Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenplay writer and author.
The Choiza-Sulli scandal is probably one of the funniest ones to have ever come out of Korean entertainment. There were so many ironies that forced fans to face the hypocrisy and realities that dominate the industry they so love.
Before we decide whose fault is this mess, let us understand several things.
Things to Understand
Sulli, a member if the girl group f(x), has been packaged as the kiddie innocent baby of SM. She has the face and demeanor for it. In variety shows, she has always been timid and giddy. She appears innocent and other people have subscribed to this by treating her like a little girl that must be cared for all the time.
Whether that demeanor is a put on or genuine is a different question altogether. That is what is being shown to the public. Hence, that is the "truth" that everyone knows.
Choiza, on the other hand, is the street thug who made a career in the most gangsta way possible. He is not conventionally good looking and hangs around equally thug friends who have been involved with drugs and other controversies that make Koreans question their morality.
When photos of Sulli walking hand in hand with Choiza came out, together with photos that seem to indicate Sulli spent the night at Choiza's place, SM entertainment denied any romantic relationship.
Immediately, speculations came about that the two are indeed in a relationship based on other photos and incidences that netizens generously scrutinized. With no word from either party, it looked like the rumor was going to die a natural death until Choiza lost his wallet containing photos of Sulli and him. This was followed by another photo of them on a date.
SM then confirmed the relationship and so did Amoeba, the agency Choiza owned.
There was so much anger towards the relationship and that is presumably the reason SM asked Sulli to go on an indefinite hiatus.
Netizens accused Sulli of being a hypocrite and a liar while Choiza was insulted for dating someone out of his league. Many fans expect Sulli to date another idol or a rich businessman or a Hollywood actor or a Prince. They felt she is stupid for dating Choiza while Choiza is an opportunist for hooking up with someone so young and fresh.
These reactions, no matter how silly, isn't at all that surprising. Koreans always reserve the right to demand a certain behavior from the celebrities they support and that includes who they should or shouldn't date.
Why Are Idols "forbidden" to fall in Love
It is no secret that contracts of idols include a "no dating clause". There are companies that don't impose this but they are few and far between. The question is why companies even forbid it.
It's hard to deny that celebrities are packaged in such a way that when you watch them grind their hips, it's like world peace depend on it. They come up suggestive promo photos even though it contributes to neither the form nor content of the material they are promoting.
With it comes the illusion of availability. They sell their looks and the fantasy of their bodies. They are objects to be had and if they are off the market, there isn't much point in selling them, right?
For fans to support these celebrities, they should be, no matter how remotely, "available" for the fans. Fans must be given that slight glimmer of hope that they have a chance.
It's All About Image
When boy bands or girl groups are formed, members are given an identity. There is the leader, the cute maknae (youngest), the mysterious one, the boy next door, the innocent and pure, and a whole lot of other personalities.
In Korean entertainment, the "art" is a secondary concern. Fans support celebrities based on their personalities. That is why new boy bands are given reality shows and are thrown into variety shows they showcase their "characters". If these celebrities manage to get attention, they garner fans even before their album is launched. In a sense, their popularity determines how much more investment their agency will make.
Sometimes, the management company isn't the one to assign the celebrity's image. DBSK famously said they were the ones who decided on their image.
The bottom line is that these supposed artists are packaged and made to sell their personalities from the get go.
The market is provided with an image of a celebrity and based on this image, they decide on the amount of support they will give. It is not the celebrity's craft or work that is sold, it's their personality. As such, when it is proven to be a fake, fans feel betrayed and no one likes being betrayed.
Their Personal Life is No One's Business
I ultimately agree that anyone's personal life is no one's business but if these idols agree too, they would not sign the contract or get into the industry. If one signs their name on the dotted line, it only means they agree to make their personal life someone else's business.
Others might argue that they want to work or perform. There are other ways to perform. The problem is that they participate in forming this illusion to achieve their goals and when they realize that there is a trade off to their ambition, they resent the very industry that afforded them their success. And yes, this is a story that is true even to North American young pop stars.
It is not an ideal situation but a realistic one and it will take more than a few idols speaking out against these unrealistic expectation for it to change.
I know people will say their success is a product of their hard work but it's the kind of work that fits the industry of the idol world.
An idol world kept afloat by devoted fanbases who buy those CDs by the hundreds just to make sure idols get their sales up. These are the fans that follow them in all of their concerts even if they have seen it ten times just to make sure their concert gets sold out.
For every action there is an equal reaction. You sell your personality, fans will expect to get what you sold them.
