Actress Han Ye Seul previously admitted that she met her boyfriend at a karaoke bar after a Dispatch report was released alleging numerous different rumors about her boyfriend. And while her honesty may have been refreshing for some, she has started to receive major backlash from others. One particular netizen took matters into their own hands and created an official Blue House petition regarding the actress’s boyfriend, Ryu Sung Jae and his background.
In different countries, karaoke rooms provide people a place where they can gather to eat, drink, sing, and enjoy each other’s companies. South Korea’s karaoke culture has become one of the notable parts of the nation, as karaoke rooms can be found on almost every street in the country. These private singing rooms, which are also called noraebangs, are heavily depicted in K-Dramas and K-Movies, which only adds onto the popularity of the activity. However, in comparison to karaoke rooms are karaoke bars.
While some karaoke bars are truly just a bar, in South Korea some of these “bars” are oftentimes a front for something much more. These types of adult night-life bars are typically set up as an agency, where clients will request for company during their evening. The escorts are called into the private rooms where they will entertain their clients by singing, drinking, and flirting with them.
Being an escort is not illegal, but the stigma that follows with the title “escort” is viewed negatively in the conservative nation. The negative reputation that follows this job title becomes even greater since some escort services do allow sexual acts to be exchanged for monetary gain, which is illegal in South Korea.
And the outrage against Han Ye Seul and her boyfriend’s alleged past may have to do with the stigma mentioned above. The actress admitted in a lengthy Instagram post that she met Ryu Sung Jae at a karaoke bar. While she did not mention that the karaoke bar provided escort services, netizens were quick to piece together that if he was working at a karaoke bar, he was most likely a male escort since noraebangs do not hire extra workers to entertain their customers.
Ever since her Instagram upload, Han Ye Seul and her boyfriend have been a hot topic, making headlines day after day. In the midst of the uproar, one netizen launched an official petition asking for an investigation into the actress’s boyfriend’s past.
We would like clarification regarding the current controversy regarding Han Ye Seul’s boyfriend. They say he’s a past ‘karaoke worker’, but isn’t it illegal to utilize male receptionists at these facilities? Due to the confusion, I filed an additional complaint with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
We ask that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety clearly present the standard laws regarding the usage of male receptionists (hosts, karaoke, etc) so that the ongoing chaos may be put to rest.
— Petition creator
While Han Ye Seul personally addressed the allegations, her agency High Entertainment has yet to release a statement regarding the ongoing controversy.