Korean Broadcasting System or KBS issued a statement yesterday on March 5th, 2021 announcing actor Jisoo‘s exit from the cast of ongoing historical drama, ‘River Where The Moon Rises‘ following the allegations that have emerged against him. KBS has also decided to forgo reruns of the drama which were to be broadcasted this week (the drama has a Monday-Tuesday time slot). Episodes 1 to 6 have already aired and the upcoming episodes – 7 and 8, will be highly edited to cut Jisoo’s scenes as much as possible.
Actor Na In-Woo (recent work – Mr. Queen) will be replacing Jisoo in the drama from episode 9 onwards and the filming for the upcoming episodes is being rescheduled. KBS has deeply apologized, stating that they have been thorough with all the options – even considered discontinuing the drama but that would mean belittling the hard work of the staff, crew, cast, and the broadcasters and disregarding the love and support fans have shown to the show.
Series Of Developments
Earlier this week, on 2nd March, an anonymous post on an online South Korean forum surfaced to the spotlight, stating that Jisoo was a preparator of middle school violence. The accuser claimed to be a classmate of the actor Jisoo (Kim Ji-Soo) during his middle school years (2006-2008) and went into details of the coercion and bullying that they had received through Jisoo and his friends. Following this post, two more netizens accused Jisoo, one for bullying and another for sexual harassment.
In response to the accusations, KeyEast Entertainment (Jisoo’s agency), released their first statement on March 3rd saying that since a long time has passed (since then), they would look into the matter carefully. They had also asked for the owners of the post to contact them directly to resolve the matter, apologizing for the concerns of the fans.
The very next day, on 4th March, Jisoo personally apologized to his fans and supporters by posting a handwritten letter on his Instagram account. In the letter, he sincerely asked for forgiveness as there was no excuse for his behavior in the past. He said he had always felt guilty for it and regrets his actions, offering reparations to those who have been wronged by him. He also agonized over the setbacks of the drama, ‘River Where The Moon Rises’ – apologizing to the cast, crew, and the broadcasting staff, hoping that the drama will run without any harm caused due to him.
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KeyEast released their second statement on March 5th announcing that they checked with Jisoo – “He is conscious of a few of the allegations while others are severely warped”. Hence the agency took its time to inspect everything carefully. To avoid any further harm to the victims and the show (also since Jisoo had himself apologized), the agency asked for cooperation from the public. They had confirmed that the sexual harassment allegations are completely false, asking the fans as well as the media to not entertain one-sided claims. Jisoo had been contacting the school violence victims directly for their forgiveness. They also declared that he would halt all his activities as an actor to repent on his mistakes, leading to his departure from the cast of ‘River Where The Moon Rises’.
Fans have reacted to the matter as well:
It sucks to see the actors we supported turned out to be disgusting persons.
My heart goes to all the victims who suffered because of Jisoo. Just thinking about the trauma he caused them breaks my heart. I hope they can get the justice they deserve.
— kdrama tweets (@iconickdramas) March 4, 2021
Not me waiting for years to see Ji Soo as the main lead just for him to be accused of bullying and now they want to replace him in the drama #RiverWhereTheMoonRises #jisooactor pic.twitter.com/DwQljZkzHd
— kei (@bookspy007) March 4, 2021
kinda tired seeing people defending Jisoo like just because he apologized, it's enough?!?
you people defending him for his actions are worse than him. imagine the trauma that the victims have to go through while the bully is out there living his life as an actor. what a shame. pic.twitter.com/e43EoNdapx
— ً (@kdramawrId) March 4, 2021
Here's hoping that he does his reflecting sincerely, and translates it into reparations towards the people he had hurt, and helping the community heal and deal with #bullying. #jisooactor 🙏 https://t.co/9Znbzcyci1
— The Sassy Scribbler (@Sassy_Scribbler) March 4, 2021
According to South Korean news agency YTN, there are also reports of Jisoo enlisting in the military by October 2021 but KeyEast hasn’t confirmed it yet.
Update: KeyEast has confirmed Jisoo’s enlistment in October 2021, insisting that the enlistment is not related to this particular situation as his draft had arrived in December 2020. He will be serving as a public service worker.
The aftermath of the situation had led KBS to change their lead cast. The staff and the cast and crew are now working hard to adapt to the situation, so they hope that the show runs further without a hitch.