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‘Heart Signal’ under fire for participant with assault record

Kim Kang-yeul, a participant on Channel A’s dating reality show, “Heart Signal 3.” (Channel A)
Kim Kang-yeul, a participant on Channel A’s dating reality show, “Heart Signal 3.” (Channel A)

Channel A reality TV show “Heart Signal” is again under fire for one of its participant’s past actions.

A woman in her 20s told the media on Friday that she was awarded 2 million won ($1,660) in damages after suing one of the participants on the third season of “Heart Signal” for kicking her in the stomach at a club in January 2017.

Following the report, Kim Kang-yeul posted an apology on Instagram on Friday, admitting to the attack.

“It’s been 4 years, and I have been trying to not make the same mistake before and after the event. However, this is a side of me and my actions,” said Kim.

Kim claimed he was too focused on protecting his girlfriend at the time and tried to separate the victim and his girlfriend, who were in a quarrel. He also claimed that both sides had been at fault, but he had wanted to close the case so that the victim would not be further troubled.

The victim refuted Kim’s account of the event, saying one of her friends had accidentally bumped into one of Kim’s friends in a narrow corridor for which the friend apologized multiple times. Although Kim’s friend said it was okay, Kim started pushing the victim and using expletives.

This is not the first time Kim’s actions have been questioned. Kim was also rumored to have been close with many people involved with the Burning Sun club, which was investigated for sex crimes and drug use last year.

“Although the member could have gone to clubs, he is known to have no connection to the incidents in question,” the show’s producers said in March.

Kim is not the first participant of the third season of “Heart Signal” to have evoked criticism on the show’s casting. Participants Lee Ga-heun and Chun Ahn-na were accused of bullying classmates before the show even began airing in March. Producers denied the rumors and the show proceeded as planned.

Previous seasons’ participants have also been charged with crimes. Kang Sung-wook from the first season was charged with rape after he appeared in the program and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in March. Kim Hyun-woo from the second season was caught for drunk driving three times, the latest incident happening while his season was airing.

“Heart Signal” is a reality TV show in which single Korean men and women in their 20s and 30s live together for a month in the same house and go on dates, and celebrity panelists try to guess which participants end up as couples.

As the currently airing program was recorded in the winter, the participants have since returned to their regular lives. Although concerns over the actions and backgrounds of the show’s non-celebrity participants continue to plague the show, producers have not edited or blurred out participants in question.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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