If you’ve been following k-ent news of late, you’d probably already know that there has been a spate of bullying accusations leveled against various k-celebs, with each ballooning into its own scandal.
If you’ve been following k-ent news in the last couple of days, you’d also probably already know that Ji Soo has fallen from grace, and in a manner that is very sudden and quite spectacular. Reactions have been varied, but consistently strong. Most people feel a certain way about this, and feel it strongly.
If you haven’t been following k-ent news in the last of couple days and don’t yet know what I’m talking about, well.. buckle up, coz this one’s a bit of a doozy. 😬
What’s going on?
2-3 March 2021
An anonymous netizen posts on this forum, accusing Ji Soo of having bullied him while they were students at Sorabol Middle School. Subsequently, further accusations come forward from other alleged victims, and the assertions are detailed, lurid and altogether horrifying.
If you are so inclined, you can check out the details here, here and here.
If you’d rather spare your eyes and your brain, then just know that the accusations involve extreme and prolonged bad (as in, very bad) behavior around bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
His agency KeyEast Entertainment releases a statement saying that they will be investigating the matter fully.
4 March 2021
Ji Soo uploads a lengthy handwritten apology letter to his personal Instagram account, apologizing for his past behavior and all those that he had hurt. He does not deny any of the allegations and also does not specify the behaviors for which he is apologizing.
This is the translation of the apology letter:
“I apologize sincerely to those who I have hurt. There is no excuse for my past behavior. What I did was unforgivable. When I started my career as an actor, I covered up my past and it seems I made it to this point while receiving the undeserved interest of the public.
However, there was a part of me that always felt guilty about the past, but it was too late to ask for forgiveness and that regret always came to me in the form of great anxiety.
My dark past constantly weighed on me. I ask forgiveness from those who’ve suffered over the years as they watched me become an actor.
I will live the rest of my life deeply reflecting on my unforgivable past. I’m pained and so sorry for the great negative impact my personal wrongs have had on the the show and director, the actors, and all of the drama staff.
I hope sincerely that the drama does not suffer any additional damage because of me. To everyone whom I’ve hurt, I kneel before you to ask sincerely for forgiveness.”
KBS announces that they are planning to replace him as the male lead for River Where The Moon Rises, his currently airing drama.
5 March 2021
KBS announces that they will be replacing Ji Soo with rookie actor Na In Woo, for the role of On Dal in River Where The Moon Rises.
It is reported that Ji Soo will enlist in October 2021 to fulfill his mandatory military service as a social service worker. (He underwent surgery in 2016 to correct his acute osteomyelitis.)
His military service warrant had apparently arrived in December 2020, prior to the breaking out of the scandal.
KeyEast Entertainment releases a statement essentially admitting to Ji Soo’s involvement in school violence, saying that they are continuing to investigate the matter, and want to find out the truth, while also clarifying that the allegations of sexual assault made against Ji Soo are not true.
The statement also says that Ji Soo will halt all activities as an actor, and will spend the next 7 months before his enlistment reflecting.
Honestly, the first time I saw a k-celeb fall from grace, I was a lot more shocked.
This was back in 2013, when Park Shi Hoo’s scandal broke out.
I’d felt quite blindsided by the news, particularly since, once upon a time (though not at the time the scandal broke out), I’d actually really liked him. (I know, I don’t know what I was thinking either. 😝)
Since then, many other k-celebs have had scandals break out, and some of the scandals have been particularly shocking, like the Burning Sun scandal in 2018-2019.
I guess I’ve developed a sense of jadedness about this, as a result, because even though I really did have a soft spot for Ji Soo, I was not devastated by the news.
Just disappointed. I do think that because I am not emotionally invested in this in a strong way, I feel like I’m able to be a little more objective in thinking aloud on the topic of what a reasonable fan response might be.
Camp 1: Hate him?
A big chunk of netizen response has been around (and I condense and summarize) condemning him, canceling him, and basically heaping hot coals on him, hoping that he will rot in jail and never again see the light of day.
Camp 2: Forgive him?
Another big chunk of netizen response has been from Ji Soo’s diehard fans, who are essentially leaving comments telling Ji Soo that (and again, I condense and paraphrase):
“It’s ok, everyone’s done wrong things in their lives.. the most important thing is that you’ve apologized. That’s a hard thing to do, and not everyone can do it, so you’ve done well, and I support you.”
A necessary tangent: Why the spate of accusations?
