Companies resume ads featuring Kim Seon-ho after controversy

Two companies in South Korea have resumed showing advertisements featuring embattled Korean actor and “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” star Kim Seon-ho.

Last Oct. 17, a woman posted on the Korean website Pann Nate last Oct. 17 accusing “popular actor ‘K,’” who turned out to be Kim Seon-ho, of forcing her to abort their baby under the false pretense of marriage and living together.

Kim Seon-ho's ads for a face mask and camera have been reuploaded online (Miima Mask, screenshot from Canon Korea video)

The woman was Kim Seon-ho’s former girlfriend, who said she and the actor started their relationship in early 2020 and ended in May 2021.

With no immediate response from Kim Seon-ho and his agency, Salt Entertainment, companies which contracted the actor to endorse their products deleted their ads that featured him and turned YouTube videos into private.

Kim Seon-ho has signed as an advertising model for 10 brands such as Miima Mask, Canon Korea, Domino’s Pizza-Korea, 11th Street online shopping, cosmetic line La Roche-Posay, Shinhan My Car and Food Bucket.

Salt Entertainment issued a statement on Oct. 19 to say that it was verifying the facts surrounding the woman’s post while Kim Seon-ho issued his statement on Oct. 20 and apologized to her former girlfriend and to the public.

On Oct. 20, the woman updated her online post to say that Kim Seon-ho directly apologized to her, saying, “I am sorry that my writing has caused unintentional damage to many people. There was a time when both he and I truly loved each other but I also feel bad to see him collapse in an instant due to some of my extreme posts. I received an apology from him and it seems that there was a misunderstanding between us.”

On Oct. 26, Korean media outlet Dispatch published a story in which several people defended Kim Seon-ho and refuted the claims of his former girlfriend.

In the report, the woman informed Kim Seon-ho that she was pregnant on July 24, 2020 and mutually agreed for her to have an abortion on July 27, 2020.

Kim Seon-ho’s best friend said Kim Seon-ho told her the baby was a blessing and comforted her. After the abortion, Kim Seon-ho cooked seaweed soup for her for two weeks.

Contrary to her claims, according to her friend, Kim Seon-ho introduced her to his parents, she had a meal with them and slept at his parents’ house. She stayed close to his parents and Kim Seon-ho tried to win her trust. He also got a dog for her so she would not be lonely, the report added.

Brands reupload ads with Kim Seon-ho

After the Dispatch report came out, brands Miima Mask and Canon Korea re-uploaded their ads featuring Kim Seon-ho on YouTube

Kim Hee-seong, the CEO of Miima Mask, which makes KF94 and KF80 masks, spoke to Korean media outlet EDaily about the controversy involving Kim Seon-ho and explained the company’s actions.

He said when Kim Seon-ho’s controversy became an issue, one side of the story came out “and I didn't think it was something to be judged hastily. I was in a position to wait until I heard the agency’s position."

"When Kim Seon-ho acknowledged and apologized after the official position of the agency came out, I decided to take down the advertisement from the standpoint of maintaining a neutral stance,” he said.

Kim Hee-seong added, “We took down the advertisement as a sign that we were taking a neutral position as an advertiser rather than as an individual.”

"I thought it was great courage for Kim Seon-ho to humbly admit and reflect on his mistakes. I thought it was a matter between lovers, and I thought it was important not to think biasedly but to embrace Kim Sun-ho's apology,” he added.

He said “the choice to resume the advertisement in which Kim Seon-ho appeared is a loss from the brand’s point of view but I do not intend to terminate the contract.”

“It is a lie to say that there is no damage after the issue occurred. I saw Kim's sincerity while filming the advertisement, and I personally feel sorry for him," he added.