Further, if the celebrities feel that their personal life is no one's business, then why deny it in the first place? People could claim that these young idols don't have a choice but there is always a choice. The choice may be a career or termination of contract but there is always a choice.
If these celebrities opt to choose something else over their relationship then it may not be the right relationship or the right time. Either it's not a relationship worth fighting for or the idol isn't ready for the possible backlash because there will be backlash.
Back to Choiza and Sulli
The fans have some, as silly as it may sound, right to be angry. SM lied to them. After all the support they have shown Sulli, SM lied to them.
Is Sulli to blame?
Well, the girl fell in love. How do you go against that? Yeah, she participated in strengthening her baby image but she fell in love.
However, I don't think fans are angry about the fact that she fell in love but that she fell in love with Choiza. Much of the castigation is brought about by the fact that Sulli is dating a non-idol, a rapper who was born for the Korean Ghetto hip hop culture.
Choiza hit jackpot and Sulli is stupid for dating someone who is only occasionally recognizable.
What many miss is that Choiza writes his own songs and achieved mainstream success without a contract that includes a dating ban, an agency that hits him in the head for "wrong behavior" and people telling him what to do or say. He has his own company and manages other artists who have just as much freedom to pursue their artistry without signing a no dating clause.
Choiza is a self made man.
By all accounts, it is Choiza that's a good catch and it's Sulli who hit jackpot.
Fans cannot be denied of the right to be angry given everything that has been said but their anger shouldn't be directed at Choiza. It should be directed at SM for lying and subjecting idols to strict rules, haters for hating, (perhaps most importantly) themselves for not fighting for Sulli, and if they are pushing it, Sulli for fooling them.
The original story was published 6 years ago.
Sulli started an acting career when she was a child and was still a child when she joined f(x).
After the scandal, Sulli left the girl group f(x) but remained with SM Entertainment. She pursued an acting career and transitioned to more mature roles, completely breaking away from her girl group image. She asserted her independence and started working on building a more mature image. She also went on to launch a solo singing and hosting career.
Sulli took her own life which prompted talks against several long standing issues such as culture of hate and idol treatment. As of October 22, 2019, no concrete action has been taken.
Her celebrity friends has talked about Sulli's long standing battle against depression. Past interviews, social media posts and videos of her showing signs of and talking about depression have also resurfaced.
Depression is a far more complex problem. There is nothing more dangerous than people making assumptions about depression, causes of suicide and what may be done about it. If you are or someone you know is battling depression, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
To All Those Leaving a Comment
- Note that this story was originally published back in 2015. I updated it.
- Everyone is free to express whatever they want to express. Just note that if you use extreme curse words, the automated system will automatically withhold your comment from getting published. If you want to curse, I would suggest bleeping certain parts by using special characters. You may also just send me a message directly.
khaifa green on November 04, 2019:
No one can turn back time stop talking about someone who is gone forever....is there a law in this world that you cannot love someone older than you?
Originally looking for a factual article and came across this childish garbage. on November 01, 2019:
Yes, she used her own hands to kill herself, and no one else can be blamed for that. However, you are still one of the oppressors holding the sword to her neck walking her to the edge of the plank. Rethink your actions and find a new career. Money hunger and blind hatred has clearly corrupted everything in your life if you felt this was and still is appropriate to have released.
This Article Actually Made Sense on November 01, 2019:
TO ALL CLOSE MINDED NETIZENS:
This one is definitely in Sulli's side expressing agreement on Sulli's right to choose the person whom she loves the most.
DON'T YOU GET IT?
Sulli's TIRED OF HIDING some aspects of her personality in order to please people's expectations of her *cute* image. Don't u get how hard it is!?
Being in a relationship with Choiza gave her freedom which she never experienced before. Choiza keep her in touch of her mature self as a NORMAL growing woman. Choiza celebrated her femininity and expressed his adoration for Sulli through an ART which Sulli herself even shared and promoted.
Can't u imagine the anxiety in which artists goes through before presenting an art to the public? They would think over and over whether you'll like the song or what. But you all judged the song in the most superficial and shallow way. WTF
She had been a Child Star for ALMOST ALL OF HER LIFE. And for once YOU NEVER CONTRIBUTED TO ANY OF HER FREEDOM.
For Sulli on October 22, 2019:
People like you make me sick. Take this down, you monster.
Marco Lonmbi on October 18, 2019:
"The Choiza-Sulli scandal is probably one of the funniest ones to have ever come out of Korean entertainment."
So you think someone committing suicide is funny?
