The scandals that rocked South Korean showbiz

The world of Kpop and Kdrama charms more than one with its pretty visuals and endearing innocence. But like any other country, showbiz in South Korea is not free from scandals and controversies. Here’s a look at some of the big celebrities who have been embroiled in allegations of bullying, cheating, drug addiction and more.

Kim Garam

The member of Kpop girl group Le Sserafim has been making headlines, and not just for her recent debut. Amid allegations of school violence and bullying, she faces a lawsuit, which claims her bullying led a student to attempt suicide. Reports say she even had to face disciplinary action for her bad behavior at school. His agency has denied most of the allegations. However, she has taken a step back from the band and is on hiatus, just weeks after her debut album, Fearless.

Kim Garam from Sserafim


Along with allegations of school bullying and staff abuse, the It’s Okay To Not Be Okay star has been accused of trying to control her then-boyfriend, the Crash Landing On actor You, Kim Junghyun. According to chat conversations between the couple, Yeji warned Junghyun against participating in romantic scenes and any physical contact with female co-stars in his Kdrama The Time. Her agency refuted the school bullying allegations as false and attempted to explain the accusations regarding Junghyun as a personal relationship issue, but the allegations earned her immense backlash. She had to lay low for almost a year. In February this year, she broke her silence on the accusations: “I sincerely want to apologize for making a lot of people feel bad about my shortcomings. It all comes from my immaturity. She is currently part of the revenge drama Eve.

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

Kim Seonho

The actor, who was 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. Public outrage over the allegations led to him being removed from commercials and projects. In October 2021, he shared an apology statement which read, “I saw her with good emotions. In this process, I hurt her due to my negligence and reckless actions. However, soon after another report surfaced claiming that her ex had lied about several details of their relationship and that the abortion was a mutual decision. His agency neither confirmed nor denied this information and replied with “We have nothing to say”. Last month, Seonho took to Instagram again with an apology for fans after being on hiatus for about seven months and thanked them for their birthday wishes. We will soon see him in the play Touching The Void and his first film, Sad Tropics.

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


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

Lucas is a member of the Kpop group NCT.


The Burning Sun scandal is perhaps the biggest South Korean celebrity scandal in recent times. An investigation into a nightclub, Burning Sun, uncovered a web of sexual assault, drug use, violence, abuse of power and more. The case exploded so much that the president ordered a full investigation. Singer Seungri of Kpop giant BigBang was convicted of sex crimes, gambling, prostitution mediation, violence, embezzlement and other charges. The South Korean Supreme Court recently finalized his sentence of one year and six months, according to a report by Soompi. His Instagram account has reportedly been deleted.

Seungri left Kpop group BigBang after his scandal.

Ji Soo

The Strong Woman actor Do Bongsoon faced allegations of sexual harassment, violence and bullying, all incidents that occurred during his school years. According to Soompi, the actor shared an apology on his Instagram, saying, “I sincerely apologize to the people who suffered because of me. There is no apology for my past misconduct. These are things which cannot be forgiven. His agency also said he would contact the victims directly and apologize. However, they denied that the sexual abuse rumors were untrue. The actor has since been out of the public eye. .

Actor Ji Soo starred in Strong Woman Do Bongsoon.


Singer-songwriter BI (Hanbin) recently opened up about his drug scandal and subsequent exit from K-pop group iKON, which made global headlines in 2019. “Even now, I I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it, but I 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 probation, community service and treatment sessions for buying marijuana and LSD. “I’m trying to change the perception that people have of me, not just by speaking, but by my actions,” he added in his last interview.

BI is a former member of hitmaker group Love Scenario iKON.


The veteran K-pop idol has been accused of visiting an illegal escort bar, violating Covid-19 social distancing rules and fleeing authorities when arrested. Member of TVXQ, Yunho was abandoned by sponsors who wanted to distance themselves from a controversy. However, his agency said in a statement that the singer had done nothing wrong except breaking social distancing rules. The agency said he was unaware the venue was an escort bar and only went there at the invitation of a friend. He later apologized for breaking quarantine rules.

Yunho is a member of TVXQ.


    Farozan Akhtar is a content producer at Hindustan Times. She writes about books, music, K-pop, and other Hallyu-related topics for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City.
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