Controversial Korean actress Seo Ye-ji, 31, star of “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” won the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards’ Tiktok Popularity Award and her agency said her attendance at the ceremony is under discussion.
Seo Ye-ji was chosen by fans as No. 1 in the Tiktok Popularity Award’s female category with 789,170 votes. “Start-Up” star Kim Seon-ho won the award in the male category with 1.3 million votes.
The 57th Baeksang Arts Awards will be held on May 13 and Goldmedalist, Seo Ye-ji’s agency, told Korean media that there was no final decision yet if she will attend the event. Seo Ye-ji is also nominated for best actress for “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.”
Some Koreans were surprised that she won the popularity award amid the controversies she is facing.
“I bet it’s all the foreign fans who watched ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’ and voted for her without knowing any of her scandals going on,” one commented on an article about her winning, according to Netizen Buzz.
Another posted, “I doubt it’s actually because she’s popular. The votes are probably half from foreigners who have no idea what’s going on and half from people who are trying to see if she’ll be a no-show at the Baeksang too.”
Seo Ye-ji has been out of the public eye since last month after Korean entertainment news site Dispatch published a report on April 12 that accused her of manipulating and controlling actor and former boyfriend Kim Jung-hyun when he was filming the drama “Time” in 2018.
The news article stated that she told Kim Jung-hyun, who was her boyfriend at the time, not to film scenes involving “skinship,” or physical contact, and romance with her co-star Seohyun, member of K-pop group Girls’ Generation, and to change the script.
In one of their KakaoTalk message exchanges, Kim Jung-hyun told Seo Ye-ji, “I keep reading the script. I’m not doing anything else.”
“Correct it well so there is no romance. You are happy because of me. So make me happier,” Seo Ye-ji told the actor. The report stated that from episodes 5 to 12 of “Time,” the script had 13 skinship scenes but none of them made it to the airing.
As a result, she did not attend the press conference and media presentation for her movie “Recalled” that was held on April 13.
In addition, other accusations were hurled against her including mistreatment of staff, school violence and lying about her academic background.
In a statement issued by Goldmedalist regarding the Dispatch report, Seo Ye-ji admitted that she and Kim Jung-hyun became lovers. Seo Ye-ji also refuted the allegations and blamed Kim Jung-hyun.
“As a result of checking with Kim Jung-hyun, it was clearly confirmed that the drama-related controversy was not caused by Seo Ye-ji, and he expressed his intention to issue his position about it,” said Goldmedalist.
About the issue that Seo Ye-ji manipulated Kim Jung-hyun during the filming of “Time,” Goldmedalist said, “It is hard to understand through common sense the controversial report that the main actor of the drama would act as he is told by someone without his own free will. It is practically impossible for an actor to act and film without any will.”
Regarding the published KakaoTalk messages between Seo Ye-ji and Kim Jung-hyun, the agency said, “It was not shown in the released conversation but there was a conversation that Kim Jung-hyun also asked Seo Ye-ji, who was filming another drama, not to film kiss scenes etc. In response, Seo Ye-ji told him, ‘Then you don’t either’ as part of conversations between lovers showing jealousy about skinship with others.”
Goldmedalist described it as mere “lovers’ quarrel.”
“This can be seen as a common lovers’ quarrel between actors who are lovers in the industry. However, all actors film normally, setting aside their lovers’ quarrel. We think Kim Jung-hyun must have had other inevitable personal circumstances too,” it said.
With the controversies, Seo Ye-ji faced backlash from companies whose products she has endorsed including a health care supplement, face mask, cosmetics and eyewear. The companies either deleted her ad photos or turned YouTube videos featuring her to private.
Recently, Goldmedalist and CJ ENM announced that Seo Ye-ji decided not to star in the drama “Island” and the production crew is finding her replacement.