Some fans have said that the accusations are targeted to bring Ji Soo down when he’d finally gotten his big break in a major leading role.
I personally don’t think this is necessarily true.
Sure, there are false claims which are designed to tear down an up-and-coming k-star, but there are also real victims in the mix. Not all the scandals stem from truth, but some certainly do.
As with the #MeToo movement, I think most victims must have stayed silent for a long time because they were afraid to come forward, for fear that their claims would be dismissed or swept under the carpet.
With other victims coming forward in the recent spate of bullying scandals, there is solidarity in numbers, and with media attention focused in a way that gives them confidence that their claims will be taken seriously, I think more victims find courage to come forward and speak up.
Also, I think there is that dynamic, where, the more you see your bully rise to stardom and prominence, amid lots of good opinion and fan love, the more it’s difficult to swallow.
I actually think it makes perfect human sense, for victims to reach a boiling point upon seeing their bully onscreen, acting like the good guy and gaining success from it – and thus be spurred into speaking up about their experience.
Camp 3 (that’s me): Somewhere in-between
Personally, both extremes, of hating Ji Soo or forgiving him unequivocally, don’t sit very well with me.
On the one hand, I like to think that people can and do change.
To be fair, it’s true that not all people do change, but there are definitely folks who were really awful juvenile delinquents, who don’t end up being awful adults.
With middle school being pretty long ago, it’s possible that Ji Soo might have sincere regrets about his past behavior.
And, if he does have sincere regrets, I’d hope – as a fellow human being with my own regrets and failings – that he wouldn’t have to live his entire life being chained to a past that he cannot undo.
Also worth noting, I think, is the fact that Ji Soo did not issue an immediate denial (as so many other scandal-embroiled celebs do), but instead issued an apology.
While many may say that he only apologized because he was “caught,” I feel that the lack of the knee-jerk denial is worth something.
For the record, I am not defending Ji Soo’s past actions. Those are undeniably horrific, and my deepest sympathies are with the victims, who must have suffered greatly, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
This is why, on the other hand, I also cannot support the unreserved forgiveness that Ji Soo’s diehard fans are pouring out.
While I support the idea that Ji Soo shouldn’t have to ruin his entire life because of this scandal, I also support the idea that Ji Soo should face the consequences of his actions (many of which qualify as crimes), and make restitution for them.
I think this is necessary, not only for the victims, who need to feel that their suffering is being addressed, but for Ji Soo as well, who would, I imagine, only really feel set free from this terrible past, when his conscience is satisfied that he has paid the price and can therefore start looking ahead again.
With this in mind, I hope that proper and thorough investigations can be carried out, and appropriate punishment meted out. If that’s not possible, then my hope is that Ji Soo would find his own way of compensating his victims.
Do I think that Ji Soo should continue to have a career in showbiz? Probably not. I think it would be better for everyone – including Ji Soo himself – for him to find a new career and start over, on a clean slate, away from the public eye.
..But that’s just my opinion, and only time will tell, whether Ji Soo will attempt to make a comeback, after serving his MS.
Another necessary tangent: Patreon implications
As you might already know, after finishing The Uncanny Counter, I had committed to covering River Where The Moon Rises over on my Patreon page.
Even though KBS has already found a replacement for Ji Soo in Na In Woo, there is likely to be massive scrambling to re-write, re-film and re-work everything, because Ji Soo had reportedly already finished filming 95% of his scenes, up to episode 18.
My sympathies are with the cast and crew, who will have to suffer the fallout that has resulted from this scandal. KBS is reportedly airing episodes 7 & 8 as scheduled, but with as many of Ji Soo’s scenes edited out as possible, with Na In Woo taking over the role from episode 9 onwards.
With all the upheaval that this scandal has resulted in for the production team, it’s inevitable that the quality of the show will be affected.
Because I do my best to pick quality shows to cover on my Patreon page (and River’s quality is bound to be affected by all this), and because not all patrons would still have the interest to follow this show after the scandal, I feel that the right thing to do, is to replace River Where The Moon Rises with another drama.
I plan to continue to watch – or at least, keep an eye on – River, to see how it all unfolds, but as far as Patreon goes, I’ve decided that I will cover Vincenzo in place of River Where The Moon Rises. If you’d like to join me on the Vincenzo journey, you can find my Patreon page here.
I’m no expert, and I certainly don’t consider my opinion a perfect one. I just hope that this post will help to provide a bit of perspective, and possibly, food for thought, in the midst of all the furore and noise.
