Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Days Won


Everything posted by sadiesmith

  1. I hate that only in his death do we find out how big of an international star LSK really is because he seems forever underappreciated in South Korea. Here's his death getting analyzed in a lengthy article by a major US newspaper. From the Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2024-02-13/a-movie-star-a-suicide-and-a-nations-war-on-drugs A movie star, a suicide and a nation’s war on drugs BY MAX KIM FEB. 13, 2024 2 AM PT SEOUL — South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun learned he was being investigated for illegal drug use after reading about it in the news. The story that leaked to the South Korean news media was that detectives from the city of Incheon were acting on a tip that Lee had taken ketamine and marijuana. Best known for his role as a haughty tech executive in the Oscar-winning 2019 dark comedy “Parasite,” Lee was one of the country’s biggest movie stars. He had lead roles in two of the seven Korean films screened in May at the Cannes Film Festival. South Korea has some of the harshest drug laws in the world, and recreational use has long been dealt with as a criminal matter rather than a public health issue. The police investigation was opened in October amid a renewed crackdown, and authorities seemed determined to make an example out of Lee. He was paraded in front of reporters, drug-tested four times and once interrogated for 19 hours straight. Salacious personal details, leaked to the media, formed a pulpy narrative of a beloved star whose deviant private life was finally being unmasked. Lee, 48, maintained his innocence. But on Dec. 27, after Lee went missing, police found him dead in his car at a park in Seoul in an apparent suicide. His death unleashed a swell of criticism that overzealous investigators and the media had turned Lee into a victim of what Jang Won-seok, a film producer and longtime friend of the actor, described as “a character assassination that pushed him to the absolute bottom.” Fewer are questioning the way drug users are demonized in South Korea, a mind-set stoked by decades of government rhetoric and hard-line policy. “The public sees drug use as a ‘social evil,’” Jang said. “Of the many scandals that a celebrity can suffer, drugs are among the worst.” Authorities became interested in Lee after a 28-year-old small-time former actress — whom they have identified only by her surname, Park — showed up at a police station claiming that a former friend and the movie star were drug users. The former friend, a 29-year-old woman with the last name Kim, managed a members-only bar in Seoul. News accounts said the two had met years earlier in prison, where Kim was reportedly serving time for drugs and Park for fraud. But their relationship had recently soured. It was Kim, facing prosecution, who provided the details about Lee and the drugs she said he used at her apartment several times. According to police reports obtained by broadcaster MBC, her recollection of which dates this happened shifted repeatedly before detectives finally zeroed in on four specific days between October 2022 and June 2023. Lee made a surprising counter-allegation, claiming that Kim had extorted $225,000 from him, while another blackmailer — later revealed to be Park — had resorted to extortion as well, to the tune of $37,000. In South Korea, law enforcement authorities are barred from disclosing the identities of suspects under criminal investigation or allowing suspects to be recorded on video or photographed by the media. But by the time Lee was summoned by the police in late October, a regional newspaper, quoting an anonymous Incheon police source, had already broken the news about the investigation, setting off a maelstrom of coverage. “Lee Sun-kyun drug allegations create shock waves,” read a typical headline. “Damage expected to reach fellow actors and production staff.” At the front of the station, a wall of reporters greeted Lee, who appeared tense and solemn — a sharp departure from his public image of clean-cut, jaunty wholesomeness. “These sorts of A-lister celebrity drug scandals are almost unheard of in South Korea,” said Kim Hern-sik, a pop culture critic who has spoken about Lee’s case on national television. “And if you appear in the press like that, you’re automatically branded as guilty.” As a local telecommunications company and vitamin manufacturer began pulling their advertising campaigns featuring Lee, questions circulated about who had tipped off the media about his trip to the station. In a written statement, a spokesperson for police denied that they disclosed the date of Lee’s summons, adding that “we are in the process of ascertaining whether the source of the initial news report was from an internal leak.” Law enforcement experts have also criticized the police’s handling of the early stages of their investigation. “Establishing the basic facts, like the specific dates of the alleged drug use, or vetting the credibility of the accuser’s allegations — these are things that should have been done very early on, before Lee was summoned,” said Kim Hee-jun, a former narcotics investigator with South Korea’s prosecutors’ office. “I’ve investigated plenty of celebrities in the past, but not once did I summon them publicly,” he said. “Once the suspect is revealed to be someone famous and there is an expectant atmosphere being created, it’s difficult to say ‘oh, we looked into it and there’s nothing there.’ It can sway the investigation toward prosecution.” Most of Asia has taken a hard stance against recreational drug use, and South Korea is no exception. Citizens can even be prosecuted for consuming drugs outside the country. But things weren’t always this way. Cannabis seeds were used in traditional Korean medicine, and as recently as the 1960s, marijuana could be found growing wild in the countryside, where farmers would sometimes smoke the leaves like tobacco. Recreational marijuana use took root among the countercultural youth of the 1970s, associated with rock ‘n’ roll and American GIs, who called it “happy smoke.” Responding to pressure from the U.S. military — which blamed locally grown marijuana for American troops getting high — as well as the dissident undertones of pot culture, the Park Chung-hee military dictatorship declared that the drug was corrupting the country’s youth and made cannabis offenses punishable by death. The regime’s anti-drug campaign featured a string of high-profile trials of celebrities, including Shin Joong-hyun, a guitarist known as South Korea’s “godfather of rock” who was tortured and institutionalized. Marijuana use is no longer a capital offense, but the legacy of that era has endured. There are deep stigmas around drug use and widespread fears around the newfound availability of methamphetamine, MDMA and other drugs, which are sold on the dark web or anonymous messaging apps, paid for with cryptocurrency and delivered in contactless drop-offs. A single dose of meth, which would have cost around $75 a few years ago, is now estimated to sell for as little as $15. In April, the conservative administration of President Yoon Suk-yeol, a former prosecutor, launched a multi-agency narcotics investigation unit led by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, the most powerful law enforcement body in the country. “The reason drugs used to be expensive in South Korea was the risk cost — if you were caught, your life would be ruined,” Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said. “This administration is going to root out many offenders and will come down on them so hard that they will shriek.” Police made 17,817 drug arrests last year, up from 8,107 in 2018, with teenagers and people in their 20s accounting for the biggest, sharpest spikes. A survey by polling company Hankook Research in December 2022 found that almost 80% of South Koreans supported the drug war. A similar percentage associated drug use with “a lack of morals” and believed that, on top of the legal consequences, celebrities caught using drugs deserved to suffer additional social or economic fallout. For law enforcement, the government has offered up clear incentives to score big wins. In April, the country’s police chief announced “significant rewards” for the agency’s top performers — including special promotions for entire teams — calling for both major drug ring busts as well as awareness-raising efforts. “That creates competition among narcotics departments and adds pressure to produce results,” said Kim Hee-jun, the former prosecutor. “And high-profile cases, like investigations into celebrities or famous corporate figures, are a prime example of these kinds of highly regarded performance outcomes.” Lee would have understood that drug scandals can torpedo careers long before a guilty verdict is even reached. Fellow actor Yoo Ah-in, currently on trial on charges of using ketamine, marijuana and cocaine, is now widely regarded as persona non grata in the South Korean entertainment industry. Two movies and a Netflix series have indefinitely been put on hold, and he may also be on the hook for damages to advertisers for causing “social controversy.” Lee was never arrested or charged, but between late October and late November, police gave him four drug tests, including hair tests said to detect drug use for up to a year. One test was inconclusive and the rest were negative. “If it had been a regular person, I think the case would have likely been closed right there,” said Kim Hee-jun, the former prosecutor. “It’s very difficult to prosecute a suspect without a positive drug test when the dates of alleged use fall within that detection window.” But the investigation of Lee remained open. “We investigated the case according to standard protocols and the law,” the police department said in a written statement. “In determining whether a charge exists, drug investigations take into account not only testing results, but