Steve Yoo holds live interview again, possibly heard swearing off-camera

Steve Yoo holds live interview again, possibly heard swearing off-camera
The Korean public has generally responded to Yoo Seung-jun's broadcast apology and requests to reenter Korea with incredulity and rejection -- signaling minimal change in their stance 13 years ago.

The Korean media and public show no signs of altering its unsympathetic response to singer-actor Steve Yoo, who gave a second live interview covering his 13-year exile from Korea over military controversies a week after his first in-depth interview.

Steve Yoo, born Yoo Seung-jun, was deported from Korea over the suspected evasion of his mandatory military service in 2002. Yoo spoke in detail for the first time concerning the reasons he chose to renounce his Korean citizenship in favour of his US citizenship on May 19.

Yoo took part in second online broadcast on the same Korean platform Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., during which he answered the public's questions directly to the camera.

Yoo expressed resentment over the media backlash following his first interview, which many criticised as coming too late. Yoo, 38, passed the upper age limit for mandatory military service this year.

He said he tried to enlist before becoming invalid for conscription, but belatedly found out that the raised upper age limit did not apply to those born before 1980. At any rate, military officials have said that a "foreigner" cannot enlist in the Korean Army.

"I'm thankful that I could relay my feelings and apologies to the Korean public after 13 years, even though I did feel uncomfortable," said Yoo, adding that the decision to speak out after so long was not an easy one.

Yoo said during his first interview that previous attempts to apologise to the Korean public had been misrepresented by the media.

"Today's (second) interview is not to heighten the controversies, but because I felt that I was being portrayed as a liar. I hope you will understand my true feelings," said Yoo.

"I also asked myself why I was choosing to speak up now. I want to become a honourable father to my (two sons). Otherwise, I feel like I would have become a failure. I apologise, I didn't intend to cause such trouble," said Yoo, who broke down in tears for a second time.

Yoo said that he "didn't care" if he could not resume his celebrity activities in Korea and would be willing to enlist in the Korean military "tomorrow." He repeated his apology to the Korean public and to military officials.

"I want to teach my children that they are ethnically Korean. After some time, it will be their choice (which citizenship to take on)," said Yoo.

The filming staff, however, failed to disconnect equipment after the live interview, which caught a voice off-camera swearing and saying that "articles are going to come up" along with "requests for a third interview."

It is unclear whether the speaker was Yoo or not. The online platform, however, posted an apology, saying the comments were intended for the staff crew, not viewers.

Yoo was a successful K-pop singer who debuted in 1997, but he faced an abrupt halt to his career when he gave up his Korean citizenship after becoming a naturalized US citizen shortly before his scheduled enlistment date. All able-bodied Korean men are required to serve in the military for about two years.

 

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