Celebrity News
Drug scandal gets Joo Ji-hoon banned from KBS
by | May 6, 2009 | 99 Comments

After actor Joo Ji-hoon (Antique, Goong) was named in the recent drug scandal for recreational drug use of ecstasy and ketamine (which got the main supplier, actress Yoon Seol-hee, tossed into jail along with her financial enabler Yeh Hak-young), Joo was the center of the ensuing media frenzy. He was dropped from his latest drama and had his birthday fanmeeting in Japan canceled.

Now Joo, who may face trial for his drug use, has been banned indefinitely from appearing on broadcast station KBS “until his [legal] punishment is decided.” Naturally, this also applies to Yoon Seol-hee and Yeh Hak-young, but I think they have bigger things to worry about, such as going away to prison for many, many years for drug trafficking.

This is not the first time an entertainer has been banned because of a drug scandal; for instance, singer Jeon In-kwon and actress Go Ho-kyung received similar punishments for marijuana use last year and in 2006.

Furthermore, KBS is also banning actor Na Han-il, but his crime is a white-collar matter. Na, who was appearing on the SBS historical drama Ja Myung Go, was caught taking illegal loans of more than 10 billion won and was also suspected of bribery.

MBC and SBS are expected to follow suit with similar decisions.

Via Chosun, OSEN, Star News


99 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. zero2303

    Looks like acting career is finished for him now, maybe he is still modelling.

    JJH should know the heavy consequences for drug use unless he is just too dumb..

  2. xiaoSxin

    this is just sad.. i love Joo Ji Hoon!

    Joo Ji Hoon I hope this is just a phase that you would eventually be able to overcome. I am still hoping for the good side of you to return. Hopefully the entertainment industry would not punish you for the for good. I am praying that after a few or several years of being in the dark, you can still come back, as a stronger and a better person and actor.

  3. Miki

    Well then, seems his slow but sure termination in the entertaining industry continues…

  4. dangermousie

    I would imagine when hiring someone for a job the only pertinent question is whether that person is capable of performing it. If they violated the law, it’s law enforcement’s headache to deal with that part of their life. If they are personally jerks, it’s relevant to their family and friends. None of that should have anything to do whether they can do on screen.

    I have never understood why a celebrity’s personal life and career are so connected in Asia (much more so than in the US). If Joo Ji-Hoon or the rest are drug users/sellers/white collar criminals/or even murderers what does it have with their acting skills (or singing/dancing/etc skills)? Shouldn’t KBS bigwigs hire or not hire them based on those skills? I can see not wanting to use JJH or whoever because people won’t watch him because of the scandal (and I always thought the whole all-encompassing idol phenomenon with its unrealistic views of celebs weird, but that’s a separate rant), but banning seems a bizarre action.

    /rant over.

  5. Jean

    No excuse for using drugs, as an adult, I know. As a celeb, you want it or not, you become an idol and a role model for many.

    But I have sympathy on Joo. Just a human being and we all sometimes get tempted, don’t we and we fail ourselves often too… I hope he can be given a second chance and he will need to work hard for this. (But don’t exploit him when the time come.)

    KBS’s ban statement seems to be leaving a tiny crack opened for Joo. “Until his punishment is decided.” Does that mean when the legal punishment is served, he may get a second chance – if his fans are still around?

  6. travp16

    I love him!! No!! Well..no one is perfect. At least he is not strung out. i still support you , but if you had killed a person, that would be a completely different matter.

  7. javabeans

    You know, I actually don’t think his career is OVER-over, like, forever. Times are changing and the public’s views on recreational drug use aren’t what they were a decade ago. Obviously they’re still strict, but I’m not sure it means he’s never going to be onscreen again. But he’s surely not coming back anytime SOON — I think if he ever comes back, it won’t be till after many people have forgotten this whole thing to begin with. Personally, I’d bet on five or more years?

    But his career as he knew it — ever-climbing, A-list, top Hallyu — is over.

  8. MEIKO**** ^-^

    WWAaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! *bawling*

    I will never ever see JJH again…… 5 or more years?! Waaahhhh!!! too long!!!!!

    Joo Ji Hoon… you’re such…*%#dork! Why didnt you just drank yourself to unconsciousness!!!!