We may take a lot of joy from our dramas and our Oppas, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important to remember that Oppa is only human. And humans inevitably fail, and sometimes, that failure can be enormous and spectacular.
So let’s not be too devastated or too blinded in processing all of this, ok?
Hugs and smooches to y’all. ❤️
Everybody has his or her own past ,
His an actor that I love sincerely
Pls forgive him
Since he has reflect on his sin
While I can’t claim to have read every single comment here, I don’t recall seeing anyone condemning this young actor so there’s no need to ask for forgiveness of him here.
When this story broke, I seriously did not know what to think. The accusations were quite serious, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to totally excoriate a man for alleged behaviors done when he was a 13/14 year old kid. I mean, who doesn’t do things that they are not proud of or make mistakes when they are young? The other issue for me was these behaviors happened 14 years ago. I know that bullying is not right, but do we really destroy a person’s livelihood for actions that happened so many years ago? For many crimes there is a statute of limitations-a defined period of time when charges can be brought, and I just thought to myself: Is there a statute of limitations on bullying? Should there be? Maybe there should. I think I would look on things differently if the bullying was happening currently, or happened when Ji Soo was older. I don’t know. I was surprised at Ji Soo’s apology letter being so vague/generalized. I was expecting him to be a lot more specific and to clarify exactly what behaviors he was sorry for. Most certainly I thought he would address the sexual harassment/assault allegations for sure as his agency had denied those allegations. I was really torn, and I think a lot of people felt the same.
UPDATE: I guess with a little time passing, Ji Soo changed his mind about not responding to the bullying and other allegations. He hired a lawyer team and has been going after some of his accusers, starting with the sexual assault accuser. He now is suing for defamation. According to the Soompi article, his lawyers are targeting both the school violence accusers and the sexual violence accusers. They have just released the news of the first case victory against one of the sexual violence accusers. That person admitted he made everything up and nothing was true, he had never even met Ji Soo personally.
Thanks for the update. Sounds pretty much like what I had envisioned. Some truth, some lies, and a worrisome motivation to tear down celebrities.
i was also a victim of bullying back in school for some years. i can understand, why some people stay quiet. 🙁 sometimes all you want is to forget all the humiliation. So seeing someone who caused you so much pain repeatedly on the big or small screen, opening all these wounds again and again, must be horrible.
I’ve never seen any of Ji Soos work, but i read that he was born in 1993 and the bullying happend between 2006-2008. That means he was 13/15 years old at that time. Kids do a lot of shit when they are young. And most of them luckily grow up and realize that what they did was wrong.
I met one of my bullies many years later and i actually got a decent apology. We both were in our late twenties, when she finally said “sorry”. It did not make everything okay, but i did feel better and could finally move on.
What Ji Soo did, happened 13 years ago. He might or might not be remorseful, but i give him some credit, that he didnt deny the accusations and instead posted an apology. There were lots of scandals involving celebrities in the past years and many of them choose to just deny all the allegations.
Ji Soo also could have just denied it as there might not be much proof of his actions during that time, if any at all. So to admit he did something wrong is a good thing. i hope he grew up to be a decent person in the last 13 years. We have to wait for the outcome of the investigation. Everything apart from the bullying is not confirmed yet, so nobody should jump to conclusions or believe everything that was additionally posted anonymously later on.
Not guilty until proven guilty. I will give him the benefit of doubt. Not for the bullying accusations tough.
I have a real problem with holding a 27 year old – or a 20 year old – responsible for what they may have gone in middle school, especially when the punishment is a lifetime of penance. Nothing this guy allegedly did – and I don’t accept third hand accounts of things like sexual assault from anyone but an alleged victim – is a criminal act that carries a penalty of life imprisonment. And a lot of the later allegations – like low level staff on the drama set anonymously alleging he was an asshole who treated staff badly – was not credible, snd sounded like people piling on someone who had hot rock bottom.
The more troubling allegations were vague, and included acts that allegedly occurred when he was in his early 20s. I still never heard even an anonymous report from an actual “victim” of sexual assault, so I think the bullying and meanness in middle school are the most credible allegations. In my opinion, absent proof he has done something egregious in the last 4 or 5 years, he seems rehabilitated. Also, he apparently sought out some of the people he’d bullied in the past, several years ago, and apologized. If he’d just been doing it with the intent of avoiding public censure, he could have used a third party, snd/or offered a financial incentive to remain silent. But per what was reported, he just apologized.
