Celebrity News
Will Kim Ji-soo’s hit and run endanger her drama role?
by | October 7, 2010 | 43 Comments

Actress Kim Ji-soo (Women In the Sun) finds herself in some hot water and on the receiving end of a wave of negative public sentiment after she was charged for a hit and run this week. As a result, some question whether she will remain with the upcoming KBS sageuk drama she is currently filming, King Geunchogo, which stars Kam Woo-sung as the king.

The traffic accident occurred on October 5 at around 9 pm in the Cheongdam-dong neighborhood of Seoul’s Kangnam district. According to Kangnam police, Kim was allegedly driving drunk when she collided with a taxi at an intersection and fled the scene. She was booked without detention on October 6.

Witnesses have stated that she drank five glasses of champagne on the evening of her accident, but the numbers indicating her blood-alcohol content aren’t out yet. Still, it’s a particularly sensitive issue with the public, and people’s condemnation is harsh. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that this is Kim’s second such offense; she was caught for drunk driving in 2000.

According to a senior representative at KBS’s drama department, as of now they are not talking about dropping Kim from the drama. Kim is the lead actress in Geunchogo, playing a Baekje princess who is the romantic interest for Kam Woo-sung’s king. KBS does employ a “three strikes” policy with cases of scandal (whether that involves overly sexual content, offensive comments, drunk driving, etc), but they state that they are not thinking that far at present.

Even so, this places producers in a sticky situation, as dramas typically want to distance themselves as much as possible when stars get caught up in bad behavior. (Examples: Choi Chul-ho quit/was dropped from Dong Yi earlier this year after he was caught on camera hitting a woman. A supporting actor on Baker King, Park Yong-jin, was charged with drunk driving and assaulting an officer, and while he wasn’t technically fired, the drama stated that he was done with his role anyway. And when Kwon Sang-woo was in his hit and run, there was a lot of talk over whether he’d be dropped from Daemul. He wasn’t, but I have read in some reports of the drama’s premiere this week that lingering distaste for the incident is affecting viewers’ reception to his character.)

King Geunchogo is a weekend drama set for a November 6 premiere on KBS.

Via Star News, TV Report


43 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Sumee

    i dunno ..personally i think Korean fans tend to take things toooooooooooo FAR..i am not telling that what ever she has done in normal but even simple issues are portrayed like HAVOC ..so many times I have come across such things ..like celebs committing suicide .. i mean they are also people ..mistakes happen but netizens act like crazy…its totally my point of view ..no offense to anyone WHATSOEVER !

    • 1.1 Elaine

      This is not the fault of fans/netizens.
      This is the whole perception that Koreans in general have toward such incidents.

      • 1.1.1 Sumee

        i dunno ..but i really feel its kinda tiresome for the celebs…. it happens everywhere across the global entertainment industry ..but in South Korea i think its like risking your career & “LIFE “..may be as you indicated it more of a mindset or perception of the community .. but apart from that I am a big fan of their drama & movies !

        • Elaine

          Yeah, it’s the sad life of a celebrity in S.Korea I guess. But then again, celebrities’ lives are always under scrutiny.

          And as for this case, I do reckon that she should have been more careful. After all, it isn’t the first time.

    • 1.2 Vico

      I don’t think a second incident of drunk driving can be considered a “simple issue.” If this were to happen again, she could end up seriously hurting or even killing someone. Her driver’s license should be revoked.

      • 1.2.1 ellina

        It’s her second time caught. Who knows how many other times she has done this and not got caught. People like her make me sick to my stomach. It’s hard not to take DUI and hit and run cases not personally because I had a family member killed in a hit and run accident.

    • 1.3 kimkim

      I think you’re mixing up many different issues together as one.

      First, I don’t care what society you’re in or who are you within that society (celebrity or non-celebrity). Drunk driving is a serious crime that puts not only yourself at risk, but many others and should be taken seriously. She broke the law by driving drunk, and moreover, she ran away from the scene. Irrelevant to the issue of whether netizen condemnation that will likely follow is just or not, she should be punished for her crime as provided by law.

      Second, it is true when a celebrity broke a law that the society condemns (drunk driving, hit and run, assaulting a woman, illegal gambling, etc), the backlash would be more severe when the celebrity continues to appear on tv every single week. For one, it’s the visibility of them that continues to remind the citizens of what they did wrong. This in turn will cause viewers to lose focus on the show or the drama character. Hence, although I don’t agree with the broadcasting company’s decision to make a call on whether to drop a cast member for their “personal” issue, I don’t blame them either.

