These celebrities are complaining of pain over rumors of them having chaebol sponsors.
At the center of the incident is Lee Jae-hwan, chairman of Property Holdings, the younger brother of CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun. Earlier, a media outlet reported some suspicions about Lee Jae-hwan‘s private life. This report also included content that Lee Jae-hwan was looking after a female celebrity who was close to him and has stepped in to get her recruited as a regular cast member of his affiliates’ programs. Lee Jae-hwan also told the representative of his affiliates company that this celebrity was interested in releasing an album.
As the rumor spread, speculation about the mentioned female celebrity related to Lee Jae-hwan was rampant. The most mentioned was IZ*ONE Choi Ye-na. However, Choi Ye-na immediately complained of injustice and clearly refuted this rumor. At that time, Choi Ye-na directly announced her position on the website of her agency, Yuehua Entertainment. She said, “I have been seeing my name appearing in such a shocking situation, and I’m firmly determined to write down a few things here. The moment I found out that I was mentioned in such a malicious rumor, which was completely untrue, is when I was eating at home,” she said.
Choi Ye-na revealed that it was painful for her name to be mentioned in an incident related to someone she has never met before. She said, “I’m just running for my dream and doing my job with all my best. I’m so angry and upset that there are so many people who believe that,” adding, “It hurts my heart to think about how surprised my fans must have been. I’m not the main character of the rumor. It has nothing to do with me,” she appealed.
Choi Ye-na‘s agency took the lead in protecting its artists, saying, “We are collecting evidence through continuous monitoring and reporting, and we will file a complaint through a law firm as soon as we finish collecting the data. We will continue to respond strongly without any leniency or agreement.”
Nevertheless, the rumor proved itself to be wrong. The next target was Lee Coco. Lee Coco gave a rather late explanation because she did not have an agency. She denied the rumors, saying that she only ate with Lee Jae-hwan for one meal, but later did not meet him publicly or privately.
Choi Ye-na said, “By the end of 2020, my mother’s friend had a chance to have a meal with Vice Chairman A (Lee Jae-hwan). My mother was very happy and made an appointment, so I met Vice Chairman A for the first time. Chairman A sent me messages a few times, but I only replied to him as an elder politely once or twice. I never shared a message with former chairman A that goes against my conscience,” she stressed.
The idol has appeared in CJ-affiliated OTT platform variety program “Transfer Love,” which supports the previous report on the suspicion on her relationship with Lee Jae-hwan. In this regard, Choi Ye-na said, “The casting was carried out after the production team saw my images such as on my Instagram. After several phone interviews and about two hours of on-site interviews over the period of two months, I was finally chosen as a cast member on the program,” she explained. She said she could even release her bank transfer history.
Meanwhile, Choi Ye-na received attention by appearing on Mnet’s “Produce 48” in 2018 and debuted as a member of project group IZ*ONE and gained huge popularity. She also showed excellent variety skills by appearing in “Prison Life of Fools,” “Girls High School Mystery Class,” and “Fireworks Handsome.” Lee Coco made her debut as a Blady member in 2013. Since then, she has worked as a member of the group Coco Sori in 2015. She He appeared in TVing’s original variety program “Transfer Love.”