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'Hallyu' Stars Battle False Reports Abroad

2005/08/24 | Permalink | Source

By Han Eun-jung
Staff Reporter

If everything we read in the papers were true, actress Song Hye-kyo would be leading a double life. In one, she makes appearances every so often at press showings of her feature works donning pretty dresses and flashing angelic smiles.

And in the other, she purchases drugs as she clubs with other high-profile male celebrities.

As a result of "hallyu (Korean wave)", the popularity of Korean pop culture abroad, celebrities like Song may enjoy becoming household names all across Asia. However, what comes out of it is not always positive or rewarding, as they may also become the object of malicious rumors and false reports.

Most recently on Aug. 11, the New Hanoi's Internet edition reported that Song "purchased 50 pills believed to be of illegal substance for the purpose of diet at a nightclub in Hong Kong and that South Korean singer Rain and actor Song ll-kook were with her at that time", citing a report made earlier by a Ho Chi Minh-based publication.

Denying that Song Hye-kyo had taken part in any such activity, SidusHQ, the agency representing the "Full House" star, sent a letter last week to the Vietnamese Embassy in Seoul protesting the reports and demanding that the Vietnamese press issue an official apology and publish a correction regarding the false reports. SidusHQ also said that it was ready to take any necessary action if these requests were not met.

Two days later, the Ho Chi Minh Law Newspaper's editor-in-chief apologized in a letter sent to the South Korean Embassy in Vietnam.

According to the paper, when they asked the contributing writer responsible for the story about the source of her information, she mentioned a Taiwanese Web site but was unable to be more specific. The paper added that it has decided to no longer take any contributions from the writer.

Lee Young-ae, whose popularity has surged since the airing of the drama "Jewel in the Palace" -'Dae Jang Geum' in Hong Kong, found her name in reports claiming that she signed a contract for a television ad worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, threefold what a local star would get for an appearance. Lee's management company denied that the actress, currently starring in the film "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", ever demanded or received such a large sum.

According to a story posted on the Chinese portal site Open the link in February, actor Jang Dong-gun coughed up blood in the dubbing stages of Kaige Chen's upcoming movie The Promise because he suffers from an incurable disease. The article, however, failed to disclose what incurable disease the actor was suffering from.

Hong Ui, the actor's spokesperson, announced soon afterward that Jang, who was suffering from a cold at the time, had difficulty dubbing and that the story was simply blown out of proportion.

Singer-turned-actress Jang Nara, who has taken her charm and talent to mainland China and launched a career there, has seen her share of false reports as well.

The Chinese press reported earlier this year that Chang was not the first choice in the casting of "Myonrangsonyo Songonggi", the 2002 SBS miniseries that made Chang the star she is today.

Her agency responded by posting a message on Chang's official Web site saying that the director and writer made up the script with Chang in mind from stage one.

Chang, whose first album released in China sold over 1.2 million copies, is awaiting the fall premiere of two China Central Television (CCTV) dramas: "Yinse Nianhua (Silver Era)" and "Diaoman Gongzhu (Mischievous Princess)".

Articles regarding Chang's frequent appearances before Chinese media cited that Chang was a more affordable deal than other South Korean stars.

Chang's spokesperson, in an interview with Yonhap News Agency, denied this by saying that this was a story deliberately trying to hurt Chang's budding career.

Yoon Dung-ryong, who fronts for DR, the agency representing girl group Baby Vox, says that many celebrities' efforts at restitution are discouraged due to high legal fees and the complicated process.

"But in order for incidents in which celebrities are victimized to be prevented, the demand for apologies, corrections and, if necessary, legal action needs to be taken into consideration", he said.

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