Update: Jo Byeong Gyu’s Agency Denies Rumors That He Was A Perpetrator Of School Violence; Accuser Apologizes And Deletes Post
Updated February 17 KST:
Jo Byeong Gyu’s agency has shared that the person who posted on February 16 to accuse the actor of school violence has now apologized and deleted their post.
The agency’s statement, released on February 17, is as follows:
Hello, this is HB Entertainment. This is our official statement on the malicious comments and defamation carried out through false information about our artist, Jo Byeong Gyu.
Immediately after we filed a criminal complaint seeking punishment for illegal acts regarding our actor and requested an investigation this morning (February 17), the writer of the false post contacted our company. The writer of the false post turned themselves in and admitted that the post they had written was false. They are regretting their wrongdoing and illegal act, and they apologized and asked us to be lenient. We have since confirmed the authenticity of the writer, and we confirmed that the writer personally deleted the false post.
Initially, we were taking all possible legal steps to strongly respond to illegal acts regarding our actor. However, we have considered that the writer of the false post is reflecting on their wrongdoing and has asked several times for leniency, and we have received a promise from the writer that they will not commit an illegal act again. Nevertheless, if a similar case occurs in the future or there is another situation where our actor is harmed further, we will take strong action to ensure that the rights and interests of our actor are not infringed upon.
Also, we inform you that we will take strong action and seek criminal punishment in response to any cases of careless slander or harm against our artists, including the other actors at our agency.
Actor Jo Byeong Gyu has denied recent rumors that he was a perpetrator of school violence.
On February 17, Jo Byeong Gyu’s agency, HB Entertainment, released the following statement.
Hello, this is HB Entertainment.
This is our official statement on the malicious rumors and false information spreading about our artist, Jo Byeong Gyu.
We have inquired into taking legal action against the person who has been recklessly spreading false rumors and malicious comments about Jo Byeong Gyu recently in online communities. We officially requested a police investigation into the matter and thus an investigation into the relevant case has begun.
We will no longer hold back when it comes to criminal behavior such as mass-producing and spreading malicious rumors about our actors. According to the results of the police investigation, we will not be lenient or negotiate but instead advocate for strong legal liabilities.
HB Entertainment will continue to do our best to protect our artists’ rights in responding with strength against illegal behavior that defames their reputations, such as the spread of false rumors and malicious comments.
This is in response to a post that arose on an online forum on February 16 from someone claiming to be a victim of bullying from Jo Byeong Gyu while they were at school in New Zealand together.
In the post, the poster (known henceforth as “A”) wrote, “To learn English, I went to study abroad alone in New Zealand at age 16 and stayed at a boarding house. I went to school quietly for about a week. One day, a new student came into the class, and that was Jo Byeong Gyu. I was about to leave the classroom when class was over, but he spoke to me. This short kid with dyed hair and cut-off pants suddenly picked a fight with me. I didn’t feel very good about it, so I didn’t respond and just left. But the incident left a bad taste in my mouth.”
“A” continued, “At lunch, due to a mixup in my schedule, I was eating lunch alone, but two Korean kids with mean faces whom I’d never seen before suddenly told me to follow them. I thought, ‘What?’ and went with them, and suddenly I was surrounded by 30 people swearing at me.
“I was so angry that I went to the kind of place that manages Korean students who are studying abroad. I told the manager there what had happened. The parents were informed and the lady in charge of our boarding house was also informed. Jo Byeong Gyu and I were brought in to talk, but he spoke rudely to the manager as well. The manager just told us that if this happened again, he’d take measures according to school regulations, and told us to get along. The lady in charge of the boarding house contacted my parents in Korea after learning about this, and my parents were really worried about me because I was abroad and alone.”
“A” further alleged that Jo Byeong Gyu had made obscene jokes, insulted the teachers, and talked to his friends about smoking marijuana.
“A” concluded, “In conclusion, [Jo Byeong Gyu] didn’t use physical violence. There was only verbal violence. The only thing I want from writing this is an acknowledgement that school violence occurred and a sincere apology.”
As evidence, “A” included a photo of school documents from the New Zealand school and screenshots of messages “A” had exchanged with a friend.
This is the second time that Jo Byeong Gyu has been swept up in rumors of school violence. The first time was in 2018 when someone claiming to be a classmate of Jo Byeong Gyu in elementary and middle school alleged that the actor had shown instances of rude and insulting behavior toward his classmates. At that time, Jo Byeong Gyu denied the rumors and stated that he had not had much contact with his classmates due to his acting career and his time studying abroad in New Zealand.