      Third, I totally agree that it’s ridiculous Koreans make a huge deal out of inane celebrity “scandals” (romance, dating, sex tapes), plastic surgery accusations, or unaccounted rumors (ex. Choi Jin Shil’s money lending rumor). Celebrities continue to be scrutinized daily, and celebrity life is no doubt more difficult than the glam they show on camera.

      However, it is also true that foreign netizens looking in on K-entertainment tend to over-blame the netizens for the large number of celebrity suicides without really understanding the cause of what’s driving these celebrities to such extreme measures.

      First is the Korean society’s condemnation of psychological disorders, and unwillingness of people to get treated for shame. It’s probably more so for celebrities who may be afraid of getting exposed. Second is that celebrities constantly live in fear of losing their popularity. Popularity decline eventually happens for everyone, but it’s really a matter of when it will happen and will they have backup income once their popularity declines. This constant fear drives many celebrities to depression, leads celebrities to start outside business (which fails in many instances and causes more money problems, etc. Third is that there are many dirty dealings going on in showbiz behind closed doors that we don’t know about. Coerced sex, assault, abuse, etc.

      In fact, many of the celebrity suicides that have happened so far have been one of the reasons mentioned above, and not merely some netizen’s fault. That said, this cyber gossiping culture that is growing in Korea really needs to be controlled. I do think that this gets exaggerated in Korea because many of the entertainment “news” articles on reputable sites read more like American gossip columns with the news consisting of speculations by netizens. Perhaps Korea needs better journalism culture.

    • 1.4 asianromance

      even for the average person, when applying for jobs, employers do background checks. A DUI on your record- TWICE- doesn’t look good. Whether it is a celebrity or an average person, a DUI hit and run- you will get judged and people will slam you for it. And really, you deserve all the criticism you get and more because you had done something that can really kill someone.

      • 1.4.1 Sumee

        well the thing she did was not at all correct ..its indeed really really terrible ..it was just that I was giving a normal view about what i read through & listen from different sites..i was talking about more passable instances forgo with the idols & digging up there past scrutinized for doing small lil things … see crime is totally unacceptable..but on personal level too the celebs are constantly blamed… if my words brought harsh feeling i really am sorry for that ..I was just giving an opinion in comparisons of K-entertainment industry to Hollywood & Bollywood !!!! 😉

        • F1245

          So.. we shouldn’t blame the woman that did a hit and run and was caught with a DUI twice? Okay. Should we wait for her to kill someone before we have that right?

          Drinking while driving is a PERSONAL choice. Therefore, celebrities SHOULD be blamed on a personal level.

          By the way, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Bollywood is just as strict with scandals.

          Your entire post is just irrelevant.

          • oh! tht! chick!

            do the crime pay the time…its as simple/complicated as that! and i dont think b’wood is as tough on its celebs as south korea is! and not by a looooong shot…have u met the force that is the korean netizen….pls those go after anything from arm pit strains to inventing mad cap stories to prove their case (read up on tablo)….i think b’wood is way way more tolerant towards its celebs and is more forgiving towards them….

  2. Bonnie

    Ugh. I think people should be punished harshly for drunk driving, and this goes double for celebs who may influence young people in particular. Get involved in all the sex or drug scandals you want (as long as you’re not hurting anybody), but no drunk driving, please. Cars are weapons and you’re not just hurting yourself.

  3. v

    ouch… i heard about it as well… her agency was saying that she got scared because of her first offense and ran away…
    i wish her the best but this is a sticky situation…

  4. Vico

    I’ve seen Kim Ji-soo a couple of times and I like her. But I have no sympathy for drunk drivers. It’s stupid and something that can be avoided, call a taxi or call a friend.

    • 4.1 Jaydi


    • 4.2 jossy

      same same.

    • 4.3 anon

      She could have seriously hurting or even killing someone.
      This is her second offense for DUI.
      She must be dropped from her drama role!

  5. Sruthi

    She was the first Korean actress I got to know,i have a special place for her always hmm infact she was the reason why i’m so much connected with my Korean dramas and music for the past few yrs.Just loved her in “Women in the Sun”,she was great in acting!!!! Wish this incident didn’t cause any trouble to this diva!!!!!!! It’s OK Kim Ji Soo unnie fighthing!!!!!

    ~Regards from India

  6. sooyun

    She was drunk and driving. It doesnt matter how harsh Korean society is with her. She put so many people at risk when she got behind the wheel. If she was willing to put innocent people in danger, then this indecent does deserve to be made big. Its a shame that other societies dont make a big deal when celebs engage in reckless behavior. Everyone should make a big deal. I applaud Korea for standing up to issues like these. We all try to live our lives safely, and when someone undermines our safety in such a reckless way, they do deserve this public backlash. Dont accuse Koreans of blowing this out of proportions. Some things are just wrong and in todays society there is no excuse for things like drunk driving.