    MAkes me want to stride down to those so-called friends of his (who introduced him to the little Lucifers) and give them my blackbelt martial arts kicks and punches!!!GGrrrrr!!!!!!


    Is there a possibility of him going to prison? *sniff, sniff, tears rolling down*

    I will visit you JIHoon. Ill bring kimbab, and ummm, some desserts, and mineral water, ok…..


  9. Miki

    @dangerousmousie – though, yes, JJH doing drugs may not have much to do with his acting skills, first off he’s not even that great of an actor. Furthermore, what sort of company would want their sets to have someone who does drugs on it?

    Possible disruption aside (do you really want a jerk or a drug addict on a set?), what the public will not tolerate the companies will not show. I think they care most about the bottom line. The US have a flippant attitude towards drug use. We will still tune in even if we know the celebrities lead screwed up lives. That’s part of intrigue, actually. Think Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan guest starring to boost ratings. That’s not going to happen in Korea. Probably the ratings would go down. If they take him, it’d ring as nothing more than a debase attention stunt. Both the company and him will earn themselves more anti-fans. And you know they’re fierce…

    And how can you criticize Asia for having unbending pure views of their celebs when American paparazzi tail people 24/7 in hopes of getting a scandal? When we basically FEED on that stuff, and being infamous these days is better than being famous? That no one even WANTS a star with a normal life anymore? If JJH was here, his career would skyrocket because his name is so well-publicized and googled. America’s pretty darn screwed up too.

    Which system do you consider better?

    @Jean – Since Koreans in general look very harshly on those who use drugs… he may not have any fans anymore. And even if he still does, it will hurt the station’s supposed “morals” if they show him, which I suppose may mean someone will take offense and not watch their station… Or at least that’s what I think is running through the company’s head. I don’t think they want to give the impression that they’re condoning drug use so they’re probably not taking him back, especially in the future. And who knows, when they’re done he may be forgotten. The industry has a quick turnover rate.

  10. 10 disappointed

    this is soo depressing.. DARN IT… Why did I ever like him?!?!?!

  11. 11 Marres77

    Banned from everything but military service? Would he have a hard time if he went into military service now? as in…would they pick on him because of this? Would it seem like a cop out to go into military service now? is he even allowed to go into military service what with the drug use thing on his back?

    I Agree/hope with Javabeans…..not out forever….just extended timeout i think. Don’t know, just seems like such a shame…..not condoning it but just…..harsh much?

  12. 12 Gia

    @dangermousie-I definitely agree with your sentiments, I think it isn’t quite right to believe a celebrity’s image and life is public property, but it is out there at the same time…I agree, though, that these symbolic “bannings” seem totally for show, and if someone’s done something wrong with the law, it should be dealt with that way and the management should deal with laying low while its taken care of.

    I also find myself puzzled, not by the fact that JJH’s career and image have definitely suffered, but at the fact that it doesn’t seem like people realize these people are probably just the only ones that got caught. Is that off the mark?

    I feel like these kinds of things just go hand in hand with the reality that a good number of k-celebs who say they aren’t dating or partying are probably doing those things, just outside of the public eye. This whole frenzy just makes me think about the weird mix I see in the media, particularly in celebrity coverage. Like, a lot of the time, the media industry is totally in bed with the entertainment companies (looking at kpop promotion of new artists, for example, or the complete glut of entertainment programs and mc’s designed to give fluff interviews to promote whatever celebrity’s new CF/song/movie/drama). On the other hand, media sources can turn completely in another direction at any hint of a scandal.

    I definitely go back and forth trying to figure this out. I mean, just thinking about how fantastically formulated and calculated kpop artist debuts are is totally fascinating. Every new artist has some form of a documentary program these days, documenting (but really, dramatizing) their trainee days and preparations. The programs SNSD and 2PM did with Mnet come to mind as examples of how management companies collaborate with media giants to generate excitement. Mnet doesn’t pretend to be news, but I feel like they are branded as entertainment news, but they’re not even that- they’re just a promoting tool. (I might be mixing up news sources like Mnet with actual news sources, but sometimes I feel like the two aren’t even all that different.)

    That’s just a long-winded way of saying that it seems so strange to see how obviously closely management and media groups work together, then see how they totally seem to separate and become adversarial when there’s anything slightly controversial.

