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Singer warns of legal action for negative comment on his entry ban

Korean-American singer Yoo Seung-jun took to social media Sunday to denounce a reporter who criticized his request for an entry visa to Korea. Yoo was barred from entering Korea in 2002 for abandoning his Korean citizenship to avoid mandatory military service. Yonhap
Korean-American singer Yoo Seung-jun took to social media Sunday to denounce a reporter who criticized his request for an entry visa to Korea. Yoo was barred from entering Korea in 2002 for abandoning his Korean citizenship to avoid mandatory military service. Yonhap

By Lee Gyu-lee

Singer and actor Yoo Seung-jun, also known as his English name Steve Yoo, publicly criticized a reporter, Sunday, who made negative comments about his attempts to lift a de facto ban on him visiting the country, threatening legal action against her.

The issue erupted when local news outlet CBS reporter Seo Yeon-mi expressed her opinion on the ban on a live-streaming show in July. The panel on the show discussed the July 11 Supreme Court ruling that was in favor of Yoo who became subject to the ban in 2002 for avoiding mandatory military service by renouncing his Korean citizenship and choosing U.S. nationality.

The former '90s superstar had an application for an entry visa rejected recently.

Seo said she was a former fan of Yoo but expressed disappointment and anger toward him for applying for an entry visa.

"I don't think he should be allowed. I don't know why he wants to come back…..I used to think of him as a perfect person, my idol," she said. "So it came as such a shock to me. I still think his conduct was reprehensible," calling his actions an act of betrayal.

She also pointed out the fact Yoo sought an F-4 visa ― a visa given to ethnic Koreans overseas. "He is currently working in China and the U.S, in which he has to pay taxes for the income earned from abroad. But in Korea, he doesn't have to pay taxes for that income," she noted. "So it's more profitable for him to work in Korea (with the visa) and the U.S."

Yoo posted the clip of her from the show on his Instagram account and called her out, accusing her of spreading false information about him. He tagged Seo's account in the statement and commented, "I don't know whether you are bold or stupid…but I hope you can make those outrageous remarks to my face."

He also said he was seeking an apology or would take legal action.

Soon after Yoo's post went viral, Seo responded on her social media saying, "I want to ask him whether or not he's qualified enough to talk about false statements and conscience." She also compared him to the tens of thousands of men who fulfilled their military duties. "It would devastate those men to see someone recklessly lying solely for his own career."

Seo switched her social media profile to private after the post.

Yoo debuted as a singer in 1997 as a solo artist in Korea. He quickly rose to stardom after the debut, making him a superstar.

But his fall from grace came when he was granted a trip to the U.S. on the basis of visiting his family a month before his scheduled military service. He took up sole U.S citizenship on the trip in an apparent attempt to avoid military duty.

While working as a singer and actor in the U.S. and China, Yoo has attempted to get an entry visa for the past few years. In 2015, he filed a lawsuit against the South Korean consulate in Los Angeles for refusing to issue him the visa.

Last July's ruling by the Supreme Court did not overturn a lower court decision in favor of the Los Angeles consulate general's rejection of Yoo's request, however it ordered the court to review the case, stating the consulate violated administrative procedures and protocol.


Korean-American singer Yoo Seung-jun took to social media Sunday to denounce a reporter who criticized his request for an entry visa to Korea. Yoo was barred from entering Korea in 2002 for abandoning his Korean citizenship to avoid mandatory military service. Yonhap
Korean-American singer Yoo Seung-jun took to social media Sunday to denounce a reporter who criticized his request for an entry visa to Korea. Yoo was barred from entering Korea in 2002 for abandoning his Korean citizenship to avoid mandatory military service. Yonhap

By Lee Gyu-lee

Singer and actor Yoo Seung-jun, also known as his English name Steve Yoo, publicly criticized a reporter, Sunday, who made negative comments about his attempts to lift a de facto ban on him visiting the country, threatening legal action against her.

The issue erupted when local news outlet CBS reporter Seo Yeon-mi expressed her opinion on the ban on a live-streaming show in July. The panel on the show discussed the July 11 Supreme Court ruling that was in favor of Yoo who became subject to the ban in 2002 for avoiding mandatory military service by renouncing his Korean citizenship and choosing U.S. nationality.

The former '90s superstar had an application for an entry visa rejected recently.

Seo said she was a former fan of Yoo but expressed disappointment and anger toward him for applying for an entry visa.

"I don't think he should be allowed. I don't know why he wants to come back…..I used to think of him as a perfect person, my idol," she said. "So it came as such a shock to me. I still think his conduct was reprehensible," calling his actions an act of betrayal.

She also pointed out the fact Yoo sought an F-4 visa ― a visa given to ethnic Koreans overseas. "He is currently working in China and the U.S, in which he has to pay taxes for the income earned from abroad. But in Korea, he doesn't have to pay taxes for that income," she noted. "So it's more profitable for him to work in Korea (with the visa) and the U.S."

Yoo posted the clip of her from the show on his Instagram account and called her out, accusing her of spreading false information about him. He tagged Seo's account in the statement and commented, "I don't know whether you are bold or stupid…but I hope you can make those outrageous remarks to my face."

He also said he was seeking an apology or would take legal action.

Soon after Yoo's post went viral, Seo responded on her social media saying, "I want to ask him whether or not he's qualified enough to talk about false statements and conscience." She also compared him to the tens of thousands of men who fulfilled their military duties. "It would devastate those men to see someone recklessly lying solely for his own career."

Seo switched her social media profile to private after the post.

Yoo debuted as a singer in 1997 as a solo artist in Korea. He quickly rose to stardom after the debut, making him a superstar.

But his fall from grace came when he was granted a trip to the U.S. on the basis of visiting his family a month before his scheduled military service. He took up sole U.S citizenship on the trip in an apparent attempt to avoid military duty.

While working as a singer and actor in the U.S. and China, Yoo has attempted to get an entry visa for the past few years. In 2015, he filed a lawsuit against the South Korean consulate in Los Angeles for refusing to issue him the visa.

Last July's ruling by the Supreme Court did not overturn a lower court decision in favor of the Los Angeles consulate general's rejection of Yoo's request, however it ordered the court to review the case, stating the consulate violated administrative procedures and protocol.


Lee Gyu-lee gyulee@koreatimes.co.kr


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