DIVE Studios, founded by Eric Nam and his brothers, is home to many podcasts, including Get Real and Daebak Show w/ Eric Nam, as well as the variety show Hwaiting. Some of the hottest Korean celebrities, including K-Pop idols, have hosted and guested on these shows.
— DIVE Studios (@thedivestudios) July 21, 2023
Their latest podcast, however, has been receiving criticism due to one of the three hosts.
Let's welcome singer, actor and MC @heejun_han to the table! 👏
In today’s ep, we’re talking about #KPop. Back in the early 2000s, the term ‘K-Pop’ wasn’t even familiar to Koreans, but during the past decade, the industry has shown rapid growth. But where do we go from here? 🎶 pic.twitter.com/DU8JvCBaXD
— DIVE Studios (@thedivestudios) June 24, 2021
NCTzens were excited when DIVE Studios revealed that NCT‘s Ten and Yangyang would be hosting the new program Unbelievable. Fans of solo singer Han Heejun were eager to see him too act as a moderator between the two on the debate-style show. Yet, some of his comments left viewers disappointed.
During the first episode, which was released on August 3, Heejun shared an “unbelievable” TMI story, confessing that he realized how pretty his hairdresser was only after she lost weight. Later in the episode, he unnecessarily made a fat joke about Santa Claus.
I went to the hair shop, and my designer lost her weight. I had no idea she was that pretty before she lost that weight.
— Han Heejun
Viewers were disturbed by Han Heejun’s comments and requested DIVE Studios to remove him as a host. Later, netizens called out DIVE Studios for quietly editing out the problematic moments without acknowledging and apologizing for it.
yangyang and ten's faces when heejun was telling that tmi… i personally do not want to be on the receiving end of yangyang's stare. ten just blinking repeatedly as if he can't believe what he's hearing and his smile fading… please don't set them up like this @thedivestudios… pic.twitter.com/MXragw8wDA
— Ellie (@weishellie) August 4, 2023
Editing it out doesn't change the fact that we all know Heejun is an unrepentant sexist, fat phobic person and all that Dive Studios will apparently do is try to cover it up and not take any accountability. Even more disappointed and I didn't think I could be. Unbelievable. Lol https://t.co/6HgGkE0z8C
— chenace to society (@acaffeination) August 4, 2023
— 🥨 yogurt shake (@blue_jinsouI) August 4, 2023
They also pointed out that Heejun’s offensive “jokes” are hypocritical to DIVE Studios’ image as a diverse company that prioritizes mental health, inclusion, etc.
i need that heejun man gone, how r u guys' whole concept positivity and diversity and acceptance yet let a man who makes fatphobic and weird comments on your podcast and POST it . Unbelievable indeed . ten and yangyang could easily lead the show without him https://t.co/nCSrh8yV82
— iris (@kunsnem) August 4, 2023
considering that you have an app dedicated to self care and mental health, i think it would be better to address this properly instead of sneakily removing those parts (and make sure it never happens again) ! @thedivestudios #UNBELIEVABLEShow #DIVEStudios
— surreal wayv clips (@surrealwyvclips) August 4, 2023
Now, Han Heejun’s past comments have resurfaced in light of his current controversy.
Netizens previously remembered that Han Heejun had finished ninth place on the eleventh season of American Idol. He made questionable jokes even back then but was known for his humor. He teased the judges about their appearances.
so i just found out that the guy who's going to host asc with jimin and seungmin, Han Heejun, auditioned for american idol season 11 and he was pretty savage JSJDAKJFKA pic.twitter.com/UL5ehEhigd
— anna 🙂 (@glowjeongin) July 18, 2018
A couple of years later, he was a finalist in the top six of K-pop Star 3. In 2018, he co-hosted After School Club, replacing eaJ (also known as DAY6‘s Jae).
Now, netizens are realizing that he has made fatphobic comments before. In April 2020, Girls’ Generation‘s Sunny shared a couple of cute selfies, captioned, “I love myself.” She included hashtags about wanting to eat but also lose weight.
I love myself #toomuch #😝 #I treasure myself a lot, obviously
#Don’t wanna lose even a gram of myself
#When am I going to lose weight?
#You do you, Soonkyu, whatever you want
#Eat whatever you want
#Pilates instructor-nim, I love you
#Covering up my plump cheeks
A few celebrity friends left comments, including K-Pop backup dancer Cha Hyun Seung and actor Kim Ji Seok. Cha just laughed while Kim commented, “Thank you” (fan fact: he’s known her since elementary school). On the other hand, Han Heejun commented, “We all need somebody fat to lean on.”
han heejun's comments tho! lmao
wHO iS fAt????
sunny, you're not fat for pizza sake! pic.twitter.com/3IR50FtaTH
— Soonkyuner Or Later (@SoonkyunerLater) April 22, 2020
Some netizens have resurfaced the comment, quote-tweeting DIVE Studios.
— 왜 (@kittensive) August 4, 2023
Yet, Han Heejun himself has been subject to comments about his image, having lost weight in the public eye. He previously shared how he lost weight.
I lost about 10kg (approx. 22lbs) compared to my last album. Since ‘American Idol’, I lost 39kg (approx. 64lbs). But I lost it in the span of 5 years so I did it in a fairly healthy way. I stopped eating sugar, rice, flour, salt, and other white food while eating all kinds of vegetables and meat.
— Han Heejun
Wait nagulat ako, Han Heejun looks soooo much different now pala. He was so adorable and chubby during his Idol days, look at how beautiful he is oh my gahd pic.twitter.com/jT9JYwVeTc
— ela✨ (@jonginohmymy) October 25, 2019
Despite all this, Heejun has also been seen to be supportive of fellow K-Pop stars, such as his After School Club co-host JAMIE, when she mentioned her weight.
Jimin said she gained some weight and Heejun told her that she looks amazing as always, he’s literally ALL OF US 😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/cgmQfZNWaw
— Cass (@jjamieism) October 30, 2018
At this time, DIVE Studios has deleted Han Heejun’s offensive comments during Unbeliavable but has not made a statement. Read more below.