  13. 13 all4movies

    I hope Ji Hoon has learned his lesson in dabbling with recreational drugs, takes his lumps like a man and comes back a better person.

    Does Korea have any good drug counselling programs?

  14. 14 Lucille

    @4 Dangermousie, I agree. I think the banning is a bit much. I too think that work and personal life should be separated. I also find the banning to be a bit hypocritical. I have a hard time believing that his drug use (if rampant) was unknown to people in the industry. I get the feeling that a blind eye was turned to it until this scandal broke out. (Anyone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.) Maybe I am being too sympathetic but I feel like he is being abandoned. I haven’t seen anything about getting him some help. Maybe rehab.
    Yes, he should be held accountable. However, publicly denouncing a person who has made you tons of money seems a bit cruel to me. What does the station gain by this actions. Nothing. Just quietly don’t hire him. Don’t make a show out of it.

    @9 Miki, I don’t recall hearing anything about him being a jerk on the set. I don’t think any of the articles Java posted mentioned him using drugs on the set or being unprofessional. (Once again please correct me if I am wrong.) As for Americans, while we may want to know the dirt, that doesn’t mean that we support the action. Remember a certain Olympic Swimmer from a couple of months ago. When was the last time you saw any of his commercials. Brittany Spears last album-tanked. Lyndsay’s last three movies didn’t even register on the box office scale. If I tried I am sure that I could think of many more examples.

  15. 15 lenrasoon

    i’m honestly sad ’cause i like him as an actor and i’ve been “following” his career since Goong, i don’t think drugs is a smart choice for everyone but he could at least thought of the danger of losing his career is he was found…

  16. 16 Nanae123

    What is so serious about taking ecstasy and ketamine. They are readily available and when you go to a nite club ppl jst take them for fun… if he is using heroin.. that is a differnt story… but ecstasy, those are for some kids… and they are not addicted… should they get that serious to kill someone carear…

  17. 17 Samsooki

    There is a lot of good that will come out of this.

    1. JJH won’t touch drugs again. I think this is likely to be the case, and who knows, maybe this incident and consequences will be the wake-up call JJH needed to stop him from going down a path that could have led to his death. In the end, JJH might be thankful he was caught, and so he didn’t end up passing the gateway drugs for harder things.

    2. JJH will likely be humbled by this. Again, this is a good result if true. If I were to put myself in his shoes, all I can think is that when he was using, JJH just thought himself to be different enough from everyone else that he could do whatever he wanted. That attitude was what precipitated his fall. That attitude will likely be long gone as JJH reflects on what has happened.

    3. Others, young fans especially, but not just them but a lot of people, in a LOT of countries (not just Korea), will see what JJH did and hopefully, come to the conclusion that it just isn’t worth it to use drugs. This result, again, if true, will be more valuable to society than any future dramas and/or movies in which JJH might have starred.


    Him-neh, JJH. Stay strong dude. Man up, accept your punishment with humility, re-learn pride in yourself, be gracious and don’t take for granted whatever you receive from now on, because nobody deserves the amount of talent and beauty you had handed to you for free. Even if you never act again, you STILL have your whole life ahead of you. And if you do start back up, I’m sure I’ll be among the people cheering you on – because what separates you from most everyone else I know is that you got caught, while most everyone else got to grow up in their own time without getting caught.

  18. 18 jacq

    Sad to see someone’s career gets destroyed just like that. But again, JJH should have thought it through before ever getting involved with drug use. Now he must pay the consequences for his action. I do hope that he takes this as a major life lesson and comes back a better person. One day, maybe 3-5 years later, I hope he can come back to the entertainment industry and rebuild his career.

  19. 19 Tha

    Agrees with dangermouise and lucille. And will cheer him back up with Samsooki.

  20. 20 Gia

    Really great points, all around. A lot of what people seem to be reacting to is the fact that it’s such a shame he won’t be acting, but your view is much more positive. It’s true that it might seem great to coast through life unchallenged, but it’s the bad moments and the wrong turns that make a person, cliched as that sounds. I liked your post a lot.

  21. 21 sienna

    I was never a fan of him or his acting anyways. And I am glad that they are banning him,cause it would be very UNFAIR for other celebs who were previously banned for also taking drugs, if they give Joo Ji Hoon special privileges for any reason.

