Han Ye Seul Incident Ends On A Lackluster Note
‘A minimum of a billion won to perhaps a maximum of 30 billion won.’ Yet, it’s been two weeks since Spy Myeongwol ended, and there are no reports of any more strife.
Those were the numbers being tossed around after KBS threatened to sue Han Ye Seul for her unprecedented walkout on set. But though the actress returned to the drama, amid much controversy, because she was still responsible for at least one episode’s cancellation, many believed that her return wouldn’t be enough to prevent a lawsuit.
When Han Ye Seul up and left her drama, and even the country, missing her scheduled shootings for two days, Spy Myeongwol’s production company, Lee Kim Production stated that if Han did not return, she would be charged with a compensation suit amounting to billions of won.
Han eventually returned on August 17, avoiding the worst case scenario, but the drama still had to replace a scheduled episode with a special, which simply aired a compilation of old footage. It seemed as if a lawsuit would be inevitable, even with Han’s heartfelt apology.
Yet, it’s been two weeks since Spy Myeongwol ended, and there are no reports of any more strife.
But there was no lawsuit, reportedly because Spy Myeongwol was still on air, and the network didn’t want to stir up any more controversy. At this, some naturally expected the lawsuit to happen after the drama finished – but KBS was still silent. Even the production company that had been so adamant about getting compensation, didn’t come out to point any fingers.
An official from the production company said that he “did not hear anything about a lawsuit taking place.” Another high-level official said shortly, “There is nothing planned.”
A subcontracted production official said, “If the production company had done us harm on purpose we could file a compensation suit against it, but this was a very unique case. It’s frustrating but we can’t say that the production company deliberately did us harm. It’s hard for an outside company to ask for compensation from the person herself (Han Ye Seul) if the production company does not step forward.”
The same goes for her commercial advertisements. Companies who had hired Han Ye Seul as the face of their bands, such as Caffé Bene, VOV Cosmetics, LG Unicharm Body Fit, Korea Yakult R&B, Bausch Lomb Naturelle Circle Lens were all hit by the incident and had to deal with damage to their brand’s image.
Yet those companies are also not filing any lawsuits, because they believe that ugly legal battles wouldn’t do much good for their images as well.
An advertising industry official stated, “They decided that any involvement in the aftermath, including filing lawsuits, would only bring on more damage. Stepping out in this situation could only do harm to the company’s image.”
While the situation initially seemed as if it would spiral out of control, the fact that it didn’t is reassuring and indicates that perhaps the industry and its people are handling controversies and unexpected dilemmas in a mature fashion.
Yet, there’s also the suggestion that instead of dealing with problems, the industry is just choosing to sweep things under the rug. Even Han, who reasoned that the drama’s hours and requirements were too overbearing and said that she wanted to see a change, seems to have fallen silent.
While a lawsuit may not be the solution, for the entire scandal to peter out with no significant changes seems to be a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
Photo credit: Sidus HQ, Kim Byung Kwan