Ahn Gil-ho, the director of Netflix’s popular revenge K-drama “The Glory,” has recently admitted to bullying allegations.
Season 1, Part 2 of “The Glory,” which tells the story of a woman who develops an elaborate plan to exact revenge on her high school bullies, was released on March 10. The show has become Netflix’s most-viewed television series for the second week in a row, viewed a total of 123.59 million hours and surpassing other hit series such as “You” (64.06 million hours) and “Shadow and Bone” (50.4 million hours).
Shortly before the premiere of Part 2, bullying allegations involving Ahn surfaced online.
In a March 10 post titled “The Glory Drama PD perpetrator of school violence” that was shared on Hey Korean, an online community for Koreans living in the U.S., the alleged victim, A, accused Ahn of physically assaulting him and his friends while they were students in the Philippines in 1996.
According to A, they studied at different schools: Ahn was a third-year high school student while A was a second-year middle school student. The incident purportedly took place after A and his friends teased a female middle school student from their school whom Ahn was dating.
A claimed that he and his friends were assaulted by Ahn and about 10 other older students for around two hours. Ahn purportedly interrogated them to find out who was making fun of his girlfriend, but A and his friends did not speak up. A also said that Ahn threatened to stab them with a knife.
Due to how popular “The Glory” has become, A was made aware of Ahn’s success via a group chat made for alumni from his former school.
“Honestly, if Ahn Gil-ho is living well, I don’t want to take issue with it,” A. said. “However, I ended up revealing everything because it was absurd and unforgivable that a perpetrator of school violence directed a show raising awareness about school violence.”
A also said that he and his friends are ready to testify if Ahn were to deny or take legal action against the accusations, writing, “What we want is justice. Isn’t that why people shouldn’t do this? It’s so disgusting.”
According to local reports, Ahn initially denied the allegations shortly after A. made his post.
“It is true that I studied in the Philippines for about a year, but I have never been involved in a physical conflict with Korean students,” he said.
“I don’t remember hitting someone in a group. In the drama I made, I tried to convey a message that the perpetrators do not remember, but the victims do. However, I have to tell you that in this situation right now, I don’t remember,” he continued.
Immediately following the initial allegations, Studio Dragon, the production company of “The Glory,” said they would look into the situation.
On March 12, Ahn corroborated A’s statement and issued an apology through Jipyong Law Firm.
Ahn’s lawyer, Kim Moon-hee, released a statement on his behalf that read:
We ask for your understanding that it took some time to release a response to the initial report.
Director Ahn Gil-ho had a girlfriend while studying abroad in the Philippines in 1996, and after hearing that his girlfriend was made fun of at school because of him, he became momentarily emotional and inflicted an unforgettable wound.
[Ahn] asks for forgiveness from the bottom of his heart to those who have been hurt through this. If the opportunity arises, [Ahn] would also like to meet in person or talk through the phone to convey his apology.
[Ahn] apologizes for causing controversy over an unfortunate matter.
Ahn also issued a follow-up statement via his law firm to Korean news outlet Sports Chosun:
[Ahn] does not want to make excuses for the details one by one. Each person remembers different parts because it happened 27 years ago. Most of all, [Ahn] was afraid that the incident would become distorted due to his faint memory.
According to Ahn’s lawyer, the director reached out to his friends from that time to help recall his school days.
Amid the rising backlash from netizens in South Korea, two people who allegedly studied abroad in the Philippines at the same time as Ahn spoke about the incident with local news outlet Yonhap News Agency.
One of the individuals told the news outlet that they clearly remembered the incident as shocking because of how seriously injured the victim and his friends were, saying, “It doesn’t make sense that Ahn didn’t know about the children who were hit. At the time, it was such a big topic and rumors spread.”
The second individual said they consider Ahn to be absurd and brazen, given that he has conducted several interviews related to “The Glory” about school violence.