Debts, death & sex tapes: 2018’s biggest K-ent newsmakers

We round up some of the most talked-about headlines from South Korea in the past year

Debts, death & sex tapes: 2018’s biggest K-ent newsmakers
Debts, death & sex tapes: 2018’s biggest K-ent newsmakers
28 Dec 2018

Debts, death & sex tapes: 2018’s biggest K-ent newsmakers

2018 is almost coming to a close, and you know what that means: roundups galore as we look at the year in review. While we’ve got a few more days to go till 2019 officially begins, we’ll reckon that there won’t be anything else that crops up and usurps a place on this list.

From dating news that ended up as public scandals to K-Pop helping to bridge the ties between North and South Korea (we’re not kidding), along with agency staff being slapped with accusations of prolonged physical abuse and shooting back with eyebrow-raising accusations of his own, check out our list of the biggest Korean entertainment newsmakers in 2018.

Read on for the full list!

The East Light’s Lee Seok Cheol reveals stories of physical abuse
The East Light’s Lee Seok Cheol reveals stories of physical abuse
28 Dec 2018

The East Light’s Lee Seok Cheol reveals stories of physical abuse

In October, Lee Seok Cheol held a press conference where he revealed allegations of physical and verbal abuse from both his label, Media Line Entertainment’s CEO, along with a producer known to the media as ‘A’.

He claimed that the producer made the members of the group get onto the floor while hitting their behinds with baseball bats and iron bars, threatening to kill them if they told their parents about what had happened. He also shared that his younger brother and band mate, Lee Seung Hyun, was hit all over his body and ended up with both physical and mental scars which has resulted in him having to receive psychotherapy treatments. Lee Seok Cheol was then said to have been forced to leave the group after protesting to their CEO.

However, Media Line Entertainment has since shot back with accusations of their own, releasing CCTV footage in which they claim that Lee Seok Chul’s father stole KRW4.7 million (S$5,730) of equipment from the company, and that Lee Seung Hyun was the one who would habitually hit the other members of the group. They went on to claim that they suspect the brothers’ father would punish them at home, adding that Lee Seok Chul had told the other members that his father hits him with a belt or golf club at home.

An audio recording of the brothers’ mother admitting that her younger son would hit Lee Seok Chul was also released, with two of the group’s members, Jung Sa Gang and Lee Eun Sung stepping up to claim that they feel a sense of betrayal from the Lee brothers.

Photos: X Sports News, Ilgan Sports

Stars who got in trouble after their relationships were made public
Stars who got in trouble after their relationships were made public
28 Dec 2018

Stars who got in trouble after their relationships were made public

Relationship news usually isn’t anything worth frowning over – unless, of course, there are special circumstances, such as when you date a married man. Thankfully, we had none of that this year, but we did have a couple of couples (and a former couple) that made headlines for could-have-been-better reasons.

First off, Bae Suzy and Lee Dong Wook went public with their relationship earlier this year, but the superstar couple ended up breaking up after four short months. Needless to say, the public talked about this endlessly, raising up various possible reasons for their split, including their 13-year age gap. Though we must say, we also have our money on the intense scrutiny and pressure that was placed on the budding romance.

Another pairing that hasn’t gotten the most rousing welcome from netizens is HyunA and former Pentagon member E’Dawn. The couple, who went against their agency’s word and declared their love to the world, ended up leaving Cube Entertainment. These days, they’ve yet to confirm if they’ve signed with a new agency, which has led to naysayers saying that they were rash in burning bridges with their former company, especially since they’re both young and E’Dawn debuted two years ago.

Photos: Marie Claire Taiwan, Carin, DAZED Korea

Kwon Kwang Jin leaves N.Flying after FNC confirms he dated a fan
Kwon Kwang Jin leaves N.Flying after FNC confirms he dated a fan
28 Dec 2018

Kwon Kwang Jin leaves N.Flying after FNC confirms he dated a fan

Kwon Kwang Jin, who left CNBLUE after a year with the group, has officially left N.Flying after label FNC Entertainment confirmed that the dated a fan.

The original accusations claimed that he seduced and sexually assaulted fans since his debut with N.Flying, badmouthing his fellow members and label to the fans and allegedly saying, “There are other girls who are meant to go to the brothels” to a fan.

Numerous accounts of such behaviour surfaced online, and a hashtag started to trend on Twitter to ask FNC to remove him from the group. FNC responded by saying that he would go on hiatus while the company verified the claims.

He has since been confirmed by the label to have dated a fan, and has since been removed from N.Flying. However, they refuted the sexual harassment claims, with the company pledging to take legal action against those who spread rumours about him.

Photos: Kwon Kwang Jin/Instagram, FNC Entertainment

Of marriages and happily ever afters
Of marriages and happily ever afters
28 Dec 2018

Of marriages and happily ever afters

We started off the year seeing BIGBANG’s Taeyang and actress Min Hyo Rin find their happily ever after, and saw many other celebrity unions brightening up our news feeds throughout the next few months.

Among those that caught our eyes was veteran actress Choi Ji Woo’s hush-hush wedding, especially since nobody knew about her dating the man in the first place! She has since kept to her word and not talked about her husband in public, but nasty rumours, including some that claimed that he used to work in a host bar, started to make the rounds on the internet.

