Time for a new publicist, perhaps? One week after enraging scores of South Koreans in his first interview in 13 years on why he dodged mandatory military enlistment by becoming an American citizen, 38-year-old former K-pop star Yoo Seungjun (also known as Steve Yoo) once again broke down in tears, in a second Q&A aired Tuesday morning by the website AfreecaTV.
In a moment unlikely to aid Yoo’s plea to the South Korean government to allow him back into the country despite skipping out on army service, the end of the interview featured what some news outlets have speculated is the pop star-turned actor cursing, in a dialog presumably unintended for broadcast .
“Articles are coming out right now,” one voice is heard saying off camera .
“Because he’s ad-libbing,” another answers.
“They’re asking when we’re going to do a third broadcast?” That’s when a voice suspected of being Yoo is heard shouting an expletive, followed by the apparent discovery that the video was still rolling.
“Hey, this is still on!” someone exclaims.
Formerly one of South Korea’s biggest stars, Yoo, who sold over 5 million albums before moving to the US in 2002, claims it was never his intention to avoid military service.
In the first tearful interview , conducted by the Korean director Shin Hyeon Won on May 19, the actor claimed it was his parents (both living in the US at the time) who insisted that he apply for US citizenship.
“My parents’ attempts to persuade me were the most influential [in the decision to defect],” Yoo said.
“My father said deciding to enlist could actually be the more selfish option.” Several Korean government officials were quick to dismiss Yoo’s attempts to regain his citizenship .
Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province mayor Lee Jae Myung wrote the whole interview off as a media stunt.
“How can we change or violate the law for 50 million Koreans for one foreigner?” Lee asked in a post published online following the interview.
“Yoo knows it is impossible, but is again showing contempt for Koreans who are easily moved by tears.” Deputy military spokesperson Kim Yong Doo told Korea Herald reporter Sarah Yoon that the idea was unthinkable.
“There is not even a .001 percent that the ban against Yoo will be lifted,” he said.
“National law clearly states that those who attempt to evade their military service by acquiring foreign citizenship cannot recover their Korean citizenship.
There is no plan to further discuss this matter.” In Tuesday’s interview, Yoo who passed the age in which South Korean men are required to enlist, earlier this year, said he was attempting to resolve the issue for his kids.
“I’ll be 40 before I know it and I have two sons,” Yoo said.
“I did it so I could be a proud father to my children.
I had to face my mistakes.
It was upsetting that what I had to say was not received very well, but that is entirely my fault.” It was when the looked into the camera and plead for the people of South Korea to forgive him, that Yoo could no longer contain his emotions.
“It hurts so much to be portrayed as a liar,” he said, as the tears streamed down his face.
“I’m here to apologize for not being able to keep my promise to everyone 13 years ago, and to be able to stand tall as a father.
But I’m still seen as a liar and it’s hard…I’m very sorry, as it looks like I’m shameless, but I hope you’ll understand and believe me.”