Lee Sun Kyun, a celebrated actor with over 20 years in the industry, was found deceased in his car on the 27th. Having debuted in 2001 with MBC’s Lovers, he went through a period of obscurity before achieving success with hits like Coffee Prince, Pasta, and Golden Time. His career highlight included walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards in 2019 for the movie Parasite (Director Bong Joon Ho). However, this glory was dimmed by drug use allegations that emerged in October. There have been concerns about the police investigation process being excessively leaked to the media.
According to police authorities, Lee Sun Kyun was discovered unconscious around 10:30 AM in a car parked near a park in Jongno-gu, Seoul. Fire officials stated he was already deceased when found. The actor’s manager, unable to reach him, found a note resembling a suicide letter and reported it to the police.
People have expressed their sorrow over the news with comments like, “The pain his family experienced must’ve taken a toll on him,” “No one deserves to die,” “He should’ve just paid for his crimes,” and “Given how exposed this whole case was, I understand his actions.”
The Parasite star shocked the public when he was charged with drug use at the peak of his career. He denied the allegations in three police interrogations, claiming he was unaware of taking drugs. His legal representative had even submitted a request for a lie detector test the day before his death. Neither the police’s preliminary drug test nor the National Forensic Service’s detailed examination found evidence of drug use.
The leak of police investigation details to the media led to a trial by public opinion. G-Dragon, whose name appeared in this drug case alongside Lee Sun Kyun and was recently cleared of charges, also suffered from false reports and speculative coverage. Cultural critic Jeong Deok Hyun commented, “While it’s the media’s role to deliver facts, real-time reporting of every minor detail is excessive,” adding, “We have to avoid forming public opinion at the level of killing a person’s character, regardless of the allegations raised.”
Criticism has grown against the YouTube channel “Garo Sero Institute,” which released Lee Sun Kyun’s phone recordings on the 26th, for revealing personal information that may have led to his death. The video includes conversations with a nightclub manager implicated in the actor’s marijuana and ketamine use.
Comments on the video include, “Take down the video,” “Truly devilish,” “You guys pushed a man to his death,” and “What right does Garo Sero Institute have to expose this?”