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Revelations by alleged school bullying victims shake Korean TV industry

A poster for the MBC reality show “Don’t Be Jealous,” on which TV producer Kim Yoo-jin appeared with her husband-to-be, star chef Lee Won-il. (MBC)
A poster for the MBC reality show “Don’t Be Jealous,” on which TV producer Kim Yoo-jin appeared with her husband-to-be, star chef Lee Won-il. (MBC)


Postings on online communities by alleged victims who claim they were bullied by TV celebrities in their school years are rattling the show business industry.

Freelance TV producer Kim Yoo-jin, who appeared on the MBC reality show “Don’t Be Jealous” with her husband-to-be, star chef Lee Won-il, was reportedly hospitalized Monday after posting a message that said she had been falsely accused and that hinted at a suicide.

On Monday afternoon, Kim’s sister posted on social media that her family was sorry for making the public worry and would take legal action against those spreading rumors about Kim and sending hateful comments.

Allegations of school bullying by Kim were first raised April 21 in a post on a community run by portal site Nate. Written by a woman who claimed to be a victim, the post said Kim and a group of friends had taken the poster to a karaoke room in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2008 and started beating her. As criticism of Kim mounted, the TV producer on April 23 admitted wrongdoing and left the show.

A number of TV stars who have also been accused of school bullying in recent weeks have either filed or plan to file lawsuits against the accusers, claiming they are spreading false rumors.

Reality TV show “Heart Signal 3” cast member Lee Ga-heun was accused of bullying her classmate when the program revealed the cast members in March. The producers of the show denied all rumors concerning Lee and the show began airing as scheduled March 25.

However, on April 28, the woman who had written the post about Lee reasserted her claim in an interview with a local news outlet. Lee’s lawyers denied all allegations against Lee the following day.

“Lee will take all legal measures to reveal the truth and restore her reputation,” an official from law firm YK, which represents Lee, said in a statement. The law firm added that it had already filed a lawsuit against the alleged victim.

Last month, model Kang Seung-hyun, who has appeared on several TV variety shows, including “Troubler Hyoni” and “Style Follow,” was accused of bullying in middle school as well.

In response, Kang’s agency said, “The rumors currently spreading on various online communities about Kang’s violence in school are completely false.” The agency also added that it would take legal action against those spreading the rumors.

Following the statement by Kang’s agency, the alleged victim wrote, “I knew they would respond like that. I have more evidence from the witness and will take legal action,” in another posting on an online community site.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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