The world of Kpop and Kdrama charms many with its pretty visuals and endearing innocence. But like any other country, showbiz in South Korea isn’t free of scandals and controversies. Here’s a look at some of the big celebs who have been embroiled in allegations of bullying, cheating, drug abuse and more.

Kim Garam

The member of the Kpop girl group Le Sserafim has been all over the news, and not just for her recent debut. Amid allegations of school violence and bullying, she’s facing a lawsuit, which claims that her bullying led to a student attempting suicide. Reports say she even had to undergo disciplinary action for her bad behaviour at school. Her agency has denied most of the claims. However, she has taken a step back from the group and is on a hiatus, just weeks after her debut album, Fearless. 

Kim Garam of Le Sserafim

Seo Yeji

Besides allegations of school bullying and staff abuse, the It’s Okay To Not Be Okay star was accused of trying to control her then boyfriend, Crash Landing On You actor Kim Junghyun. According to chat conversations between the couple, Yeji warned Junghyun against participating in romantic scenes and having any physical contact with female co-stars in his Kdrama The Time. Her agency refuted the school bullying allegations as false and tried to explain the accusations regarding Junghyun as a personal relationship issue, but the allegations got her immense backlash. She had to keep a low profile for almost a year. In February this year, she broke her silence on the accusations: “I would like to sincerely apologize for making many people uncomfortable due to my shortcomings. All of this stemmed from my immaturity.” She is currently a part of the revenge drama Eve.

Seo Yeji starred in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.
Seo Yeji starred in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.

Kim Seonho

The actor, who catapulted to fame with shows like Hometown Cha Cha Cha and Start Up, was accused by his ex-girlfriend of forcing her to have an abortion. The public outrage due to the allegations led to him being removed from advertisements and projects. In October 2021, he shared an apology statement which said, “I was seeing her with good emotions. In that process, I hurt her due to my carelessness and inconsiderate actions.”  However, soon after, another report surfaced, claiming that his ex had lied about several details of their relationship, and that the abortion was a mutual decision. His agency did not confirm or deny these reports, and replied with “ We have nothing to say.” Last month, Seonho returned to Instagram with an apology for fans, after being on a hiatus for about seven months and thanked  them for birthday wishes. He will soon be seen in the play Touching The Void and his debut movie, Sad Tropics.

Kim Seonho shot to fame with Hometown Cha Cha Cha and StartUp.
Kim Seonho shot to fame with Hometown Cha Cha Cha and StartUp.

Lucas 

Part of the popular boyband NCT, the rapper was accused by several alleged ex-girlfriends of cheating. Reports claimed he frequently sought lavish gifts from them while being in multiple relationships simultaneously. Amid the scandal, his upcoming song’s release was cancelled. Lucas also posted a handwritten apology on Instagram, saying his past behaviour was “irresponsible” and “clearly wrong”. The 23-year-old seems to be on a hiatus since then, and has been missing from the NCT’s releases.

Lucas is a member of the Kpop group NCT.
Lucas is a member of the Kpop group NCT.

Seungri 

Perhaps the biggest South Korean celebrity scandal in recent times is the Burning Sun scandal. An investigation into a nightclub, Burning Sun, unravelled a web of sexual assault, drug use, violence, abuse of power and more. The case blew up so much that the President ordered detailed investigation. Singer Seungri of Kpop giant BigBang was found guilty of sexual crimes, gambling, prostitution mediation, violence, embezzlement and other charges. The South Korean supreme court recently finalised his sentence of one year and six months, according to a Soompi report. His Instagram account has reportedly been taken down.

Seungri left the Kpop group BigBang after his scandal.
Seungri left the Kpop group BigBang after his scandal.

Ji Soo 

The Strong Woman Do Bongsoon actor was hit with allegations of sexual harassment, violence and bullying, all incidents from his school years. According to Soompi, the actor shared an apology on his Instagram, saying, “I sincerely apologise to the people who suffered because of me. There is no excuse for my past misconduct. They were things that cannot be forgiven.” His agency also stated that he would directly contact and apologise to the victims. However, they denied the sexual abuse rumours as being false. The actor has since been away from the public eye.

Actor Ji Soo starred in Strong Woman Do Bongsoon.
Actor Ji Soo starred in Strong Woman Do Bongsoon.

B.I.

Singer-songwriter B.I., (Hanbin) recently opened up about his drug scandal, and his subsequent exit from K-pop group iKON, that made global headlines in 2019. “Even now, I regret that. I shouldn’t have done it, but felt like I was in a corner, and I made the wrong decision. I was young and stupid,” he told Billboard. Last year, he was sentenced to four years of probation, community service as well as treatment sessions for purchasing marijuana and LSD. “I’m trying to change people’s perception of me, not just by talking, but by my actions,” he added in his latest interview.

B.I. is a former member of the Love Scenario hitmaker group iKON.
B.I. is a former member of the Love Scenario hitmaker group iKON.

Yunho

The veteran K-pop idol was swept up in accusations of visiting an illegal escort bar, violating Covid-19 social distancing rules as well as running away from authorities when caught. A member of TVXQ, Yunho was ditched by sponsors who wanted to distance themselves from a controversy. However, his agency said in a statement that the singer did not do anything wrong except breaking social distancing rules. The agency stated he was unaware about the venue being an escort bar, and that he had only gone there upon a friend’s invitation. He later apologised for breaking quarantine rules.

Yunho is a member of TVXQ.
Yunho is a member of TVXQ.

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