    That’s Korean law so it’s useless for people to keep on saying, if he were in the US he’d be yadayadayada. Fact is, he is a korean citizen, he knew how strict korean law is about drug use, yet he still chose to take drugs.

    Never liked him cause he always seemed like he had a major ego. He had a big disagreement with the Goong PD (I wonder why) and he left Hong Gil Dong 1 week before production leaving them hanging. Luckily they found Kang Ji Hwan as a replacement.

  22. 22 Asarako

    its depressing…. wishing him to be strong despite this matter…

  23. 23 omo

    The Korean entertainment industry DOES.NOT.MESS.AROUND.
    I supposed it’s a perfect opportunity for him to sign with Army. That is, if Army didn’t already banned him too. Ha. But seriously, for X & K, these are child’s play at best. I’d understand if it was H or blow but really? Seriously? Banned? Because of a little dabble with the X & K…
    Let this be a lesson to every Hallyu star, do your drugs/partying in the States. Like Se7en.

  24. 24 Jill

    Now you’re payin’ for misbehavin’!!
    I agree with samsooki..admit and apologize. JiHun has his awesome fans full support. (tho’ i’m not sure if the crown prince will be popular with this new kid on the block now..)

  25. 25 monji

    sucks to be him harhar!
    although his status was on the rise, i dont think he quite reached the door steps of “A list” or “top star” since he was never really in demand per se, so i dont think its “too” much of a waste on his behalf.
    but hey its only KBS (MBC/SBS), theres alwasy cable channels and internet broadcasters who may still want him.

  26. 26 bbm

    @Samsooki, Gia, Tha…
    Let’s cheer together for JJH when he come back, may it took 5 or more years (as JB stated)…
    i really like your post Samsooki, you’ve made a very positive attitude toward a bad news… thumbs up for you!!

  27. 27 lucky

    love jihun
    I will wait until he return..be strong jujihun

  28. 28 Blackcat

    JJH, he is a human and he make a big mistake. I belive he can return. may be it took 5 year or more. But I always support to him. Be strong JJH.

  29. 29 momo

    dude’s definitely getting the full repercussions. i don’t believe he deserves most of it but this is Korea and i really really wish him all the best. and when he comes back, i will be here to support him.

  30. 30 belleza

    This is actually not as big as it sounds. Realistically, Joo Ji Hoon wouldn’t be doing any TV or movie anyway since he’s yet to have trial or anything like that.

    Really the question at this point is whether he sees jail or gets probation. If he only gets a slap on the wrist, then people can begin really speculating about his next move. For now, he can only cooperate and wait.

  31. 31 B.B.

    @ 14 Lucille

    I agree with you also. What is really starting to rattle me is that JJH has not even been fully dealt with by the laws of Korea. Heres the Entertainment mob setting them selves up as judge, jury & passing sentence. Who elected them as above the laws of the land.

    At least keep a quiet watch until his case is sorted by the Law, then decide what’s the best way to deal with contracts etc.

    Trial for the same crime twice ????

    End Rant.

  32. 32 yvhsien

    Thank you for the positive thoughts. We become better people by learning from mistakes and pulling through the storms in our life.

  33. 33 cosmopolite

    As expected. The man should have known what the consequences of his actions were.

  34. 34 nodame-ú

    OMG! so depressing.
    I, myself, can’t believe this but he SHOULD accept those consequences.


  35. 35 mookie

    Not that I’m totally applauding KBS (or any other biggies that r going to follow suit), but realistically, JJH is a high profile, young, up and coming star with a lot of noise lately, and he admitted to illicit drug use which is a crime in Korea. That alone, or even just the rumor of being accused of it, is enough for a TV station to block him or anybody. With the past actors in the same boat of hot waters, they were dealt harshly as well It’s TVland, it’s a diff universe upholding ajumma’s utopian standards.

