This week there was a drama production behind-the-scenes brouhaha and it surrounds upcoming revenge melodrama Sponsor and male lead Lee Ji Hoon. A production team member on the drama posted online that Lee Ji Hoon brought a friend to the set who seemed like a thug or gangster and that person then acted threatening towards him. He said Lee Ji Hoon appeared to intervene but then shot him a look like “Now you know not to mess with me” so it felt like the thug friend was brought to send a message. The staff member said that others witnessed the incident and can corroborate. Lee Ji Hoon’s agency swiftly responded that there was a misunderstanding, the friend came to celebrate Lee Ji Hoon’s birthday and behaved poorly and Lee Ji Hoon has been trying to reach the production staff member to personally apologize but cannot reach him.
The second allegation came a day later when the original screenwriter of the drama went public that he was fired and the PD and staff swapped after Lee Ji Hoon complained that as the male lead he had too few scenes and dialogue. His agency also quickly responded that the production crew changed was by mutual agreement. Two different allegations against Lee Ji Hoon certainly doesn’t look good. A positive reputation within the production staff is very important especially to still ascending actors and actresses, it’s never okay to behave unprofessionally but a super A-list probably can do so and get away with it but not so much rising stars. Regardless of whether the allegations are true on its face, somewhat true, or not accurate, Lee Ji Hoon will have to overcome both industry perception of him and now the public perception. He got a lot of praise for not taking a salary to re-shoot Moon Where the River Rises and this incident can reverse all the goodwill in a flash. Jury is still out on what K-netizens will think in the long run on this.