I think it’s a good idea for him to go do his military duty. He will have time to reflect on his past, snd he’s faced pretty severe consequences. Atonement should not require a lifetime bar to a career he apparently loved and excelled at. To err is human, to forgive divine. Everyone deserves the opportunity to turn their life around, especially kids who make errors when they are still kids.
I agree with you 100%. This is not the first movie or drama that Ji Soo has been in, so I find it really annoying that someone chose at this point in his career to talk about something that occurred in middle school. First of all, why did that person wait all this time to say that and what was the purpose? What did they hope to accomplish? Just to wreck the man’s career? It makes absolutely no sense.
Also i don’t understand how these people who these stars are working with just fires somebody for something that they did as a child, that also makes no sense to me. I mean if they want to look into it do that, but don’t just fire the guy. First of all there’s no reason for that. That’s something that took place when he was young so for tgem to just fire him like that is stupid and embarrassing for them because personally that was just childish.
He did what he did as a child, get the hell over it whoever the person is who made the complaint, that was childish too. Get over it already and grow the hell up. Messing up the man’s career was just stupid, childish, inconsiderate, a nuisance, and it’s not going to cost you anything. Be certain to live your life to the piont where you don’t wrong anyone and they take measures, because then you’ll understand the hurt of screwing up somebody else’s life.
If I could say anything to Ji Soo I’d say this. ”
“daleun salam-ui eolin-ae gat-eun haengdong-i dangsin-eul jeong-uihaneun geos-eul heoyonghaji masibsio. dangsin-eun jeon-e jalhago iss-eossneunde, dangsin-eun dasi geu jijeom-e dodal hal geos-ibnida. yong-gileul naego gyesog butjab eusibsio”.
“Don’t allow somebody else’s childlike behavior define you. You were doing well before, you’ll get to that point again. Be of good courage and keep holding on”.
This was all definitely a disappointing turn of events. My thoughts are pretty similar to yours. River is one of my most looked forward to dramas, so I do still plan to watch it. It looks like Na In Woo was able to come in at episode 7, so he will end up being in more of the drama than Ji Soo. It sounds like they will be able to maintain the quality of the drama with just needing to do some reshoots and not lots of writing changes. Such a bad situation all around though.
Unpopular Opinion: The allegations made after many years should all be ignored.
If you have been wronged and do not report it, it is your fault. If you report him after so many years, you obviously have an ulterior motive.
@Antonio it’s almost like you didn’t read the blog post above at all. There are many reasons why a victim stays quiet for years. Fear is a big one. This whole movement of uncovering bullies certainly has helped given courage to many.
Like you, kfangurl, I take a middle of the road stance. Without more verified facts of what’s true and what’s not true … let’s just say I’m glad it’s not my decision to make. Middle school was a very long time ago. Did the behavior continue on in high school? If not, what made him stop? I’m just curious about what’s goes on in a person’s life that behaves this way.
Either way, it looks like CutieSoo needs some counseling no matter what happens cause it sounds like he’s got some serious issues even if only the bullying is true. The other acts are too horrific to even think about.
And if it’s true he recorded himself having sex with a girl and showed it to his friends,that gives some insight into S.K. culture. Don’t get me wrong, there are creeps here that do that too, but the boys know it’s wrong (probably because of a few high profile cases that were prosecuted with the boys losing scholarships and getting jail time) so boys who do participate in that behavior keep it down low enough not to be caught. Whereas video taping having sex with unconscious women and paying it on private chat rooms seems to almost be a part of the male S.K. culture. Or maybe it’s just in the public eye because of all the celebrities busted over it. (And all the cameras stuck on selfie poles for purposes of looking under skirts that has been in the Korean news.)
I have nothing of import to say but I’ll say this about the show River 1) I was disappointed right from the start because I’d recently read the folk tale of the Princess and the Fool On Dal. In the story On Dal is a humpback and the Princess’ father was always threatening her that he’ll marry her off to On Dal and one day, out of spite, she up and marries On Dal. That would’ve been something to see how they could work that romance (and I thought JiSoo was perfect for that gullible role. 2) Not enough Kang Haneul.
Hi Kfangurl, bullying is something that I have personal experience with and it’s something that lingers in your mind. Even though you grow up and it doesn’t affect you anymore, it stays as a bad experience that’s not easily forgotten. Having said that, I don’t think that people should not be forgiven forever. As someone who has suffered under bullying, I do think there should be consequences, but also I wouldn’t like to condemn anyone to a lifetime of consequences, if you know what I mean. So I hope after some reflection that Jisoo will come back as a better actor and a better person.