also testimonies of involved parties and forensic data.” In late November, as newspapers began to question why the police were pushing ahead with the investigation with seemingly little evidence, the national broadcaster KBS released parts of a recording of a phone conversation between Lee and his accuser. The two appeared to be flirting with each other. At one point, Kim steered the conversation toward drugs, in what some have interpreted as an attempt to get Lee to incriminate himself. Lee’s response was distracted and noncommittal. The source of the recording remains a mystery. Incheon police have acknowledged that it was filed as evidence but have denied leaking it. Jang, Lee’s friend, believes that this recording was the compromising material used by Kim to extort Lee, who had a wife and two sons. “Nobody really knows what the nature of their relationship was,” Jang said. “But he was a famous celebrity with a family, and I think the manager exploited that and the optics of the situation to extort him.” Although KBS has defended its publication of the recording, others say the decision was the lowest point in what they regard as frantic, often prurient coverage of Lee. In two months, South Korean media published nearly 3,000 online news reports about Lee. At a news conference held by Lee’s industry colleagues in early January, singer and music executive Yoon Jong-shin asked, “Can KBS say, on its honor as a public broadcaster, that the private conversation of the deceased, which had nothing to do with the allegations at hand, was really journalism in the service of the public interest?” Lee wasn’t the only target of his accuser. She also told investigators that Kwon Ji-yong, a famous musician known as G-dragon, had done cocaine at the bar she managed. Police closed that investigation in mid-December after the musician passed his drug tests and his accuser admitted that she hadn’t actually seen him take the drugs. But the police were not done with Lee. On the morning of Dec. 23, he showed up at the Incheon police station for his third interrogation. Police denied a request from his lawyers that he be allowed to enter the building through an underground parking garage, so he had to walk through a throng of reporters. Police said that the overnight interrogation was arranged with Lee’s consent in order to make enough time for questions related to the drug case as well as his extortion case. Three days later, Lee asked for a polygraph test. But before it could be administered he was dead. The Incheon police agency is being investigated for its potential role in the leaks about Lee’s case. Park and Kim, Lee’s accusers, are being tried on extortion charges. Kim is also on trial for allegedly taking meth and marijuana. A coalition of entertainment industry figures, including “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho, are now campaigning for strengthened privacy protections for subjects of law enforcement investigations. “Ultimately, the attitude of the public needs to mature, to not expect celebrities to be like pure, blank sheets of paper,” Jang said. “But there is a need for some basic safeguard to prevent something like this from happening again.” Jang remembered his friend as warm and kind, recounting how Lee liked to hype up his colleagues, rearranging seats at restaurants so a younger actor had a chance to shine. Amid the tide of eulogies, some drug experts hoped that Lee’s death would begin to change the national conversation around the country’s punitive approach to drugs. But that has not happened. “Other countries have adopted a rehabilitation-focused model, but South Korea has not,” said Lim Sang-hyeon, the director of a drug treatment facility in Gyeonggi province. “The public still sees drug users as criminals or menaces to society rather than patients. And that’s because the enforcement of drug laws paints them that way.” Kim Hee-jun said that the incident has at least raised questions that might eventually help inch public awareness forward. “When I was a prosecutor, I myself only ever thought you needed to come down hard on drug users,” he said. “But over time, I saw the high recidivism rates, I sought out more information and came to see the issue in terms of not just crime, but also of disease and addiction.” In January, he published a book that aims to demystify teenage drug use. An exonerated G-Dragon agreed to write the foreword. “Prejudice stands in the way of healing and change,” he wrote. “To fix the heart of the problem, we must begin with prevention and positive education rather than law and punishment.” https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2024-02-13/a-movie-star-a-suicide-and-a-nations-war-on-drugs
  2. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I wish I could put together a tribute for GMS today. But I am not over my grief and still find it hard to process this tragedy. So many things went so wrong. How about you? Would you like to write one? We can have more than one.
