By Lee Hyo-won
Television star Choi Cheol-ho has come clean on assaulting a woman, which he had earlier denied, and announced Sunday that he will leave the cast of ``Dong-yi.’’ The makers of the popular period drama have accepted his decision, they said on the MBC website.
The 40-year-old actor was under police investigation on charges of attacking an aspiring actress last Thursday at a drinking party. He denied the charges until footage from a surveillance camera confirmed his violent act the following day. Netizens vehemently criticized Choi for lying about the incident.
He has since admitted the offense and expressed regret during a press conference Sunday in a Seoul hotel. He also posted a message on the TV drama’s official website: ``First of all I give my heartfelt apologies to `Dong-yi’ fans for the scandalous incident. The least I can do is to leave the cast as part of my punishment.’’
The makers of the series said they are respecting the actor’s decision and are in the process of editing the script. Choi will continue to appear in the drama for some time for a more natural departure.
Choi was drinking with actor Son Il-gwon and the aspiring actress, identified by her surname Kim, at a restaurant in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, around 2 a.m., Thursday. A quarrel broke out when Kim criticized his acting, resulting in physical violence.
``We were drinking while talking about acting, and I couldn’t control my emotions and made the mistake. Everything is my fault and I will accept any form of punishment,’’ he said. ``I was afraid of losing everything after being plucked from such a long period of obscurity,’’ he explained his reasons for initially denying the assault. ``It was foolish and cowardly, but I lied rashly without even thinking.’’
Choi rose to stardom last year through the hit TV soap ``My Wife Is a Superwoman’’ and has appeared in ``Still Marry Me.’’
최철호, 폭행 실토, TV역 그만 둬
여성 폭행을 부인했던 TV 탈렌트 최철호(40)씨가 사실을 털어 놓았다. 일요일 그는 또 "동의"역을 그만 두겠다고 발표했다. MBC 역사극 제작진은 그의 결정을 수락했다고 방송국 웹사이트에 밝혔다.
최씨는 지난 목요일 저녁 주연에서 배우 지망생을 폭행한 혐의로 경찰의 조사를 받고 있다. 그 이튿날 감시 카메라가 폭행 장면을 확인해 주기 전까지 그는 이 혐의를 완강히 부인했으나 이에 대해 네티즌들의 항의가 빗발쳤다.
일요일 서울의 한 호텔에서 가지 기자회견에서 그는 폭력을 인정하고 유감을 표시했다. 그는 또 TV 드라마의 공식 웹사이트에 "먼저 '동이' 팬들에게 이 사건과 관련 진심으로 사과를 드리며 벌의 일부로 제가 할 수 있는 최소한의 것이 배역을 그만두는 것"이라고 메시지를 올려 놓았다.