    If he’s going to be out of the limelight for ~5+ years, it’s not a death sentence, I would say it’s fair, and consider him lucky if he didn’t get the conviction, no jail time or probation. It’s no use using our rulers measuring what JJH/KBS/Korean public should react to this. Yes, there is a court of law he has to deal with, but as a public figure, an idol-actor, the public can put him up a pedestal, they also have the power to judge him in the spotlight other than his work as an actor. It’s not just Asia, in US the stars are judged, but it’s just how the public view the severity of the ‘crime’ and the attitude towards it maybe vastly diff than Korea. After this ‘ordeal’, he’ll still be in his early 30s, if he choose to be an actor and works towards that, we’ll still see him around. It’s up to him and a matter of time.

    I’m just wondering as many are, if he’s not convicted of the crime, what’s next? Is the army ‘accommodating’ with enlistment whenever the guy feels like it?

    I mean look at Miss Tong Wei, the lead actress in Lust, Caution. She was banned by the Chinese government for the nude scenes (or the subject matter) of her movie and she was TOTALLY out of sight, CFs pulled, upcoming projects strangely and mysteriously canned…. not till very recently did she make her first public appearance in HK.

  36. 36 vini

    ju ji hun..fighting!!

  37. 37 belleza

    “If he’s going to be out of the limelight for ~5+ years, it’s not a death sentence, I would say it’s fair, and consider him lucky if he didn’t get the conviction, no jail time or probation.”

    Honestly, I know only of one case where it was like that, and it was more like 7-8 years. Virtually everybody else had their careers destroyed. But I agree with Sarah that attitudes may be changing.

    “She was banned by the Chinese government for the nude scenes (or the subject matter) of her movie and she was TOTALLY out of sight, CFs pulled, upcoming projects strangely and mysteriously canned….”

    Yeah, Tang Wei was kinda in a weird place with that. She got severely punished by the government . . . but it kinda did wonders for her stature and visibility as an actress in China/Taiwan/HK.

    Somehow Tony Leung’s reputation went unscathed. And, well, he was O_O in that film. 😀

  38. 38 mookie

    ^ sadly it’s a whole humanitarian or sexist issue right there.

    I’m pretty sure Tony Leung may not be a Chinese citizen (as in holding a Chinese passport) since he’s born in Hong Kong… Miss Tang is, so it’s almost like a twisted token of JJH’s ‘offense’: she knew she’ll rub the gov (who is a major player in showbiz PRC style) the wrong way, yet she still opt to disrobe. What it comes down to, it may simply be a matter of ‘just because they CAN’ obliterate her existence in the biz for 2+ years.

    What’s odd in her case is that it’s not the first movie that displeased the gov, and she’s not the first actress who had nude scenes under her belt, but she’s punished very severely with the banning…. good for her she just got her HK residence (so maybe that explains her resurfacing). For a while I was honestly worried of her physical well-being (as in is she still alive?!)

    But yeah talk about the public scorning on actresses/idols just because they opt to go naked either onscreen or off (Gillian Chung). In this light, JJH is still lucky he still got a lot of fans forgiving and supporting him.

    So maybe JJH can go the Hollywood route and get a residency somewhere else to escape fr the ‘censorship’?!

  39. 39 Kei

    KBS banning something/someone? UNHEARD OF. *sarcasm* KBS has been on a banning spree with musicians and music videos, some stuff for the stupidest reasons… so this isn’t very surprising or unexpected.

  40. 40 piano_lady

    Ouch…but yeah, I agree: this is expected.
    He should be responsible for this actions.

    Agree with Omo too.
    Maybe he should just go to the army if hasn’t done it yet….

  41. 41 Anonymous

    I am just wondering, if you are in a party and a close friend offered you an ecstacy( the drug based on what I see seemed to have same gravity as a heroin in Korea…the way its being flashed in the papers) and you do not want yourself to be called a “coward or a gay”. or wants to be” in or a cool” guy just like the rest, what is usually the reaction of any guy for that matter…(just curious because I am a girl). Therefore, if you did it twice and admitted it(though it was done way back March/April’2008 and had successfully made several movies after) the consequence is that you will practically be ostracized or no longer be accepted by the society you are in?Don’t you think that’s being cruel and unChristian?(no wonder there are a lot of suicides in Korea). Don’t you ever think in another perspective, that he has also become a victim here but just don’t what to admit it because its “uncool”. I believe a few months of discernment is enough( because its not heroin or shabu and did not take tons of it). You can even use him to talk to kids later on the bad consequences of this kind of drug…

  42. 42 Yoo Jin

    wow it just gets worse and worse for him <=(
    Sadly this is the end of his acting career but if he if really lucky he might comeback in a few years =P
    Grr, he was one of my favs and was waiting so long for his new drama but guess thats not happening…probably not even going to watch Tokyo Tower anymore since he won’t be in it -_-

  43. 43 ..... wtf?

