Lawyer says actor Kim Seon-ho, ex-GF can sue each other for damages

A lawyer said Korean actor and “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” Kim Seon-ho and his former girlfriend can sue each other for damages over the abortion and relationship controversy.

On the Korean TV program “Entertainment Company Live” on Oct. 29 on KBS2, lawyer Heo Joo-yeon discussed the possibility of a court battle between Kim Seon-ho and his former girlfriend.

(From top left) Kim Seon-ho's former girlfriend, Kim Seon-ho and lawyer Heo Joo-yeon

The controversy started on Oct. 17 when a woman posted on the Pann Nate website accusing “popular actor ‘K,’” who turned out to be Kim Seon-ho, of forcing her to have an abortion under the pretense of marriage and living together.

On Oct. 20, Kim Seon-ho apologized to his former girlfriend and to the public, saying, “Though we were in a relationship with good feelings to each other, I have hurt her with my carelessness and inconsiderate actions. I would like to apologize in person, but I am currently waiting some time to ask forgiveness. I would like to say sorry with this writing,” the Korea Herald reported.

The woman said she and Kim Seon-ho started their relationship in early 2020 and ended in May 2021. Among her accusations, she said Kim Seon-ho forced her to abort their baby in July 2020 under the pretense that he would marry her and that they would live together.

After her post exploded and Kim Seon-ho issued an apology, she updated her post to say, “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.”

Korean media outlet Dispatch published a story quoting Kim Seon-ho and the woman’s acquaintances. The story stated that the Kim Seon-ho and her former girlfriend mutually agreed to abort their baby on July 27, 2020, three days after she told him about it on July 24.

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.

On the “Entertainment Company Live” show, lawyer Heo Joo-yeon discussed Kim Seon-ho’s criminal liability about abortion and promise of marriage.

“Abortion was ruled inconsistent with the Constitution in 2019, and the crime of adultery under the pretext of marriage was abolished in 2009,” she said.

The lawyer said Kim Seon-ho cannot be punished criminally but there is a possibility that a civil suit can be filed against him.

She cited a recent similar case wherein a person was promised marriage and was asked to have an abortion. The person was awarded 3 million won ($2,550) in damages.

Heo Joo-yeon said if it is proven that Kim Seon-ho had no intention of marrying her former girlfriend and tricked her into getting an abortion, then a claim for damages can be recognized for that.

On the other hand, she said the former girlfriend can be charged with defamation for her online post last Oct. 17. She said defamation may be acknowledged to some extent as the post can be interpreted as personal retaliation or emotional retaliation rather than for public interest.

“According to the Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, etc., it is possible to file a criminal complaint for defamation,” she said.

She added, “If this is recognized, Kim Seon-ho will be able to file a criminal complaint against his ex-girlfriend for defamation.”

In the aftermath of the controversy, Kim Seon-ho was removed from the TV show “2 Days & 1 Night” and was dropped from film projects.

After the Dispatch report was published, two brands endorsed by Kim Seon-ho resumed running their advertisements featuring the actor.