Last but not least, FTISLAND’s Minhwan and former LABOUM member Yulhee tied the knot in May and welcomed their first child in the same month. The young parents (he’s 26 and she’s 21) could possibly be expecting another bun in the oven soon as the FTISLAND member has taken to fatherhood so well that he has expressed his wish to have a second child.

Photos: YG Entertainment, Choi Ji Woo/Instagram, Kim Yulhee/Instagram

Kim Jong-un attends South Korean concert in North Korea, adjusted schedule to see Red Velvet perform
Kim Jong-un attends South Korean concert in North Korea, adjusted schedule to see Red Velvet perform
28 Dec 2018

Kim Jong-un attends South Korean concert in North Korea, adjusted schedule to see Red Velvet perform

Now, this is news that we had to read twice (or maybe even thrice) before we were convinced we weren’t seeing things. North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was not only the first North Korean leader to have attended a performance by a South Korean artiste in North Korea, but even reportedly rearranged his schedule in order to make it to the concert.

Among the performers that day were Red Velvet, Cho Yong Pil and Baek Ji Young, and was also attended by Kim Jong-un’s wife and entourage.

Photo: SM Entertainment

#debttoo movement starts in South Korea
#debttoo movement starts in South Korea
28 Dec 2018

#debttoo movement starts in South Korea

It started off with rapper Microdot’s parents being revealed to have fled to New Zealand after borrowing hundreds of millions of Korean Won (KRW100 million is the equivalent of S$122,000) from friends, neighbours and acquaintances.

The rapper initially claimed that he would be taking legal action against the false rumours, but retracted the statement and apologised for his ignorance of the situation.

Since then, a #debttoo movement has started in South Korea, with numerous celebrities being forced into the spotlight with accusations of their parents not repaying debts from years ago. Rain was embroiled in this scandal when someone posted on the national petition board that the singer-actor's parents had borrowed KRW1.7 million (S$2,000) worth of rice, along with KRW8 million (S$10,000) in cash when they were running a rice cake shop back in 1988, but never paid it back. Rain has since met with the person, but shared that the lack of a promissory note and the accuser's alleged demands of having four times the borrowed amount paid back will require more time for the singer to verify, especially since his mother passed away in 2000 and cannot verify the accuser's claims.

One of the latest victims was BTOB’s Minhyuk, whose father was claimed to have not paid back a debt from a decade ago. Minhyuk has since resolved the issue by paying back the entire sum plus interest.

Photos: Microdot/Instagram, Rain/Instagram, Lee Minhyuk/Instagram

Jo Min Ki reportedly commits suicide after admitting to sexual harassment
Jo Min Ki reportedly commits suicide after admitting to sexual harassment
28 Dec 2018

Jo Min Ki reportedly commits suicide after admitting to sexual harassment

Before the #debttoo movement, there was the #metoo movement where victims stood up to talk about the sexual harassment that they had previously received. This started a wave of revelations in the country, including from within showbiz.

Among the directors, actors and other industry staff who were outed for their past misdeeds was actor Jo Min Ki, who was fired from Cheongju University and has his contract with his agency terminated after allegedly sexually harassing former students. He was later revealed to have been found dead in an apparent suicide.

Comedian Kim Saeng Min was also revealed by media outlet Dispatch to have committed sexual harassment in the past, and has since apologised to the victim and left his position on all variety programmes that he was on.

Photos: Will Entertainment, SM C&C

Goo Hara’s spat with ex-boyfriend turns ugly with revelation of sex tapes
Goo Hara’s spat with ex-boyfriend turns ugly with revelation of sex tapes
28 Dec 2018

Goo Hara’s spat with ex-boyfriend turns ugly with revelation of sex tapes

It all started off with former KARA member Goo Hara’s spat with an ex-boyfriend, hairstylist Choi Jong Beom, being revealed online. It then spiraled into a huge scandal as it was revealed that the man threatened to release their sex tape to the media, all while his lawyers claimed that he had no intention to blackmail her with that video.

But that’s not the worst of it. After investigation, he was revealed to be in possession of multiple photos of Hara in compromising positions that looked like they were taken without her consent and/or knowledge. Police shared that those images looked like they were “enough to cause sexual humiliation” and the case is still ongoing as both parties and being indicted for different charges.

Photos: Goo Hara/Instagram, Choi Jong Beom/Instagram

BTS leads industry in reigniting Hallyu wave around the world
BTS leads industry in reigniting Hallyu wave around the world
28 Dec 2018

BTS leads industry in reigniting Hallyu wave around the world

We’ve previously said that 2018 undoubtedly belongs to BTS, and we aren’t backing down. Apart from the numerous (so numerous, in fact, that we’d have trouble compiling an exhaustive list) achievements that they’ve had during this bumper year, the septet has reignited the Hallyu wave around the world.

BTS has been awarded numerous gongs by their government for spreading Korean culture around the world, which was further magnified by their latest title song, ‘IDOL’, which showcased both traditional Korean sounds, outfits and more.

But with fame comes great responsibility, as the group learned when they got caught in the crossfire of the cooling relationship between Japan and South Korea, and had negative and inaccurate reports spread about them by the media. Thankfully, their agency, Big Hit Entertainment, has since issued a strong statement to refute the claims, and curiosity behind the wartime history between Japan and South Korea has been renewed in all corners of the world.

Photo: Big Hit Entertainment

Related:
10 biggest entertainment newsmakers of 2017

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