As JTBC‘s steamy new series The World of The Married continues to be a hot topic among K-Drama lovers, a certain past involving the cast actor Lee Kyung Young has resurfaced and “triggered” some to boycott the series overall.
Back in 2002, Lee Kyung Young was arrested and tried in the court of law for prostitution of a minor.
The public records of the trial revealed that Lee Kyung Young “manipulated and exploited” an underaged aspiring actress “L” into having sex with him — in potential exchange of securing a role in one of his future movies. At first, Lee Kyung Young is said to have been oblivious to the fact that L is a teenager. The following two times he had sex with L, however, he is said to have been fully aware of L’s age.
The court found Lee Kyung Young innocent for the first of the three occasions, but guilty of prostitution for the two of the three occasions. He was given a suspended sentence to 10 months of prison with 2 years of probation, in addition to 160 hours of community service. Following the trial, in 2004, L and her parents won a separate civil litigation against Lee Kyung Young — in which he was sentenced to restitution to cover expenses for treating L’s psychological damages.
Post this most controversial trial of the era, Lee Kyung Young faced extreme criticism from the Korean audience and could not appear on the screens for a while. Only by 2011, almost a decade after the case, did he begin starring in movies and dramas again.
With that said, his appearance on The World of The Married has sparked an intense debate among viewers over whether or not he “deserves to be cast in show after show“, especially because “he has committed a crime that is so unethical and unacceptable.”
Under most of The World of The Married‘s “Behind The Scenes” videos uploaded to JTBC’s YouTube channel, the concern is prominently voiced by many who find him “uncomfortable to watch“:
- “Answer me this. It’s not like Korea doesn’t have any other male actors who are Lee Kyung Young’s age. In fact, there are tons of actors with better diction and acting skills than Lee Kyung Young. So why is it that I have to keep seeing him on TV?”
- “Korea lets sex offenders off the hook too easily. How could someone like Lee Kyung Young be back on TV like this? Yes, he paid for his wrongdoings or whatever. But could it ever be enough? He spent some money and did some community service, so he can come back to work? The girl he hurt has to live with that trauma forever. He is the very reason Korea sees sh*t like the Nth Room happen over and over. He was found guilty for prostitution of a minor, guys. He’s a piece of sh*t but he’s all over TV. Do we really not have any other options? I’m sick of seeing him on the screens!”
- “I want to watch actress Kim Hye Soo’s drama, but he’s in it. I want to watch actress Kim Hee Ae’s drama, but he’s in it. Why is he literally everywhere? Why are producers casting him at all? Does he get paid like minimum wage or something? Is that why? I simply don’t get it…”
- “Wow, look how he’s fooling around with his hoobae actors and actresses… The audacity of this man! Does he not know shame? It’s not like he’s an incredible actor either. I can’t ever understand what he’s saying. He mumbles… Even in the behind-the-scenes video!”
- “Lee Kyung Young again…? I really don’t want to see his shameless face on TV anymore. Who keeps giving him roles?”
- “Do Korean drama producers not know how to shoot a series without Lee Kyung Young or something? What, is he so affordable that he absolutely must be cast or something? What the f*ck is the reason?”
- “Every time Lee Kyung Young is on camera, I lose focus… You know, I bet he has dirty intentions toward that young actress who plays his daughter in the show. I can sense it. It’s disgusting. Why do I have to keep seeing this criminal’s face on TV? I don’t want to see him anymore, he’s filthy. And it’s not like his acting is any good. Who keeps casting him? Is it because the production team is as nasty as Lee Kyung Young himself?”
Lee Kyung Young has not, as he usually does not, responded to the criticism. In the past, however, he insisted that he had been “found innocent” of the whole allegation, as based on only the first part of his entire verdict. Viewers remain bothered by his “manipulative stance” and argue that he “should not be cast by production teams.”