In South Korea (or any East Asian country for that matter), people who are considered popular, whether it be through entertainment, the Hallyu Wave, business, or any other venture, take their images seriously. This makes a lot of sense, given the fact honorifics are far more important in South Korea than any other Asian country, even more so than Japan.
One of the many things popular Koreans must do to keep their image intact is to avoid scandals. In South Korea, an image violation may not necessarily mean an actual transgression — such as Yoon Eun Hye being accused of plagiarism, Song Hye Kyo being accused of tax evasion or Park Bom being accused of trafficking illegal drugs. Scandals can arise simply by who is seen with who. Needless to say, Koreans are often vocal towards scandals.
With that in mind, Koreans should have given Kwanghee of Infinite Challenge a piece of their collective minds when a “scandal” of his was revealed. However, nobody seemed to care which prompted Yoo Jae Suk to tease him relentlessly.
Yoo Jae Suk teased Kwanghee on his “scandal” on the July 23 episode of Infinity Challenge, as reported by Korean news outlet Naver. During the continuation of the “Relay Toon” series in which team members are paired with webtoon artists to make their own comic, Jae Suk mentioned Kwanghee’s “scandal” where the other cast members tricked Kwanghee into confessing he was the Infinity Challege cast member spotted with a woman in his car in Apgujeong.
“Infinity Challenge and its viewers have a close relationship but no one gave a single bit of interest towards Kwanghee’s scandal. What’s scarier is that his agency moved quickly to deny it, but no one talked about the scandal.”
Yoo Jae Suk’s fellow Infinity Challenge and Running Man cast member Haha even helped, tag-teaming Kwanghee when he said, “It didn’t become an issue at all.”
For those who do not follow Infinity Challenge and have no idea what is going on, the aforementioned “scandal” was brought up during a past episode of Infinity Challege that aired on July 9. It was on that episode Yoo Jae Suk delivered the “shocking news” that one of the cast members had a new girlfriend. Jae Suk then detailed the news, saying the unmentioned Infinity Challenge cast member was seen in the Seoul neighborhood of Apgujeong with a woman in his car. Given that Kwanghee is the only cast member who is not married, the others automatically singled him out.
Kwanghee denied the rumors but was forced to admit he was in Apgujeong. Kwanghee is then tricked into a “confession” when he denies that anyone was sitting in the front seat of his car causing the others to think he and his alleged girlfriend was sitting in the back seat instead. This causes the Infinity Challenge cast members to lift Kwanghee in the air and congratulate him on his new girlfriend.
However, the “scandal” announced on Infinity Challenge was fake and was made for entertainment purposes. Kwanghee’s agency, Star Empire Entertainment, verified this in a statement to OSEN.
“It was all done to make the broadcast more entertaining. Kwanghee is currently not dating. He is currently working hard on ‘Infinite Challenge’ but still has room to improve. It’s not a time for dating right now, but working harder.”
Still, the fact nobody cared about Kwanghee’s fake scandal was enough for the others to poke fun at him. Besides, if the producers of Infinity Challenge really wanted a reaction from their viewers, they would have made it that Yoo Jae Suk (the Nation’s Master of Ceremonies) was the one seen with a woman in his car who wasn’t his wife.
Infinity Challenge airs every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). For those who don’t have access to Korean channels, it can be viewed for free, with ads, on DramaFever and Viki.
[Image via Running Man Fan Club]