On March 11, gossip blogger, “Melon eater girl, Zhang Xiaohan” (吃瓜少女张小寒), who is known for using cartoon sketches to illustrate rumors, issued a story about a popular boy group member and a “cool” girl group member dating. The sketches said a male boy band member had a strand of gold hair on him, seen at the girl’s residential neighborhood, wearing matching puffer jackets, masks that can’t be found anywhere, and jewelry.
While names weren’t mentioned, netizens speculated the leads of this rumor to be TNT’s leader, Ma Jiaqi (马嘉祺), and THE9’s Shaking (Xie Keyin 谢可寅) based on the sketches and storyline. They had once collaborated together on variety show, “I Am An Actor 3” (我就是演员3). Ma Jiaqi and Shaking are 20 and 25, respectively.
TNT’s management company, TF Entertainment, issued a statement denying the rumors and that Ma Jiaqi has never been “in love”. They said the online rumors about “Ma Jiaqi in love” were maliciously started and spread and reserve the right to take legal action. Shaking also denied the rumors in a post saying, “Online to mark it fake! Dame (no).”