    @ 41–

    what you said stunk me to death cos it was sooo FULL OF SHIT!
    are you telling me a full grown mature adult had no responsibility over his actions purely because of “peer pressure” and cos he didnt want to be labeled as a “coward or gay”? and cos he admitted to the charges and made “several successful movies” he should be let off scott free?
    do you smell the shit im smelling from your post? girl you need a good therapy session! and he can “talk to kids” about it? HAHAHA!
    wow you need a reality check, and please dont bring Christianity into an issue that does not involve God, cos its blatantly obvious that it was him, the individual who made the wrong decision and is now going through the consequences!

  44. 44 roflcopter

    rofl @ 43; stinky coz its full of shit, lol!

    @41, I get that you’re a fan and all, but a guy is of an age where he is responsible for his actions. Who knows if he was coerced into but at the end of the day it was he who took the drug and it is he who is serving out the consequences.

    As a Korean, I understand the ramifications getting caught for drug possession/drug use, and as a fellow Korean he should have known better.
    However, I believe in 2nd chances, especially when it comes to a someone who feels remorse for his actions. Hopefully he will learn from his mistakes and will be more responsible next time he’s in a similar situation, whether it be drugs or not.

  45. 45 Artemis

    #23 Omo:

    I seriously doubt that the army would want him. Don’t they have rules against drug use in the Korean army? Here in Norway they have drug sniffing dogs at the sessions (when the recruits come in) – if they mark anything (and they do mark if you have been using or in contact with drugs – clothes, bags etc). Then they take a hair test to see if you have been taking any drugs in the past. If it’s positive a criminal case is opened and they are banned from entering the army.

    Soldiers with drug problems who operate firearms is a hell of a lot more dangerous than an actor making a movie.

  46. 46 mishane


    No offense, but he wasn’t THAT GREAT of an actor. He was a pretty face in an uber-popular drama. And all the fangirls who wet themselves over him and Yoon Eun Hye (sp?) are the ones who kept that fanbase going.

    I was very disappointed in his “acting” in Mawang, or can I say, lack of acting.

    Maybe he should take the next five years off, and secretly become an amazing actor and wow us. Take that and use it as his lesson.

    (In other news, I’ve been so numbed by all the drug use in Hollywood, honestly when you tell me someone is clean, I’m more surprised, that this news doesn’t really come as that much of a shock to me. So yeah, I guess in some ways Western world is different/worse as it gives us a tolerance to these issues but, whatever, you can’t have it both ways. And I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I’ve become more tolerant of these issues, just that it’s the way it is.)

  47. 47 Tammy

    I really like this actor and it makes me sad (and angry) to see him make such an incredibly stupid decision. He was literally on top of the Korean (and Japan!) entertainment world, enjoying unlimited fame and popularity with so many fans, and he goes and throws it all away for a moment’s worth of high.

  48. 48 Sere

    @47 mishane

    Have you watched Antique Bakery? His performance really impressed me. I didn’t think he had it in him. I’d only watched Goong before, and I was all very meh about him, but AB changed my mind.

  49. 49 Samsooki

    @49, Sere –

    Yeap, it was Antique Bakery which completely changed my viewpoint on JJH, since I had only seen Goong and I thought his portrayal of Shin in Goong was a very understated performance (as it was supposed to be), but it was also a little bit timidly played – sort of what happens when the role isn’t clearly delineated.

    On the other hand, I was so surprised by his acting in Antique Bakery – almost an anti-hero from a cultural perspective, it was just brilliant.

  50. 50 bama

    wow everyone on this site are such prudes

    not that i do drugs, but have friends who do…they’re very normal people

    most drugs are pretty harmless…even less so than alcohol

    assuming JJH was doing weed…its not a big deal at all

    pretty much every US president has even done drugs…and many states are considering legalizing it…yet Korea is still so prudish about a harmless substance

    maybe they should arrest actors who get drunk and do far dumber things than drugs

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