    • 6.1 hs


  7. linz

    I understand that some people are supporting her, but I think she kind of deserves to be in trouble. In my eyes it’s not so much a “scandal” as it is simply breaking the law. If she did this in the US it would be a big deal as well. Drunk driving is very serious, especially if she’s done it before. Too many innocent people get hurt because of bad decisions to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. I hope she at least learns something from this.

  8. sandy

    one of the few korean actresses that are truly beautiful
    she should have been more careful though

  9. abbey

    DUI is a serious and irresponsible offence. It is a serious hazard on the road. It is like someone having a weapon and running wild on the road – a killing machine.

  10. 10 Wicked Ahjumma

    I agree this wrong and she should have known better, but another star who is male, hit multiple items drunk, and did not turn himself in until he was sober is currently in a drama (hint: Daemul) and he got off scott free except to pay the fine. Citizens if you go after one-you should do the same to the other.
    I am just upset that they attack her and the male star did not get the same heat. I feel that they are attacking her harder for being a female drunk which is frown upon in the Korean society.
    Drunk driving should not be acceptable no matter if you are female/male or a star.
    That is my big gripe. If you take her role away, then the artist who will remain unnamed in DaeMul should have lost his role too. He never really admitted nor apologized for his mistake. He later stated that he though he should give up the role (Cough, cough…I believe that) but choose not to. It should have not been his decision. Fire his butt and make him pay for his crime-just as you are asking for her to do. Maybe he won’t continue to do this too since this is not hiis first time either.

    Sorry, but double standards always pisses me off, especially if it is a different standard for a woman than a man.

    Okay, getting off my soapbox.

  11. 11 brookeeve

    I really don’t think that they are blowing things out of proportion. While I don’t agree with many of the decisions that Koreans make about their celebrities, drunk driving hits a little close to home for me. This seems to me a simple thing to avoid, especially as a celebrity. I like that there is a 3-strikes policy, and I hope that it shakes her world enough to where she will no longer follow in this path.

    Although, I have to point out that Americans’ forgiving nature did worlds of wonder for Robert Downey Jr. Maybe she should take herself out of the scene and chill a bit, seek some professional help, and then get back into the groove. He got serious about his problem, I hope she does too.

  12. 12 belleza

    Kim Ji Soo is one of my favorite, favorite actresses . . .

    Drinking and driving is unacceptable. Leaving an accident is also unacceptable.

  13. 13 b020

    She has a problem and these incidents are a HUGE red flag and if she doesn’t get some help, she could end up making things worse, like dying or killing someone else. She should get some help (without being condemned for getting help).

    Any actor who is DUI, should be fined hugely and dropped from dramas. Just because one is a celebrity should not excuse you from consquences. Kwon Sang Woo has yet to be made accountable for his DUI, so I’m not sure why there’s such a huge outrage over Ji-soo.

    • 13.1 javabeans

      One key distinction is that Kwon Sang-woo’s hit and run doesn’t involve alcohol, at least not officially. (You can argue that since he fled, he may have been drunk, but there’s been no accusation of drunk driving on his part.) However, Kim Ji-soo was definitely drinking, even if her BAC isn’t yet confirmed.

      • 13.1.1 belleza

        Yup, the outrage over Kim Ji Soo’s DUI is absolutely justified.

      • 13.1.2 Wicked Ahjumma

        Right now-she is only being charged with hit and run, not drinking and driving because the test results have not come in despite the reports she has been drinking. So from that she is guilty of the same thing as Kwon Sang-woo which he was guilty of and charged with. They were not able to charge him with drinking and driving because the cops at the time screwed up and did not do proper procedure, though it was suspected as such. Also, he did not turn himself in until it was too late to run the test-to me, that is just as bad or worse than what she did. It is hide and run to hide the fact that he was drunk.

        So I think he should have been punished the same-lose his role which would have been the one he is currently in-Daemul.

        He was only fined, but even the judge changed the fine to a larger one because he felt it was not fitting.
        I think she should lose her role, her license and be forced to attend treatment for alcohol along with public service-nursing those victims of road accidents as her punishment. I think Mr. Kwon Sand-woo should have had the same punishment for hit and run without the alcohol treatment since he was not charges/convicted of that crime.

        I am just wondering if she is getting more heat since she is a woman..just a feeling I am getting since a woman dunk is not acceptable as a man being drunk in asian culture.

        • javabeans

          I won’t argue with your point that there are definitely double standards at play. However, I still think there’s an important distinction: Kim has witnesses who saw her allegedly drinking five glasses of alcohol before driving. Kwon was not seen drinking and therefore his case remains pure speculation. It may not be FAIR that he wasn’t caught if he was indeed drinking (and I’m skeptical myself), but I do think there’s a difference.

