Ji Chang Wook, the famous actor known for dramas such as ‘The K2’ and who now gained more popularity for his recent appearance in Welcome To Samdalri, has faced severe criticism and controversy surrounding his behind-the-scenes content video after being released from the popular drama on JTBC during the Lunar New Year.
As of February 10th, Ji Chang Wook has been in the hot seat after cutscenes revealed the actor was seen smoking indoors while rehearsing in a room with actors Shin Hye Sun, Lee Jae Won, Bae Myung Jin, and more of the cast and crew.
At first, bewildered fans argued he was simply holding something else or that it was mistaken. However, upon further examination, it was revealed to be an electronic cigarette. Although people often smoke them indoors, it is considered not only improper etiquette to those around Ji Chang Wook but also prohibited in certain indoor spaces. Now fans are demanding an apology and even asking that Ji Chang Wook pay a fine for his lack of consideration and inappropriate behavior.
In the past many celebrities, such as NCT’s Haechan who was caught smoking during NCT127’s dance practice and EXO’s D.O, have faced harsh criticism, paid fines, and received backlash from viewers after being caught smoking indoors. Fans commented, “Even if it is a vape, he shouldn’t smoke indoors,” and “He should pay for his crime and pay the fines.” Other fans speculated if the staff never questioned Ji Chang Wook because he was the lead character and a senior actor. Some even claim it to be an abuse of power.
Upon hearing viewers’ outcries, JTBC took down the video and Ji Chang Wook’s agency, Spring Company, released an official apology. “We apologize to everyone who felt uncomfortable with the behavior of actor Ji Chang Wook in the drama-making content video released of ‘Welcome To Samdalri’ on January 26th. Actor Ji Chang Wook acknowledges his inappropriate behavior and is sorry for disappointing many. We once again deeply apologize to those who encountered the content, to the staff on-site, to the fellow cast members, and to the viewers who love our work and drama.”
Since then, the controversy has sparked debate if this sort of behavior is actually a big deal and whether celebrities should face equal punishment or if fans are simply going overboard and making the situation bigger than it is. A battle between manners, culture, and what’s right or wrong has left fans arguing in the comments. Further examination even showed other videos of behind-the-scenes content resurrected and the You Were A Director director Jang Hang-jun himself was seen smoking indoors, too. However, it was soon edited out in order to prevent further escalation of an already serious situation.
What do you think of the controversy? Should idols and actors be prohibited from smoking to begin with because of their image? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!