Ji Soo apologises for school bullying, may be replaced in K-drama

An online petition for Ji Soo's removal from his current drama has already garnered more than 5,500 signatures.
An online petition for Ji Soo's removal from his current drama has already garnered more than 5,500 signatures.PHOTO: ACTOR_JISOO/INSTAGRAM

K-drama actor Ji Soo, 27, the latest South Korean celebrity to be accused in a wave of bullying allegations that has rocked the industry, has apologised.

In a long handwritten note posted on Instagram on March 4, he wrote: "I sincerely apologise to the people who suffered because of me. There is no excuse for my past misconduct. They were things that cannot be forgiven."

His apology came in the wake of allegations in the past week from three anonymous sources who claimed to have been in school with him when they were teens.

They had detailed numerous incidents of verbal and physical abuse, and sexual harassment, with one of them calling him a "delinquent" who roamed the school like a "king" and saying there were many more alleged victims who had not spoken up.

One of his alleged targets wrote: "The word 'bullying' is not enough to describe everything. I was a victim of all kinds of school violence like being made an outcast, violence, blackmailing, insults and abusive language."

Another former schoolmate said he was traumatised by his experiences, adding: "When I first saw him on TV after he debuted, I thought he wouldn't last long, but I was wrong. It was really shocking seeing his face on the first floor of department stores, in Olive Young (a health and beauty chain store), in dramas and movies, but most crucially, it was shocking to hear middle school girls talking about him, saying they are his fans."

A few hours after Ji Soo's apology on Thursday, filming was halted on the K-drama that he is currently starring in.

River Where The Moon Rises is a period drama and only six out of 20 episodes have been aired so far, although 18 episodes have reportedly been filmed already.

The production company is still in discussions on whether to replace him, but an online petition for his removal has already garnered more than 5,500 signatures on Thursday, according to South Korean entertainment news portal Koreaboo.

In Ji Soo's apology, he said: "I want to express my deep atonement to the people who must have suffered for a long time while watching me go about my work as an actor, and I will reflect on and repent my past, which can never be washed away, for the rest of my life."

He also addressed the cast and crew of River Where The Moon Rises. "Upon my knees, I sincerely apologise to everyone who has been hurt by me."

However, this seemed to be too little too late for at least one of his alleged victims.

"What I want is not compensation or an apology. Everything has already happened and I don't need an apology about something that cannot be reverted. And I don't believe the apology would be sincere," he wrote.

Addressing Ji Soo by name, he added: "If acting is what you want to do, do it. But keep the title of 'school violence perpetrator' in front of your name forever in your heart. Like me, the countless number of people you bullied will never forget that memory."