          • Wicked Ahjumma

            I agree with your pint, but at this point until she is charged with DUI, it is still just a hit and run which is what Kwon is. And you can have witnesses up the wazzoo but until charges are pressed, you are innocent of those crimes and shouldn’t be punished for them. That is all I meant.

            I am sure she was drunk and should pay a heftier price for that crime, but at this moment, it is also speculation and hear-say that she was drunk at the time of the crime until the police have that report and charge her. She should not be punished for it until it is proven. That is all I meant. Which Kwon was convicted of doing too. Doesn’t matter if he was drinking or drive. Plus he hit multiple items, not just a cab. Now, it doesn’t mention if anyone was injured by the accident but considering she is not being charged so far with anything more than hit and run, I suspect no one was seriously injured.

            Both were wrong and both should get the same deal. I just feel that the netizens are quick to condemn her and ask for her head on a platter while when Kwon incident, they were more forgiving and he was never that apologetic about his actions just being caught. It gives a big impression that favoritism is ruling even the fans which is sad. Both did a serious crime even if you pull the alcohol out of the mix.

            It is unfair that she hasn’t been convicted nor charged but she is being cursified as if she had been. While one who had, is still working and enjoying his popularity.

  14. 14 anonymous

    If the 38 year old Kim Ji Soo is a mature, responsible adult (while sober), she should make a public apology and take the legal consequences of her reckless behaviors.

    KBS must do the right thing and drop her drama role.

  15. 15 anonymous

    DUI and hit and run?

    Actress, president, or Queen, that needs to have consequences.

  16. 16 regina

    Well, I guess she knew the consequences of driving while intoxicated [if been caught]. She is an adult [38yrs] and I am pretty sure even a high school student knew the law of DUI. So she has to take responsibility of her own action… Another suggestion, she could had hire or engage a substitute driver where they have this service in Korea.

  17. 17 oh! tht! chick!

    i’ve felt sad for the korean celebs its like they are in character even after the camera stops rolling u know..always saying the perfect thing, always being ( sometimes too) polite and sticking to the script their PR fellows have given them…its quite hard to see a wacky celeb or some celeb who speaks their mind and isnt afraid of the backlash ( mind im speaking from my own limited wanderings thru the k ent world obviously…)

    its obvious that this kind of behavior will come at a price and will take a toll on them…its just sad…it really is…im not excusing what the actress did…like i said before do the crime pay the time….its just a general thought when i was reading the article and the comments…

  18. 18 Lenita

    I actually think it’s quite a positive thing that fans/the audience are manifesting their distaste through their market powers. It’s a good way to provide incentive for good behavior and punish bad behavior. You definitely don’t want things go the other way, i.e. when celebs go out of their way to make a sex tape/create a scandal to get the publicity, things we are starting to see in Indonesia.

  19. 19 MsRetta

    As all have stated drinking and driving is offensive, as is a hit and run. Perhaps being released from her role would be a blessing in disguise. It would allow for a ‘vacation’ as in a rehab and counseling sessions…if she can’t get it there then ‘vacation’ in a country where there is a 5 star treatment center and get help. Added bonus of no one knowing who she is.

    Continuing as she is will undoubtedly end badly.

  20. 20 Observer

    She should be charged and get maximum sentence. It is really disgusting to drink drive and hurt someone!!

    Many moon years ago, LSW had also involved in a restless driving and killed a pedestrian, but he did not go to jail, albeit still passionately driving his fast cars, with little remorse. Wonder how the Korean public can have so much respect and endurance for him? An application of double standards towards an actor?

  21. 21 fan

    kim jisoo i will support you till the end!!figthing i love you.

  22. 22 fan

    Pretty kim ji soo go go go!god bless you.i’m so great to see you in the new drama of king of geunchogo.

  23. 23 fan

    kim ji soo is the best of best korean actress to me!!i love you!

  24. 24 Beret

    If a DUI on a record is bad, then Korea should stop having drinking meeting with clients. They consume a heck of a lot of drink in one night, and they keep pouting it on even thoj they see you can’t stand up. Drinking and driving it a death trap to anyone, it just not tolerated.

    I agree that Koreans takes minute little insidents and blow it out of proportion, celeb or not they are all human and have to live their life. People, are your life so miserable that you have to live other people’s life? GET A LIFE! and mind your own business.

    On the topic of suicide, Korean are way to self absorb and selfish to reach out for help, why? Because they are chastised and spoken about, you are asking for help and people gossip..no wonder the suicide rate is soo high no one cares, but yet again look at their historical history. Reach out when you need help.

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