Also, I haven’t started watching River where the moon rises, but I think I will now. I’d like to see what they make of it and I liked Na In Woo in Mr Queen. So hope he’s not being set up for some failure because of people abandoning the show. I would have liked your analyses on the changes as well. I think it’s sad for the rest of the cast and crew having worked so hard on the show, so I’ll support them in my little way. It probably won’t make a difference😁, bit still.
Ahhh this was hard, really hard for me. Since I really liked him in Strong Woman…But if there is any truth behind the sexual violence charges, well he should be punished by the law!
Well, I am not JiSoo fan. I have only seen him in Strong Woman and Moon Lovers and, to be honest, he’s one of those actors that made me think that anyone can become an actor in Korea as long as he’s over 1,8 m tall, regardless of talent.
About anonymous accusations on the web, though: we very well know they may be completely truthful and they may be a form of bullying too. JiSoo has already admitted to being a bully, so obviously the first accusations were truthful, but that doesn’t mean one should easily believe all one-line comments that may have been made by nitwits that think it’s fun to throw stones.
And, once more, I really can’t understand what’s with bullying in schools in SK. Why don’t adults do anything about it and how is it possible to actually think bullies are cool (to JiSoo’s support, when he was a bully, like 10 years ago, the whole of SK and a big chunk of Asia swooned for the “F4” gang in Boys over Flowers…).
Bottom line: I won’t miss JiSoo, but it’s about time bullying must be dealt with, cyberbullying included.
Middle ground for me as well. Both in terms of consequences and what to believe. Just because 90% of the allegations appear to be accurate doesn’t mean they all are. The primary allegations were described in great detail by two different people.
But from what I can tell, the rape allegation was a one-liner by a different anonymous poster. Surely we’ve all had enough experience with the Internet not to trust random comments like that. Of course, given who Ji Soo was back then, it wouldn’t be surprising if even the rape claim were true; but you shouldn’t take it seriously just because of that one-liner.
One thing I’ve learned in my five (going on six!) decades of experience with other humans is the pernicious danger of allowing unsubstantiated gossip to enter your brain. Once you let it in, it permanently colors your impression of that person, even someone you know very well. Although you tell yourself it’s not verified and doesn’t fit with your own experience of them, it still changes how you perceive them.
Regardless, what I’d like to talk about is the nature of K-ent scandals more broadly.
This time, it’s an open & shut case, with actual victims.
But what about all those victimless scandals that so quickly ruin an entertainer’s life? For example, over relatively minor drug use?
(Not to mention the scandal of an adult celebrity dating, therefore interfering with their fans’ romantic fantasies. And, yes, I realize that’s an entirely different use of the word “scandal,” but it still says something about the Korean public’s expectations for and/or feelings about public figures.)
Tbh, it’s not clear to me what is real about Korean culture and what is merely a tendency for K-drama scripts, but based on the shows I get the feeling all public figures should consider themselves in constant danger of being exposed to a career-ending scandal, and more much so for entertainers. As if that’s part of the not-so-healthy fun of having celebrities in the first place.
One of my favorites observations from Australia is that “the tall poppy gets cut first.” Which is short-hand to describe any culture where people of high status are resented, attacked or criticized because their achievements make them stand out from their peers. We love them, but we also love to see them cut down to size.
I also wonder what’s with K-ent scandals. Not in JiSoo’s case, that’s a real one, but I have always wondered why dating is a “scandal” or why someone’s career should be over for a minor case of drug abuse (Ju Ji Hoon comes to mind, luckily he made a come back).
@merij1 – As we’ve discussed on this blog before – I wonder how certain celebrities avoid the pitfall of the”scandal” of two unattached people dating that is “scandalous”?
I wonder if the actors that date openly or are married avoid the pitfalls of losing their fans by simply being honest up front that “Oppa is going to date. Deal with it.” Lee Min ho, Jang Hyuk and Hyun Bin never seemed to have to deal with this issue.
So did their agencies try to control that aspect of their public personas or did the actors put their foot down about it right from the start of their careers?