  3. Here's an essay written by a Korean-American lawyer who himself has dealt with plenty of drug crimes in his career. He made a good point about the root cause of drug use and several other thoughtful observations. Also, I've got to say he chose the best pictures. But the last part just about broke me as a fan. Lee Sun-kyun and the Consequences of Drug Investigations in Korea BY TAI PARK JANUARY 5, 2024 South Korea lost a special actor when Lee Sun-kyun died last week from apparent suicide. The loss of any life is a tragedy, but as a former narcotics prosecutor, I was shocked to learn that a criminal investigation into drug use might have driven him to take his own life. There are many reasons to be confused by this account, but the most perplexing to me is why law enforcement would have been investigating him for personal conduct. I have no idea whether the investigation was in fact a significant factor in the suicide. But if it was, the tragedy is compounded by its senselessness. It’s possible that my strong views here might be tainted by my admiration for Mr. Lee. While news reports refer to him as the “Parasite” actor, Korean Americans know him better as the painfully sensitive “My Mister” or the corrupt cop seeking redemption in “Jo Il-Po: The Dawning Rage”. Whatever role he played, Mr. Lee never failed to deliver. His role as the rich dad in “Parasite” was actually one of his least demanding roles in my view. Naturally handsome and cool, it took little for him to play an aloof rich businessman with a picture-perfect family. His roles as broken men in lesser-known Korean dramas revealed the depths of his immense talent. I will miss him. The news reports trigger lots of questions. Is it really the case that drug use is so deeply condemned in Korea? Here, we are accustomed to hearing about lines of cocaine at the parties of famous actors or other celebrities. From John Lennon to Robert Downey, Jr., there is a long and unending queue of famous people caught with drugs; the public forgives and forgets. Yet, Koreans apparently abhor drug use so thoroughly that they think it’s plausible Mr. Lee killed himself over the shame of it. What’s confusing about this is that we are not talking about a puritanical society with Victorian habits; Korea is far from that. It embraces its image as a hard-partying nation infamous for the late-night, fall-down drunk parties multiple times during the work week. Many say that that behavior is even expected of business professionals. What accounts for embrace of this identity but rejecting so severely personal drug use? In effect, both alcohol and drugs can be used for the entertaining buzz at a party or, when used in excess, lead to physical and emotional harm. While it is true that drugs can lead more readily to addiction, I question the harsh stigma of drug use while valorizing extreme alcohol consumption. Most confusing to me, though, is why Korean law enforcement would expend time and money pursuing investigations of mere drug use. I am not someone who thinks drugs should all be decriminalized. Far from it. As a young man in the 1990s, I led the Narcotics Unit of prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, and I gave drug enforcement policy a lot of thought then and since. I believe drugs like heroin and cocaine have devastating effects on families, communities and society at large. Their use leads to addiction and addiction leads to debilitation. Entire city blocks in New York City became war zones among competing gangs. Right or wrong, I am firmly in the camp of “drugs are bad.” But it would never have occurred to me to expend the energy of agents and prosecutors to investigate whether someone was a drug user, occasional or addict. It was hard enough to investigate Cartel level suppliers or vast distribution organizations moving multi-hundred kilograms of heroin or cocaine on a daily basis. This is time and finance intensive work that often seemed Sisyphian in its never-ending labor. But it is labor I am convinced every civilized nation needs to commit, lest society collapse completely. So what is it that the Korean government seeks to achieve by devoting significant resources to individual drug use investigations? It cannot be the case that they have so much capacity and resources that they can effectively stymie drug traffickers and have time to spare to investigate individual users. Culturally, the conduct is apparently so frowned upon, people might be willing to kill themselves to avoid the shame of publicizing their drug use. Is it really necessary for the government to pursue the users with ruinous investigations and prosecutions when social opprobrium is so thorough? Drug possession (and use) is also illegal in the U.S., but people are prosecuted after they are incidentally found in possession, such as in traffic stop after driving erratically or drugs found in a bag during airport screening. Most people (especially the wealthy) get a slap on the wrist and move on with their lives. There is a recognition that temptation to use drugs is inevitable and resources are wasted trying to stop the inevitable. Some might say that Korea’s zero-tolerance in law enforcement keeps drug use low, and they might point to the U.S. or other European nations as having failed in their drug policies because of their tolerance for users. I disagree. The root cause of drug use is degrading social structure and coherence, as well as the power of the narcotic to induce addiction. I learned that as community cohesion breaks down, and one’s sense of disconnection from others increases, drug use spikes in that community. No amount of punishment, imposed or threatened, will avoid this outcome. What is needed is moral suasion, coherent social structures and support systems. It is up to society to offer its people the ingredients of a whole life such that drugs offer no temptation. On the other hand, it is up to government to shut down anyone who would flood the streets with product that may prove irresistible, especially for the young people in the community. If the U.S. has a never-ending battle with drug traffickers it is because social support has eroded, not because personal use is more or less tolerated by law enforcement. One year after I left my job as a federal prosecutor, the movie “Traffic” came out. I was stunned by its accuracy. It offered the most comprehensive picture of the challenges that drug trafficking posed to American society. From Don Cheadle, the dedicated DEA agent fighting the war on the streets, to Michael Douglas, the U.S. Drug Czar whose daughter was an addict, the movie was as true as any fictional, two and a half-hour depiction could offer. The movie ends with a scene of Benicio Del Toro, a Mexican drug policeman, watching boys play night-time baseball, taking quiet pleasure in the scene. In exchange for risking his life to cooperate with the DEA, he had gotten the U.S. government to provide electricity for field lights. It was a simple ask, but he could now watch players and spectators on a dusty Mexican baseball field, together and safe. This was his gift to his community. If drug use in Korea is on the rise, its government would do well to remember the lesson “Traffic” suggests about the U.S. experience: Drug use is inevitable as social ties and support increasingly weaken. A determined war on drug traffickers is essential, while we simultaneously tend to the needs of our people. It is easy to imagine Mr. Lee, playing with his customary skill and empathy, the role of a spiritually broken drug user, the determined drug agent, or the remorseless trafficker, describing on the screen the challenges that Korea faces. A movie “Traffic”, for Korea. I am sorry we will not see him in that or any other role. https://bestofkorea.com/lee-sun-kyun-korean-drug-laws/
  4. Here's an interview with Andrew Bishop who played Jonathan Na's bodyguard (I'm guessing) in Killing Romance. I haven't actually watched the entire video because I am still trying not to be completely spoiled. I still feel very sad at what happened. Although I can read articles, watching video tributes is still a little too much.
