TOO’s Woonggi Shares Thoughts After His Comments Encouraging Classmates To Social Distance Become A Hot Topic
TOO’s Woonggi recently became a hot topic in South Korea after he posted comments in a group chat encouraging his classmates to follow social distancing protocols.
On February 15, screenshots of a group chat between students of a university department were posted in an online forum. TOO’s Woonggi is in this university department and the screenshot contained details of a conversation he had had in the group chat with his classmates last month.
In the group chat, several students were arranging for a group meeting despite the fact that social distancing protocols are in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, the Seoul area was still under Level 2.5 social distancing restrictions and social gatherings of more than five people are banned throughout the country.
In the group chat, Woonggi posted, “This is a group chat for the 21st class, but there appears to be excessive words and actions that are crossing the line. No matter how you look at it, it doesn’t seem like gathering almost 20 people at the Konkuk University gates to go out drinking is something to brag about.”
In response to this, his classmates wrote back, “Just let it pass,” “So what are you trying to say?”, “Aren’t you just telling us to stay cooped up at home?”, and “It’s not like he’s going to come. Let’s just gather together and hang out.”
Woonggi posted a final response that said, “I have said all that I wanted to say. There’s a reason that they’re telling us not to gather with more than five people, so it’s not right to suggest things like going drinking and meeting up together.”
The screenshots of the group chat were posted without Woonggi’s knowledge. From the post in the online forum, it appears as though the poster’s intention was for people to criticize Woonggi’s intervention. However, the post has gone viral instead with people praising Woonggi’s correct attitude toward social distancing protocols and courage in confronting his peers about their decisions.
After the post went viral, he shared a brief statement with SPOTV News. He said, “I never imagined this would become a hot topic. There were a lot of people in the group chat, so I felt that I couldn’t stay silent. I only said what needed to be said.”
He added, “TOO has not been able to properly meet our fans because of COVID-19, so I’m disappointed too, but there are a lot of people who are struggling right now. That’s why we need to stay strong together and get through it.”
Woonggi, who will turn 20 years old (Korean age) this year, is scheduled to enrol in the Acting and Arts Major in March. (The “21st class” he mentioned in the group chat refers to the incoming group of students who will begin university in March 2021.) Woonggi was active as a child actor in dramas like “The King and I,” “Yi San,” “Empress Cheonchu,” “Definitely Neighbors,” and “Jejungwon.” In 2019, he appeared on the Mnet show “World Klass” and debuted with TOO in 2020.