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If you thought Ji Soo's woes over his bullying scandal was over, think again.
According to Korea Boo, the actor and his label KeyEast have been sued by Victory Contents, the production company for the drama River Where the Moon Rises, for 3 billion South Korean won (S$3.6 million) in damages after he dropped out as lead actor and was replaced by actor Na In Woo in the wake of his scandal, which included sexual assault allegations when he was a student.
Victory Contents filed the lawsuit on 1 April with the Seoul Central District Court to recover the damages from additional production costs as the drama had to be reshot.
Since February, a series of celebrity school bullying scandals have rocked South Korea, with allegations of abuse being levelled at K-pop singers, actors, sports stars and other celebrities.
Victory Contents said it suffered damages such as staff expenses, venue and equipment rental fees, appearance fees and production design expenses due to reshooting of the drama. It also cited a decrease in viewership ratings, decrease in expected sales and damage to the company’s image.
At the time of him dropping out, nearly 90% of the drama was already filmed, which meant nearly the entire drama was re-filmed with Na In Woo after Ji Soo was replaced.
Victory said in a statement:
We have filed a compensation suit against KeyEast with the Seoul Central District Court to claim our portion of damages.
As many of you are familiar with this case, this is related to the school violence controversy by KeyEast actor Ji Soo. KeyEast and Ji Soo signed an actor appearance contract with us to appear in River Where The Moon Rises and the drama has received a lot of love from viewers since it began airing on February 15, 2021.
Ji Soo and KeyEast acknowledged his misdeeds, and decided to drop out of River Where The Moon Rises. (This content came from MBC’s show True Story of Exploration).
River Where The Moon Rises was in the process of pre-production and when the school violence controversy surfaced, filming for the drama was nearly complete. However, when the actor was replaced, we had to refilm all of Ji Soo’s scenes. The production cost of this drama was huge, and the amount of additional costs we had to incur was severe due to the re-filming.
We have suffered direct damage due to this, from staff costs, location and equipment fees, appearance fees, art fees, and many more. We have also suffered other serious damage that could affect the us for a long time, such as a decline in viewer ratings, complaints from overseas distributors, a decrease in sales, and damage to the company’s image.
In order to recover these damages as soon as possible and to concentrate on producing good dramas, we tried to negotiate compensation with KeyEast, but were unsuccessful due to the non-cooperation of KeyEast.
In response, KeyEast issued a statement refuting that it was being uncooperative, saying it was consulting closely with Victory Content and TV channel KBS after the controversy involving Ji Soo’s school violence broke out.
“We deeply sympathise with the difficulties faced by the production company and production staff due to sudden replacement of the actor and we have made it clear that we are only willing to take responsibility for the reasonable cost of additional filming for the replacement of Ji Soo,” KeyEast said, adding that it will take more than a month for the final settlement.
KeyEast also said it made sincere efforts to reach an agreement by requesting arbitration from KBS and the drama producers’ association, and that it would do its best to resolve the issue.
River Where the Moon Rises is a 20-episode drama that premiered on 15 February this year and will end on 20 April.
KeyEast has launched investigations over the accusations against Ji Soo by netizens and denied some of them. The actor was put on hiatus and all his activities suspended. Ji Soo has posted a handwritten apology for his actions on Instagram and will be enlisting into the army this year.