much support for Woojin who will be going on a new path, and we also ask for the warm support of STAY for the eight Stray Kids members who will once again go on the road towards their dreams with their compass.

Thank you.

JYP Entertainment

Their statement sparked confusion among fans. It was obvious that Woojin had been working with Stray Kids for their comeback “Clé: Levanter,” and that his withdrawal was what caused the delay since they would have to rerecord songs. The group was also scheduled to embark on their “District 9 Unlock World Tour” in November, and it was suspected that Woojin was preparing for that, as well.

STAYs tried to theorize on what “personal circumstances” led to Woojin’s withdrawal, but JYP Entertainment never expanded on the subject.

Woojin embroiled in sexual assault controversy

Almost a year after his withdrawal, Woojin was accused by an anonymous woman on X (then known as Twitter) of sexual harassment, claiming Woojin attempted to touch her and her friend. Another unidentified woman accused Woojin of harassment, stating that they met at a bar and, after rejecting his advances, she was the victim of verbal abuse.

Woojin denied all the allegations and filed a suit against the individuals for defamation, though K-pop sleuths suspected that the reason for his departure was due to these allegations.

It didn’t help that fans suspected that Bang Chan was indirectly shading Woojin in a live stream. During the stream, Bang Chan talked about knowing someone who had to face the consequences due to their mistakes, stating that those mistakes caused hurt to those around him. He then told the fans that if they make a promise to a team, they need to be responsible and not break promises.

With words about promises and betrayal, fans suspected that Woojin had done something that caused the members of Stray Kids to lose their trust in him.

However, in 2021, it turned out that the photos the individuals posted as proof of their allegations were found to have been snagged from online social media posts and had no relation to Woojin. It was discovered that the accusers weren’t even in South Korea; but in Brazil.

Woojin opens up about withdrawal from Stray Kids

In 2024, Woojin’s label, Kustomade, released a video titled Reverse: Breaking the Silence. There, the idol referenced his withdrawal from Stray Kids.

While he didn’t reveal the reason why he left Stray Kids, he did express his regret on how it happened: “In the past, after leaving the team the way I did, I felt terribly sorry about it. Back then, I was still young. I focused on my situation first.”

He also lightly touched on the allegations, stating that after experiencing “that nonsense,” he aims to speak about himself more clearly.


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Alexandria Lopez
Alexandria "Alexa" Lopez (She/Her) is a Freelance Writer for TheMarySue.Com. She graduated with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications from the University of Asia and the Pacific and has been writing online since 2017. Currently residing in Metro Manila, Alexa has been a fan of K-pop since she was a child, and this is a phase she will likely never outgrow. Besides that, Alexa loves video games, anime, and keeping up her Duolingo streak.