Just right after the finale of the well-loved K-drama Hometown Cha Cha Cha, its male lead Kim Seon Ho got tangled up in a scandal that shocked fans and general viewers alike.
Rumors about gaslighting and forced abortion — which started with an anonymous post in a forum — tarnished the actor’s pristine “good boy” image overnight, cutting the celebration of his most recent drama’s success short.
In a span of a week, fans who closely followed the controversy were faced with one nerve-wracking report after another. On Tuesday, two days after the anonymous post was made public, Kim Seon Ho’s agency SALT Entertainment issued a statement saying they were looking into the matter, raising more suspicion about the degree of truth that the personal account of the poster held. Then on Wednesday morning, the actor made a public apology and admitted that he was, indeed, in a relationship previously and, without going into detail, that he hurt his ex-girlfriend due to his “carelessness and inconsiderate actions.”
The fans did not take the news lightly, resulting in an online witchhunt that revealed the identity of the actor’s ex-girlfriend. On the same day, the ex-girlfriend’s attorneys announced that she would be taking legal action against individuals invading her privacy and spreading false information about her. She eventually took down her original post and apologized for unintentionally hurting many people with what she wrote. She also claimed to have received a sincere apology from Kim Seon Ho, which she accepted, further stating that there are parts in her tell-all that were a misunderstanding and that she wished their story wouldn’t be exaggerated anymore.
While both parties seem intent to resolve things under wraps now, fans are left divided on the matter—how do you deal with a rollercoaster of an exposé involving someone you admire?
Here, we dive deep into some coping strategies for when your favorite celebrity’s dirty laundry gets exposed.
Stick to the facts!
Along with the controversy, many theories and rumors will surface—whether good or bad, take everything with a grain of salt, and consume updates coming directly from the artist, their agency, the other party, and reputable media outlets only.
This is especially tricky when you are following a celebrity from a country speaking a language you’re not fluent in. In this case, strictly source translations from official news portals, professional translators, or someone you know with native proficiency in the language who can translate pieces of information for you.
Don’t participate in clearing searches.
When you’re a die-hard fan of someone getting some real bad PR, it can be hard to accept that they’re not the person you thought they were. But don’t attempt to reinforce the image of them that you used to have in mind by clearing searches. You’ve probably seen this in your timelines already — fans drowning out important information or negative news with repetitive posts expressing overly positive, cringe-inducing, almost toxic, statements. This doesn’t help anyone — not even fans. You are not part of your fave’s PR team. Leave the damage control strategies to them.
Don’t blame the victim.
Assuming there is a victim involved, do not blame them for your fave being exposed. For a while, they had been carrying a heavy burden that they had to unload. Saying hurtful things towards them will only lead to increased and unnecessary suffering for them.
When they claim to have been wronged, you are not in a place to invalidate their feelings. Instead, try to see where they are coming from and why they said the things they said. After all, sympathy and compassion don’t cost a thing.
Review your values.
We all have values that we hold dear. When your idol gets embroiled in something so controversial that it shakes your personal beliefs, you might be tempted to let things slide because, well, you like them — no, heck, you love them!
But take some time to think things through. Ask yourself if the gravity of their actions is something you will let others get away with or not. Put yourself in the shoes of the victim — how would you feel if you were in their place? You’d most likely feel hurt, too. (Told ya — don’t blame the victim.)
Not to drop the person under fire like a hot potato, but taking a look back at your values will give you a clearer view of the issue and help you set that much-needed distance.
Once you’ve made a decision, don’t urge others to take the same stand as yours. Opting to continue supporting an artist or not after a controversy is a personal choice one makes and not something you should meddle with.
Seek the opinion of a non-fan, if possible.
Say you really are having a hard time making sense out of everything that’s happening, talk it out with someone (ideally, a non-fan) you truly trust, and who won’t judge you for your thoughts. Since they don’t have any emotional ties to the issue, they could give some valuable insight that you are not able to see at the moment. They can also provide you with the comfort you oh-so need and deserve.
It’s a lot to take in — finding out that a celebrity you admire did something undesirable.
Personally, I do not consider myself a fan of Kim Seon Ho. However, as someone who enjoyed “HomCha” immensely — and I say this with all my heart — the news affected me more than I expected it would. Many of my friends (gosh, even my mom and aunt) are also fans of the actor, and they were in a mess of emotions — anger, disgust, disappointment — as well. Completely understandable. The issue literally came out of nowhere while we were raving about the recently-concluded “healing” rom-com we tuned in to for eight weeks!
It’s been a stressful time for all of us, and the best thing we could do was try to discuss the issue objectively among ourselves, take a step back from all the brouhaha, and let the issue run its course, whilst ensuring that we’re well-hydrated, eating our meals, and getting enough sleep.
Remember, no celebrity scandal is ever worth your health and wellbeing.
Don’t perpetuate cancel culture.
Think your fave is problematic? Well, cancel culture, in itself, is problematic, too!
Let’s get real here — all of us are problematic in somebody else’s eyes and yet, none of us wants to be canceled.
So no matter how enraged or dismayed you are, hold yourself back not only from saying anything ill about the victim but also about the person being accused, since there is also always a possibility that they could turn out to be innocent in the end or just partly involved. In fact, there’s even a probability that the issue isn’t as big as it was projected to be!
Ever heard of media play? Oh, the media love picking juicy details in a story and turning these into the focal point of their reports, sometimes, even distorting the original information in the process to incite strong emotions.
This is why it’s not smart to be too quick to cancel someone. As cliché as this may sound, we are only human and we are bound to make mistakes and bad decisions in our lives. Celebrities and other public figures just have the misfortune of being famous, thus being exposed on a larger scale.
Today’s cancel culture leaves little room for forgiveness in a world where personal growth should be encouraged and recognized.
To prevent disappointments and heartbreaks in the future, learn to detach yourself from your favorite celebrities.
Not gonna lie — this is pretty difficult to do, but you can start with acknowledging the fact that the personas you see on-cam, the front that your faves put up as professionals, may not be who they really are at home, or when they’re in the company of friends, family, or their partners. In short, even with much of their lives publicized, you do not know the real them. They are still complete strangers who are just living their lives… and you should, too.
Have you ever felt hurt by revelations about a celebrity you looked up to? How did you deal with it? Share your experience with us in the comments!