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Agencies Consider Suspending Ads With Lee Byung Hun and Han Hyo Joo

BY Julie Jones | Sep 19, 2014 09:50 AM EDT

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Although actor Lee Byung Hun was the victim in a blackmail attempt that he reported to police, the surrounding publicity resulting from the scandal has prompted a petition to remove him from TV ads. The petition also cites his BH Entertainment labelmate actress Han Hyo Joo, whose family is involved in a separate controversy.

Lee Byung Hun's scandal began on Aug. 20 when he reported a blackmail attempt by two women, later identified as GLAM singer Dahee and model Lee Ji Yeon. The women asked for $5 million or they would release video footage of the married actor having an inappropriate conversation about sexual preferences.

Lee Ji Yeon's attorney later claimed that the blackmail attempt was an emotional reaction to Lee Byung Hun wanting to break off their three-month relationship. He denied that he had a relationship with her and claimed that he only met the women because they knew a mutual friend. After a police search found the smartphone that the conversation was recorded on, both women were arrested and charged with blackmail.

The actor issued an apology for any responsibility he had in creating the scandal and causing his family pain. He married actress Lee Min Jung in a lavish celebrity wedding last year.

Despite his apology, the publicity is still having a negative effect on the actor's career.

A few days after the arrest a petition with a reported 4,000 signatures was posted on the site Daum Agora. It stated that while the petitioners could choose not to see movies and dramas, which featured the actor, they could not avoid seeing him on television in advertisements. The petition requested that he be suspended from all advertising activities.

According to an article in 10Asia, some of the commercial production companies have responded to the petition by halting his ads. Others are still deciding what they will do.

Actress Han Hyo Joo was also cited in the same petition for an unrelated controversy. The only connection between her and the Lee Byung Hun scandal is that they are represented by the same agency and they co-starred in the film "Masquerade." She has not personally been involvd in any scandal but her younger brother was accused of assaulting and bullying a soldier during his military service last year. Those signing the petitions said she should be responsible for her brother's actions and be suspended from serving as an advertising spokesperson.

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