Earlier on December 27th, Lee Sun-kyun was found dead in his car at a park in Jongno-gu, Seoul. After the news was reported, many colleagues of Lee Sun-kyun paid tribute to the late actor through SNS.
Lyricist and broadcaster Kim Eana posted on her personal account, saying “I listened to the leaked recording from an unknown source, plugged in my earphones to secretly listen to them, watched gossip content that popped up as related videos, clicked on articles with provocative titles just to quickly skim through them, and showed a regretful expression when someone casually said ‘Did you see the article?’ as a topic for conversations”, adding “After hearing my husband say, ‘Seems like they’re leaking personal matters to prevent the investigation from looking like a failure’, I immediately thought ‘That’s too bad’. Even after that, I still found myself looking through those articles and exclaiming to myself, ‘They’re really tarnishing one’s reputation. This is severe”.
She added, “Due to my behaviors, I think I don’t have the right to express condolences. I can’t help but think that I’m part of the cowardly people, not those malicious commenters. I just want to become a better person somehow”.
Kim Eana faced a backlash as soon as it was posted. Beyond a tribute, the post actually contained vague expressions criticizing the public. It was her attitude of blaming others for Lee Sun-kyun’s death that caused controversy.
Encountering Kim Eana’s post, a netizen said, “Seems like this post is not to express condolences to Lee Sun-kyun and his family, but rather an attempt to criticize the public under the guise of a post of self-reflection. How many people would listen to the recording secretly with earphones on? In my case, I only read the transcript while watching the news”. Other netizens added, “People are not as interested in celebrity gossip as you think. They only take a quick look at the news and that’s it. There aren’t many people who did the same thing as you, so reflect on that alone in your heart”, “Ironically, I only knew about the recording through this post”, “If you want to mourn him, just do it quietly without making posts like this”, etc.
Another celebrity who suffered criticism is Lee Ji-hoon. Following the report of Lee Sun-kyun’s death, Lee Ji-hoon wrote on his social media, saying “That’s confusing and scary. The words of people who have never experienced the same thing or been in the same position, are they really fair? News, YouTube, exaggerated rumors, netizens, witch hunts… who is judging whom? They are living well without feeling ashamed, right? Stop spreading hate”. As netizens flocked to his account and poured critical opinions, the actor deleted the post within a few hours.
In addition, singer Kim Song wrote, “Crowd opinion is the worst thing. This country and this society are leading people towards deaths, kills, and revives.”. Actress Soo-hyun said, “Everyone deserves to be forgiven for their mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance…”, while former 4Minute member Nam Ji-hyun expressed her thoughts, saying “Only now do I feel the unfairness and frustration. I’m reminded once again not to judge things based on rumors or criticize anyone hastily.”
Those celebrities were pointed out to have shown critical stances towards the public rather than expressing their condolences to the deceased. Controversy and discussions over their posts are still going on in online communities.