  5. Exactly! There seems to be no path to redemption. The press conference was very short and solemn. I only recognize Director Bong Joon Ho and the MC person. Very curious what they said.
  6. Agreeing with everything you wrote above. I remember thinking to myself right around the time LSK went to Chicago that he was having the best year of his career. Two of his movies were screened at Cannes, articles praised his roles in Killing Romance, and Sleep was a nice success at the struggling box office. And then October happened. And then December. Have you come across Jae Ha Kim's substack? She wrote a substack on the death. Although I could not always follow her thoughts, she offers some insight into the shame culture that is pervasive in South Korea. Her article complements the very-well-written Hollywood Reporter one. She also did an interview on NPR and posted a review of My Mister. Rest in Peace, Lee Sun-Kyun NPR Interview My Mister Review
  7. Yes, we have! Thank you for sharing the video of the interview in Chicago. I will have to watch it another day because tears. We will eventually recover from our pain of losing our favorite actor, but his wife and children have a long way to be healed from this wound. I still pray for them to find a way to move forward and even thrive. Did you see this new tribute to the acting powerhouse that was LSK? He never just played it safe. The article mirrors what you said about losing such a gifted actor. Sometimes when I think about his latest four movies that have yet to be released internationally, I feel a tiny bit of consolation that I will still get to enjoy his acting a little longer. https://n.news.naver.com/entertain/article/047/0002418022 An attitude of not settling down, how to remember actor Lee Sun-kyun [Kim Seong-ho's Cine Hooray 627] <Killing Romance> The Korean film industry is doing extremely well, from the Korean Wave spreading across the world to writers receiving attention at the world's leading film festivals. By all accounts, today is the golden age, but when you look at the scale of the film industry and the number of works produced each year, you can imagine how difficult it is for one actor to wear clothes that fit him or her. In a situation where there are not enough scenarios and roles, the range of acting that an actor can do cannot be said to be very wide. There are only a few complex characters that allow actors to reveal their diverse sides, and even those are often blocked by barriers such as age, gender, and appearance. Numerous scenarios are thrown at a small number of proven actors, and it is not easy for most to land a good role. Since it is not easy to recover once you slip, there are quite a few actors who do not take risks. The goal is to avoid unfamiliar challenges by repeatedly taking on roles similar to those of a successful character. On the one hand, there are complaints that there are not many good scenarios, and on the other hand, there are voices criticizing the complacency of actors who do not try to change their acting skills. Unfamiliar styles, new roles... Those who take on challenges Even in these situations, there are some actors who do not stop taking on challenges and transforming themselves. These actors who deserve acclaim refuse to be isolated in any one genre or character and repeatedly try new ways that have never been tried before. As with most new attempts, it often ends in failure rather than success, but sometimes it provides an opportunity to become more mature. <Killing Romance>, released last year, is a unique work that is difficult to find in the Korean film industry. It is a frame-style composition that represents an unidentified fairy tale, and the setting is fantastic, as if you are watching Wes Anderson's <The Grand Budapest Hotel>. Realistic stories are mixed with fairy tale content, and highly dramatized characters appear in everyday dramas. The basic plot is the story of top star Yeorae (played by Honey Lee) breaking away from her oppressive husband Jonathan (played by Sunkyun Lee). Tathagata, who boasted of unrivaled popularity despite her poor performance, met a wealthy man on Gwa La Island, where she stopped by on her trip, and fell in love with him, but his reality was completely different from what she expected. Jonathan is an