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Celebrities get caught up in parents’ debt

Nov 28,2018
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Singer Rain, left, and rapper Dok2, have each been mired in controversy regarding the unpaid debts of their parents. [ILGAN SPORTS]
After revelations that rapper Microdot’s parents committed fraud were made public last week, a streak of testimonies has been revealed claiming that the parents of a number of celebrities have pocketed other people’s money in the past. While rapper Dok2 took to Instagram to explain himself regarding his mother, singer Rain’s agency stated that he would try to work things out with the person making the claims.

Rapper Dok2, famous not only for his rapping skills but for flaunting his wealth, went live on Instagram on Monday evening after news came out over the weekend concerning his mother. According to numerous internet posts and news reports, Dok2’s mother took out a 10 million won ($8,851) loan 20 years ago, but did not paid the money back because when she was sued, she had declared bankruptcy.

There may be no legal issues here, but the rapper definitely angered people through his explanation of the situation. “If it was 1 billion, 2 billion or 10 billion won, then I would apologize and pay. But saying all this over just 10 million won is bull,” said Dok2. He added, “Ten million won might not be a small amount, but it’s just a month’s worth of meals for me.”

The rapper uploaded a video of his dog soon after, and the comments were full of criticisms for his imprudent remarks. “The fact is that she borrowed money and never paid, and she went broke because she didn’t have the ability to pay back something that’s just a month’s meal amount, isn’t it?” read one comment with over 100 likes.

On Tuesday evening, however, the rapper uploaded another post, stating his plans to pay back the victim. “My parents’ restaurant went bankrupt in 2002,” wrote Dok2. “But I became aware of this just after news broke. I got in touch with the victim last night and talked out our misunderstandings.”

On Monday, an anonymous user uploaded a post in an online community detailing how the singer Rain’s parents took out a loan of 17 million won’s worth of rice and 8 million won in cash from their parents in 1988 and never paid them back. The family ran a rice shop inside Yongmun Market in central Seoul next to a tteok (rice cake) shop owned by Rain’s parents. The post included photographs of the promissory note and a bill for the outstanding amount.

“We asked them to pay us back but they never did, saying that their financial state was a disaster,” read the post. “My parents are now over 60 years old. We’ve tried writing to Rain and calling him, but we never actually got in touch with him. We can’t sue now because it’s passed the statute of limitations, and we do not have the ability to do so.”

Following the post, the singer’s agency Rain Company stated through an official press release that the singer would meet up with the author of the post. “Because the post was about the singer’s late mother, it took time for us to figure things out. We will look into what really happened and try our best to solve the issue,” the statement read.

Rain’s father met with the author of the post on Tuesday afternoon, but failed to come to an agreement regarding the amount that should be paid back.

The recent round of controversies has gotten mixed reactions from people. People seem divided over whether to criticize a celebrity over a crime they didn’t commit themselves, or to side with the victims.

On Sunday, comedian Hwang Hyeon-hee wrote a column for local news outlet Sports World titled “Celebrity and collective punishment” which touched on how celebrities are stepping away from their jobs due to sins committed by family members. “I’m curious, to what point are we going to tie up the entertainment industry to the bonds of collective punishment?” wrote Hwang.

“Let’s just think about it: How would I feel if I was not accepted into a company or couldn’t go to school because my parent’s faults were revealed in the future? There would be a fury over human rights and private life issues. Celebrities are people too: being famous shouldn’t deny them access to basic human rights."

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]