I am in the middle camp on this as well and agree it is easier when you are not massively invested in the actor. But first and foremost my thoughts are with the victims and I think they deserve a thorough investigation and we have also got to remember that some of these victims will not to want relive the trauma through an investigation. It sounds that there are multiple victims in this and I hope they have access to counseling. I have to say I didn’t realise the extent of what had passed and I feel sick to stomach. Should Ji Soo get credit for his apology? If he is genuinely repentant about the effect he has had on others then maybe so but if it is simply because he has been caught out then no. Reading his apology it feels to me that he always knew that at some point that his “dark history” would catch up. You could also argue that it is karma that this happened when he was at a huge break through in his career. I also wonder if when his fame had cemented some of those insidious behaviours would have come out again and by the victims being brave enough to come forward they have stopped future victims. He is clearly a very troubled individual
and if sexual assaults claims are true then also a very dangerous individual. There maybe some underlying family background issues but people come from troubled backgrounds all the time and that is no excuse and I hope he also receives a psychological assessment.
As for the show I am dropping it but I do commend those who will peservere as we should not forget the blood and sweat and tears of those who made the drama. Imagine being caught up in this through no fault of your own.
I want to say I hope it is cautionary tale for young stars coming through but maybe I am being naive and think why would you need a cautionary tale to temper your behaviour?
Wow I had no idea until your post came out and I went to google what happened. It’s a pity since I liked Ji Soo when I saw him in SWDBS and elsewhere. He seemed like such a nice guy. But it’s true that they’re actors and human – you can’t go by what you see of them – their public persona may be different from their private selves. And while I agree that he seems contrite and willing to change, I agree that he should be punished for crimes committed against others. Hopefully he’ll change and see what future he has in store for him. Thanks, KFG, for a nuanced and objective perspective!
Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen any evidence brought forword that any bullying behavior or any other negative behaviors have been ongoing since Middle School. Saying “hope he changes” seems odd…
True, I used words carelessly. I should’ve said, “I hope he has changed”. Thanks for pointing that out 🙂
Thank you, kfangurl for your calm contribution regarding Ji Soo. Dame Holly and I had a very thoughtful exchange recently regarding her post on a very similar topic and the internal debate one has regarding watching a show(s) going forward when certain things come to light.
I had drafted much regarding what is a reasonable response and then deleted it. My thoughts were turning into War and Peace and some of it may have ended up “lost in translation.” Anyway, the long and the short of it is this: I will be watching River through to the end, unless the story nose dives for the worst.
@Sean K. Fletcher – not that this is important in the scheme of things but the actor they’ve chosen to replaced Ji soo was my least favorite actor in Mr. Queen. (By the way, have you watched Mr. Queen? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it.)
Hello Beez! Yes, I watched Mr Queen, but I’m sorry to say I dropped it at the end of ep 9. I tried and I tried. There was some excellent acting, though. However, I enjoyed The Bamboo Forest! So, it’s a sort of a win/win 🤔
Well, we will just have to see how Mr Replacement goes😉
@Sean – if you get a chance watch the beginning of Episode 19 to see Shin Hye sun pull out all the stops and why I now call her the female equivalent of Jang Hyuk. There no dialogue or any speaking, it’s just her reaction to the death of her “cousin” and her reactions while being chased.
Thanks, Beez, I’m on to it! I hope the industry looks after SHS going forward.
I agree with you, I am in the middle. When I saw all these bullying news, I thought that their society really need to tackle this issue, it seems to be an on-going problem that is not going to be solved by accusing all these k-pop stars. Bullying is bad everywhere (in every country, let’s stop comparing who has it worse), and there are ways to stop it from happening. However, not all countries have the same policies/viewpoints on how to tackle it. Kids are not bad when they start off their lives, it is what family & society teaches them as acceptable behaviours that makes them who they are. In SK, teachers & schools probably should have a bit more power than parents to punish kids properly and not let them get away with that type of behaviour in the school grounds. And at home, parents should teach kids not to bully or to help kids that are being bullied. In addition to that, adults working with these school kids should be trained early to have empathy and to always listen when kids have complaints, and not dismiss them. It helps to know that an adult will believe you and will ] help you. Then when they grow up, if they see their bullies on tv and all that, it would not hurt as much. They would have known that their bullies were punished at the time of the crime and they would have moved on. Right now, I don’t know if the victims are being protected against the crazy fans that say everyone should forgive him. And it might not make them feel good to be responsible somewhat for ruining drama staff and actors careers (because so many people are probably not going to watch it now).