insensitive person who cannot empathize with the pain of others, and is a born villain who often harasses others just for his own pleasure. Jonathan is unrealistically strong and self-centered, as if he were a cartoon character. He treats his wife like a trophy wife and drags her to various events, but does not actually give her the affection she needs. He even goes as far as to use violence against Tathagata by standing her in a corner and throwing hundreds of tangerines at her with all his might when something happens that he doesn't like. At this point, it would be natural to divorce, but the Tathagata is more afraid of the fact that she is being abused becoming known than the actual abuse, so she doesn't even dare to think about divorce. Then a young man appears in front of her. This is Beom-woo (played by Gong Myung), a fourth-year college entrance exam student who lives across from Tathagata and Jonathan's house. He is also a long-time member of Tathagata's fan club, Tathagata Barae, and is shocked when he witnesses the fact that Tathagata, who appeared in front of him as if by chance, was being abused by her husband. He approaches her Tathagata, offers to save her from her danger, and begins a campaign with her to eliminate her Jonathan. All kinds of assassination methods are simulated, from secretly feeding Jonathan, who is allergic to peanuts, peanuts and faking an accident to kill him, to luring him to an abandoned sauna and steaming him to death. But none of them work out the way he wanted them to. In the end, Beom-woo , the enormous villain who dominates the entire movie, falls in love with Jonathan and is so generous to him that he can no longer maintain the desire to kill him. Tathagata's plan to secretly get rid of Jonathan finally goes awry, and a sense of despair fills him that he will never be able to escape Jonathan's clutches. The main character of <Killing Romance> is Tathagata, played by Lee Ha-nui, but the most impressive character in this movie is, no matter what anyone says, Jonathan, played by Lee Sun-kyun. He is a villain who dominates the entire movie and abuses his wife in all kinds of ways, but on the other hand, he is a devilish character who makes you think that there is no such person. He is such a unique character that one cannot think of a character similar to him in Korean movies, and since he is a highly dramatized character, there is ample room for him to be mistaken for an improbable and absurd character if he is not careful. However, Lee Seon-kyun effectively brings to life Jonathan's absurd characteristics, which can be considered cartoonish rather than fairy tale. Jonathan's presence dominates the entire film, as he uses a lot of buzzwords throughout the film and continues to take actions that are unexpected not only by the characters in the film but also by the audience watching the film. It would be no exaggeration to say that Lee Sun-kyun's skillful acting played a critical role in allowing the villain who oppresses the main character to function as the main character that makes the movie interesting. The attitude of endless challenge speaks of who he is Jonathan is a character so unfamiliar and special that no similar character can be found throughout Lee Sun-kyun's filmography. Lee Seon-gyun portrays this character, who is so special and unfamiliar, in a pleasant way, as if he were wearing clothes that fit him perfectly. Even though he is a villain, he is an interesting and unfamiliar, yet somewhat relatable, colorful character that faithfully captures his charm. What's even more interesting is that he, who showed deep and positive acting in <Parasite> and <My Mister>, chose such a light and cheerful role as his next move. The fact that, in a situation where there were numerous characters to choose from, he chose a movie and character with an unfamiliar and unfamiliar format instead of a movie that was guaranteed commercial success or a character that could stably demonstrate his acting skills, shows what kind of actor Lee Sun-kyun is, and that he is a good movie star. It proves what kind of attitude you have treated. It is by no means common for an actor to choose novelty over familiarity and challenge over comfort. This film painfully reveals what the Korean film industry and Korean audiences have lost.
