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Debate heats up as more celebrities hit by parents’ debt scandal

Korea’s entertainment industry shaken upside down by a series of debt allegations

Korea’s entertainment industry has been hit with more debt allegations against celebrities’ parents in recent days as actress Cha Ye-ryun and Wheein of girl band Mamamoo became the latest to find themselves swept up in the furor.

As the controversy, fueled by Microdot’s parents accused of failing to pay off debt and fleeing to New Zealand, continues to rumble on, debate is heating up over whether it is fair to hold children accountable for the misconduct of their parents.

Rapper Microdot has found himself on the receiving end of mounting criticism, even after saying in a statement that he was kept in the dark about the fraud allegations as his family migrated to New Zealand when he was 5.

Cha Ye-ryun (left), Rain and Wheein (Yonhap)
Cha Ye-ryun (left), Rain and Wheein (Yonhap)

“If you didn’t know, you should have not said anything about taking legal action against the victims,” one comment on web portal Naver read, seemingly addressing the rapper’s initial reaction that the allegations against his parents were false and he would take legal steps against them.

Another comment read, “What would a 5-year-old have known then? But now that he’s old, I think it’s fair for him as an adult to take the lead in compensating the victims.”

But Microdot’s uncle Shin Hyung-woong defended his nephew. Shin claimed he had guaranteed the rapper’s father’s debt and ended up paying 200 million won ($177,000)

“Jaeho (Microdot’s real name) would have had no idea whether his father ran away at night or caused harm to his neighbors. He was only 5,” Shin said as he defended his nephew against labels such as a “son of a fraudster.”

Public opinion about celebrities who are hit by similar allegations remains mixed after background stories emerged over their relationship with their parents.

Actress Cha Ye-ryun garnered sympathy after revealing in an interview that she has not seen her father since 19 and has been doing her best to pay his debts off for a decade.

In a statement, Wheein from Mamamoo revealed her relationship with her estranged father who she described as “indifferent” to her family.

The singer added she does not know where her biological father now lives, what he does and how he lives.

Singer Rain, who has also been hit with debt allegations against his parents, said he will fulfill his “moral obligation as a son” and pay off the alleged debt in full, his agency Rain Company said in a statement Tuesday.

Rain’s agency also said it will take legal steps to defend the singer and his family against slander and allegations.

By Yim Hyun-su (