Korean producer Kim Yoo Jin, who received a lot of attention for being AOA Seolhyun‘s doppelgänger after being introduced as the famous Korean chef Lee Won Il‘s fiancée…
… found herself in an alleged bullying controversy on April 21, 2020 — when a victim “A” shared her story online, following the episode of Real Love Story in which the couple appeared together. A claimed that in 2008, the 16-year-old Kim Yoo Jin and friends “physically abused [her] at Aotea Square in Auckland, New Zealand because [she] talked about Kim Yoo Jin’s boyfriend at the time.” She “decided to come forward because [she] didn’t want to see bullies under the spotlight on television.”
Producer Kim Yoo Jin slapped me around with the slippers she was wearing. Even after I fell to the floor, she kept beating me up. A few weeks later, Kim Yoo Jin and a handful of her friends took me to a karaoke room and assaulted me for an hour. Kim Yoo Jin told me, ‘I never meant to do this to you, but my friends are wild. You messed with the wrong person. Just think of it as bad luck. Don’t come out to the city for a while.‘ After the bullying incident, I was diagnosed with depression. I couldn’t go to school and I needed professional help to treat my depression. Kim Yoo Jin never apologized to me before going back to Korea.
— Victim A
When the online exposé went viral, producer Kim Yoo Jin and chef Lee Won Il apologized to A on April 23, 2020 and voluntarily withdrew from the TV program. Unfortunately, this did not get well received by the public — and the couple continued to face extreme heat for being “insincere” in their apologies.
Today at 3PM, Kim Yoo Jin messaged me on Facebook… I doubt she would have ever reached out to me and apologized for what she did to me if I didn’t write about it online. I can’t stop thinking if she meant to be sincere with her apology, she would have called me first. Plus, the fact that she has the chef apologizing with her… I feel like they are putting on a show.
In the final update of the exchanges that went on between the couple and her, A concluded that though she is yet to forgive the bully, she had accomplished “the right thing to do” by making the story public and having Kim Yoo Jin apologize.
I see a lot of comments under chef Lee Won Il’s apology posted on his Instagram, forgiving him for what his fiancée has done. I’m sorry to see this… I am the one living with the 12-year-old trauma. I don’t believe I can accept her apology and forgive her yet, because un-doing something like this can’t happen overnight… But I want all the bullies to learn from this… I pushed Kim Yoo Jin to reach out to me first and apologize because it is the right thing to do.
Then on May 4, 2020, Korean media reported that Kim Yoo Jin had been found unconscious at home by her family members and rushed to the hospital. Shortly before attempting to take her own life, Kim Yoo Jin is said to have uploaded a will-type post on her private social media, sharing that she “will take full responsibility for everything” because she doesn’t “want any more damage done to chef Lee Won Il and our families.”
I don’t think I’m going to exist in this world anymore. But before I leave, I want to share what I hadn’t been sharing… I apologized for the bullying because regardless of what actually happened, I thought there might be people whose feelings I’ve hurt unintentionally. Plus, my fiancé went through so much because of me… When he shared his handwritten apology for something he didn’t do, I felt my heart shatter. I was so ashamed to even look at my parents and my in-laws… I can say this now, but A has been threatening me with texts and calls. I don’t think anyone would have believed me though…
— Kim Yoo Jin
Kim Yoo Jin concluded the post, asking netizens to “stop judging” so easily.
I’m sorry, everyone. I’m going to disappear, taking all that has been unfair to me with me. Those of you sitting in front of a computer criticizing everyone with the keyboard… Please don’t believe everything and judge based on your personal opinions.
— Kim Yoo Jin
Later, media updated that Kim Yoo Jin has regained consciousness but has not become verbal yet. Going through, Kim Yoo Jin’s family is said to have declared to “take legal action” against all malicious commenters.
My sister is not a bully. She is also a victim of verbal abuse. The fake online posts and malicious commenters pressured her to admit to bullying, but she was only trying to protect her loved ones from criticism.
— Kim Yoo Jin’s Older Sister
Meanwhile, the news of Kim Yoo Jin’s hospitalization has not changed how Korean netizens feel about the incident. Many remain disappointed in Kim Yoo Jin for her decisions.