Grammar Police on October 16, 2019:
It was annoying to read with all the spelling and grammar errors I had to stop. You call yourself a professional? How standards have lowered. Next
Dave on October 15, 2019:
People like you should be blamed..u have such a conservative and an archaic mindset..don't act like you know everything, u are not even a celebrity in the first place . Being in a relationship is normal .we should appreciate their talent and how much effort these artists put in . U cannot control their life and moreover u can't date them in real life.don't ya? Western celebrities are loved even though they are married and even more divorced..sulli was a strong women but we can't change the fate.atleast let her rest in peace.this is lesson for everyone to stop cyber bullying being a celebrity is subjected to immense pressures .let's not lose any of our beloved celebrities anymore.let's love and appreciated them for what they are. P.s.she didn't do anything illegal so stop blaming her.#get a life ,read good books but then being educated doesn't neccesarily make a man modernized and rational..change uo mindset first.
Ugh on October 15, 2019:
You are so pathetic. This article wreaks of clout chasing after her death. Karma will get you!
Ss on October 15, 2019:
You are a horrible human being! She is dead because of the mindset of people like you!
“Choiza hit jackpot and Sulli is stupid for dating someone who is only occasionally recognizable”
Sulli just wanted to have freedom and support and Koreas mindset didn’t give that to her!
Even in death an article like this is criticizing her.
This should be removed!
P.s. Spell check your stupid article before publishing it.
Dude on October 14, 2019:
You really are disgusting. One day you will know.
Skye V on October 14, 2019:
Bad korean entertainment industry!
Dumb on October 14, 2019:
This article is dumb for calling her a liar. He looks and her way of being is not to blame. He isn’t to blame. Two people fell in love and the company denied it. That doesn’t make her “naughty or a liar”. The reasons are dumb and one sided. The person who wrote this article probably didn’t like the artist. May this person Rest In Peace. People learn to be nicer to one another.
Flowerapple on October 14, 2019:
What?! Choiza has also something to blame but the main culprits here are Netizens. Sulli can go out with whoever she wanst regarding her pure image, she was always a naughty baby. She liked funny people. The only thibg that makes us mad about her relationship is how she didn't are about anything and left everything behing to start a relationship with Choiza. When they broke up she didn't have anything left just a bunch of haters and few fans. I don't see people attackibg Choiza as much as how theu attacked Sulli (I don't mean I want to see them attacking him) but man just because she is the girl and she should behave in a certain way doesnt mean you have the right to hate on her is ridiculous.
Disgusted on October 14, 2019:
I read about a beautiful young woman dead by her own hand, and then I came about this disgusting article and I knew instantly why. I hope this is satire, but if it isn’t, you should immediately check into therapy, I hope Korea has mental institutions. You’re obviously one of those “trolls” who tormented this young woman and you need serious help.
Your article has zero logic. An “image” is fluid, we’re all young and innocent at one point and then we evolve. The man involved isn’t “unattractive”, that’s your bizarre opinion, and he’s not a “thug” lol, he’s an entertainer.
I had NO idea Korea has a medieval cultural mindset. I didn’t know women were “ruined” by dating someone while in their 20s in the current century. Maybe it’s a side effect of eating dogs and cats, but WTF ever it is, it needs to stop. May her death be a catalyst to bring Korea into the modern age and save other young women from the same fate.
Anonymous on October 14, 2019:
Sulli is dead.
Manoknapula on October 14, 2019:
Well you say blame SM or Sulli well now shes gone. Dead. The crippling depression she was trying to hide and mental stress that overcame her pushed her on the edge. Writing this kind of article is stupid. No matter what she was still human and she had her rights. Her fans are all to blame and you are too. If they really loved her if they were true fans they would've supported her rather than scrutinize her. She was young. At the age of 25 death comes knocking on her door. How would you have felt if this article was written and aimed at you rather than her? Hope death comes knocking on your door soon too. This was probably one of the articles that made her cry and rethink and evaluate her point of existence.
Anonymous on September 05, 2018:
Thats so dumb no one has the right to tell someone how there life goes if she chose him then she chose him it doesnt matter they have no say on who gets to love who and also people arent always gonna follow the rule shes an idol yeah but being an idol is hard you forget how to date how to socialize with a lover or person you only know fans and members so no one gets to judge her for who she is everyone does stupid things and thats ok.❤
a on November 20, 2017:
They met in 2013 so sulli was around 20 not 14
Kels on April 27, 2017:
I found some of this to be insightful and true, but the last part to be DISGUSTING.
For your article to imply that Choiza shouldn't be blamed at all, but Sulli should for "tricking the fans" is appalling and another example of men constantly getting a "get out of jail free card" and women being blamed for EVERYTHING.
