In October, popular South Korean actor Kim Seon-ho's career nosedived after an allegation that he had coerced a woman into getting an abortion when they were dating was posted online. He was soon exonerated, and his career rebounded just as quickly.
Kim regained popularity and has been added to the cast of upcoming film Sad Tropical.
He's also become a spokesman for a variety of brands, having been dropped as an ambassador by other brands following the allegation, and losing work, including a role in the variety series 2 Days & 1 Night.
Following her initial, anonymous, online post, Kim's former girlfriend clarified the situation and accepted his apology, and media investigations exonerated him.
While some may view what happened to Kim as an example of a South Korean celebrity cancelling of "cancel culture", the roller-coaster ride the actor was subjected to is not a good barometer of what could happen to other celebrities accused of wrongdoing but who are then cleared.
"I don't think the industry will react more cautiously in the future," says Min Joo Lee, a professor in the Women's & Gender Studies department at Wellesley College in the United States, where she teaches about Korean drama and related race and gender dynamics.
"Initially, it looked like he was never going to be able to appear on television [again]; his advertisements were pulled from the internet and television, and he basically became 'he who must not be named'," Lee says.
Kim's case was different to other recent celebrity scandals in South Korea in which stars were accused of long-term harassment or of assaulting others sexually or verbally. He was alleged to have forced his ex into having an abortion to save his career.
Abortions were only decriminalised in South Korea this year, after a law was passed in 2019 following decades of debate over the legality and ethics of the procedure. Kim's alleged actions became a part of the conversation, and touched a nerve.
Another facet of the rapid backlash against the abortion allegation was that Kim's recent role in the popular romantic Korean drama Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha had helped burnish his reputation as a gentle, endearing heterosexual male in a country grappling with increasing concerns over how men view women and how they treat them in relationships.
The allegations shared by Kim's ex recalled recent stories of violence and abuse in relationships that have made headlines, and struck a chord with feminists advocating equality for women in South Korea, who face a backlash from an increasing number of men in the country.
"In South Korea, in the past few years, there have been a number of notorious cases of relationship violence where one partner suffered physical and/or psychological abuse from the other romantic partner and ended up dead or severely traumatised," Lee says.
"Due to those incidents, the public became especially aware and wary of gaslighting (manipulating someone so that they doubt their sanity) as one form of heinous psychological violence that occurs in romantic relationships … What Kim was initially accused of sounded like a prototypical case of gaslighting and psychological abuse."
The reaction to Kim's alleged behaviour was immediate, and spurred his defenders, including his ex, to clarify the situation, as the ramifications would undoubtedly be long-lasting and likely ruinous for the 35-year-old actor.
However, Lee thinks Kim's situation is likely to be the exception, not the rule.
Because of the intense impact of consumers and fan backlash when a star's shine fades following allegations of wrongdoing, the South Korean entertainment industry and investors are likely to continue to act swiftly at the first hint of wrongdoing, suggests Lee.
Supporting someone through a scandal is simply too big a risk to take, while it is far easier to be reactive to someone clearing their name, Lee says.
"[Companies] have a lot more to lose if they show loyalty to the celebrity and the allegations turn out to be true compared to if they cut all ties to the celebrity and then bring them back after they are cleared of allegations," she adds.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.