  8. @sweetroad Thank you for sharing that tribute. I didn't have the heart to read too much about what's written about him until these last two days because everything I read would either bring me to tears or to anger. Here's an opinion piece in the Korea Herald that sums up how I felt about the whole tragedy. https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20240102000827 [Editorial] The right not to know Police and media must take action to stop releasing, reporting irrelevant personal details of suspects By Korea Herald Published : Jan. 3, 2024 - 05:31 The tragic death of actor Lee Sun-kyun last week has ignited criticism against the police for not complying with its own press guidelines, and the media for reckless coverage of private details that most people do not want to, or need to, know. Since October, Lee stood in front of hundreds of flashing cameras on three different occasions and apologized to the public for “causing concern” before he entered the police building for questioning on his alleged use of prohibited substances. Prior to the third police interrogation on Dec. 23, Lee had asked the police through his lawyer not to let the press know about it, but the police declined the request. An official at the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency said that “some broadcast reporters” insisted it should be open to the press because if it is done secretly, he could be photographed or filmed “like he is sneaking in,” which, they said, would make him look worse. Police rules, however, prohibit chiefs of police stations from releasing information on when individuals under investigation will show up for questioning, or allowing the press to photograph or film them during the investigation. Whatever some reporters may insist, the police should abide by its own rules. Members of the press have no way of finding out when a suspect will be summoned unless someone in law enforcement tells them. Police rules on human rights protection in investigations restrict late night or marathon interrogations. Yet the police grilled Lee for 19 hours overnight on Dec. 23. According to Lee’s lawyer, the actor was told to choose between being openly summoned again and being interrogated overnight. Actor Yoo Ah-in, who is under investigation for alleged use of illicit drugs, said he had also asked the police ahead of his second summoning in May to let him enter police premises through alternative routes to avoid the press, but his request was denied. Article 126 of the Criminal Act, which bans investigative authorities from releasing facts regarding a suspected crime, has practically become a dead letter. The press, represented by groups such as the Journalists Association of Korea and the Korean Association of Newspapers, should also come up with binding guidelines to refrain from reporting on irrelevant private details of suspects. Ever since a provincial newspaper reported on Oct. 19 that police were looking into drug allegations against “top star L,” just a day after the police took in a hostess of a bar in Seoul’s Gangnam-gu who had been blackmailing Lee, media outlets and YouTube channels scrambled to disgorge speculations and private information that only serve to indulge some people’s morbid curiosity. On Nov. 24, the nation’s largest public broadcaster, KBS, released a transcript of Lee’s telephone conversation with the hostess, which included content that had nothing to do with the drug allegations. Other than the woman’s claims, there was no evidence that Lee had knowingly used illegal drugs. In November, he tested negative in both a reagent test conducted during police interrogation and a comprehensive lab-based drug analysis of his hair samples by the National Forensic Service. How many deaths will it take for the Korean media including YouTubers to stop crossing the line? On the day the probe into Lee was made public, allegations that a presidential protocol secretary's 9-year-old daughter had severely assaulted a younger schoolmate to the extent that she required nine weeks of medical treatment were also reported. The latter news, however, did not get much media traction, as the presidential office immediately fired the secretary, Kim Seung-hee, while news on Lee dominated the media. The media’s obsessive coverage of celebrities' dark sides is one of the vices that further sicken people's minds in a country that has the world's highest suicide rate, and efforts must be made to achieve some level of self-control.
  9. I've seen mention of Sleep being released on Netflix at the end of the year. That is welcome news. Were you able to watch Killing Romance anywhere? In another welcome piece of news, Jeon Hye Jin is reportedly to join the drama I Am Home with Lee Sung Min. I hope that is a sign that things are calming down and trending better in her personal life. I am very relieved that she is still sought after for major roles. However, seeing posts of Jo Jin Woong starting to film No Way Out just makes me incredibly sad.
  10. Yes to all of this. I find it odd that the Korean (net)citizens and media are so willing to shoot themselves in the foot by their immediate presumption of guilt. In the end, this could only hurt the domestic box office which has already been struggling for a while. I'm thinking about doing things like not including Parasite in a Bong Joon Ho exhibition. Or the talk about indefinitely shelving away two major movies, one of which cost millions to produce and was a feature at Cannes. Even if LSK ultimately proved himself innocent, it will be difficult to reshape public opinion and sell future movie tickets. Why not just stay neutral and let the process play out? I've even seen ridiculous comments on Youtube and elsewhere essentially saying to "enjoy this video now before it gets removed from the platform." I am willing to stand back and let their justice system take care of any legal violation, but trying to cancel a person for a mere suspicion just seems a little overboard to me.
  11. It's been a very sad month. I don't know what else will be revealed, but I am afraid that even if all accusations were proven false, LSK won't be able to save his career or image. I do hope he's able to save his marriage. Was anyone else horrified at the almost gleeful way some stuff got reported in the media at the height of this scandal?
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..