Sulli is YOUNG- practically a baby when she started out, who has dreams of being an entertainer. Tell me, what exactly is she supposed to do when a powerful record executive assigns her an "image?" Say "No, that isn't me at all. I'm going to portray this image." I haven't heard of ANY rookie working for one of the major labels in Korea do anything like that. Even if there are one or two, the majority go with what the powerful record label tells them to do.
Choiza is older and has been in the entertainment industry longer so if you wanna point fingers I suggest you go with him and SM. These are powerful men exerting some sort of influence over a young girl. I'm not saying Sulli is 100% innocent, but she didn't maliciously "trick" anyone like you're implying. She was doing what her record label told her to do from the beginning and other idols do the same thing.
Daphnne on March 13, 2017:
I have no problem with Sulli dating anyone. But I have a huge problem with Choiza. I was a fan of Kpop since 2003 so I have been there when Kpop was not popular. Choiza has a lot of negative news and he likes to pretend he is close to famous celebrities by appearing at their party unannounced and bragging to people how close he is to big names like Rain, TVXQ etc.
I have no problem with 2 adults dating but when Sulli first met him she was only 14 or 15. Choiza claimed that he met her at Heechul's party which was even fan speculated that he went uninvited in the first place. Heechul never addressed Choiza's claims, however, he did say he supports Sulli in whatever she chose to do.
The beginnings of Choiza and Sulli is creepy because she is very young and has no experience with any guys while he could very well manipulate her into doing what he wants. I am not saying she is innocent or cute or pure. But a 15 year old who has no dating experience or ever had anyone courting her would easily be influenced by someone much older than her which is why we have laws protecting our children.
With Choizas' extensive back history of wanting to get attention, I wouldn't be surprised that he "accidentally" lost his wallet during F(x)'s comeback. When first news broke out about their first photo holding hands, I already told my friend that this would either happen again with more damning evidence of her leaving his house or a text message between the two would leak.
As expected, he "lost" his wallet.
He got more famous after dating Sulli and she went downhill after dating him . You cannot deny that he had some part in it, maybe telling her to be more "real" and that he is real so she should be all the while kept quoting her in his interviews so he gets more viewership.
Now Sulli is officially known as being a sex crazed and unwanted woman so he has to break off with her for his image.
Good job to him. Too bad Sulli didn't have someone to guide her and has been used by the dirty old men in the industry because of her beauty
MongJiH on November 30, 2016:
I have always loved Sulli, it sure is disappointing that she is no longer out there in the idol scene as to me, she is one if the best looking and talented female idols. Choiza is awesome too. I guess people should start respecting their idol's personal life decision. This is a true real life relationship. True love looks at no face and is based on no specific age. Unlike other relationships which look like its only for publicity.
ps: the writer needs to spell check and correct his/her grammar. the article is god but the english sucks.
DontGiveDamn on October 15, 2016:
Why would people get mad at her for falling in love with a thug? That man could protect her, I guess and probably she can learn something new about relationship. People can't decide what other people want in their relationship. Love have no booundaries.
geez on September 25, 2016:
This is a poorly written article with good ideas. Try organising your topics next time and use a thesaurus.
Akl12 on August 12, 2016:
He does drug aye that's why a lot of people criticize and also it's like a 30 years old dating a 14 years old,he's way older than her,sulli should look more carefully to who she's dating cuz he have thug friends and get involve with some shit stuff.She's a good person but the person she's dating umm *confused* at first yeah I thought he was a uncle or dad or friend or something then these articles *dating*. I found out their age apart and it's kinda shocking what it's like.*laughing* "is this real" *yeah it is* Dating him might change her as a person.
Maya on July 24, 2016:
dejoker_cassie on April 25, 2015:
hai, i like your analysis in this issue. honestly i luvv(and agree) almost all your posts about running man, korean boyband,etc. like,people shouldn't throw hate to choiza only, sully also responsible for her "image" she built and contract she promised with SM.
ps:if you have time, can you please fix the words? your explanations always good,but the words(in this article) makes me confused like "of" being replaced with "is", and many more. just advice for better reading. Thanks alot btw..
Fairlane Raymundo (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 18, 2015:
@marlene b thank you. It is stricter in Japan
Marlene Bertrand from USA on March 18, 2015:
I found this to be very fascinating. I didn't know some celebrities had a "no dating" clause, but I guess it makes sense. Since they are being packaged to appear as a certain image, then remaining unattached might make them more appealing to their fans. Your article is quite enjoyable and enlightening.