RIVER WHERE THE MOON RISES was THE sageuk I was looking forward to watching this year. Imagine my shock and surprise after this news broke. I feel the worst for the production, the other actors and the crew, but hope in my heart of hearts Jisoo is contrite, but also resilient enough to deal with the fallout and take his punishment, which is certainly deserved if even half of the allegations are true. And I pray he doesn’t take his life like others that have met similar allegations. What I don’t see or hear is the elephant in the room—the underlying pervasive S. Korean toxic paternalistic culture and also the hierarchical nature of schools and organizations that put people in underserved positions of power, just because they are older, and abuse that power, consistently, aggressively. I couldn’t get past the first episode of BOYS OVER FLOWERS because of this. How many dramas start with a school bullying scene? Leading to suicide? I can think of a half dozen in the time I type this sentence. It’s a problem and that needs to be addressed. I always ask, “Where are the adults?” Having a pre-teen and a teenager myself and knowing how mean kids are, I am very sensitive to the bullying culture. Just this week, my daughter is trying to support a girl who feels that she’s being bullied. I’m glad to be on a position to be able to help my daughter communicate with this girl and to help her. You hit my trigger and I’ll get off my soap box now. I’ll be watching MOON RIVER until the end and I know it will be painful in more than one way for me, but for the other actors and production crew who did absolutely nothing wrong, I feel I owe it to them and especially Kim So Hyun, who I probably feel the worst about. Poor girl.
You have raised a really important point here about the elephant in the room. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love watching K-Dramas but I do find myself very confused about the ways in which subordinates, whether in schools, workplaces or families, are shown to be treated – the kicks, slaps, the hair pulling, the screaming into a person’s face, the expectation that you must drink if your superiors insist and so on. I’m not even going to go into the territory of the way in which women are treated many a times. What surprises me the most is that this is never really resolved or addressed.
I’m also a high school teacher and I am very aware of the bulllying that exists in schools. However, in the public school sector where I teach, any complaint of bullying is taken very seriously by adults and if parents believe that the school has not taken any action, there are consequences for the school. I remember watching True Beauty and being utterly astonished at the extent to which the protagonist is bullied by the girls at her previous school. The fact that the school and her parents had no idea of this until much later (when a teacher eventually did something) even though she had a sibling at the school made me wonder like you, “Where are the adults?” Who speaks up for the victims?
You are so right about the elephant in the room! Two hours ago I was watching King of Hiphop, a rerun where Hoya starred in. It has scene of school bullying right at the episode that I was watching. Several weeks ago, True Beauty aired. One of the side character committed suicide, not because of being a bully, but because he was accused of being a bully on the start of his singing career. The catch: it was a false accusation. He had never been a bully, but ended up being a victim of an online bullying. And he ended up dead. The drama itself worked around the issue of bullying: the school beauties trampled on other girls for being not pretty. There are too many dramas using bullying as an issue. It might be good if somebody could address it properly, and work around the issue to end it altogether (a utopia it might be, but so does world peace!). However, if no action was taken, all these scenes in k-drama will be perceived as something normal, as a passing in life where everybody should just ignore and move on from. It became that unpreventable fact of life. That thought scares me.
He should definitely endure the consequences of this exposure and make reparations to the victims. If I were him and was truly affected by the weigh of my past actions, I would seize the opportunity of being a celebrity to talk genuinely to students in schools and universities and expose the degree of devastation that victims of toxic, abusive and even criminal behaviour endure as a result. It is a good time for him to truly give back to society and find a true purpose doing so.
All i will say about this scandal involving Jisoo is that its so unfortunate that at this stage when his career is finally picking up, this befalls him.
My thoughts are with him and i certainly hope the the good people of SK forgives him.
I also hope that the victims in this case find closure as well.
I also hope he returns to acting.
I found this scandal particularly sickening, but I can’t put a finger on why, given the number of heinous scandals that have happened. The post from the alleged set staffer saying that Ji Soo was a jerk on set too kind of solidified my assessment of his character.
I don’t know what the statute of limitations is in South Korea, but if it hasn’t expired and if there is proof, I think he should be charged – for all of it, but especially for the sexual assault allegations.
If that doesn’t happen, I hope he can find something to do out of the public eye. I don’t think he has a personality that does well with fame.
Did anyone go to the police either way back in Middle School or since?
@Kathleen Carlsen – I doubt it. Within kid culture is something every mid understands. That is, asking for help usually only makes things worse as police, teachers and parents cannot be there 24/7. 😞