Earlier this year, TV personality Hong Seok Cheon grabbed the spotlight when he kissed Single’s Inferno star Kim Jin Young (also known as Dex) at the Blue Dragon Series Awards.
Last July, Kim Jin Young won the award for Best New Male Entertainer at the 2nd Blue Dragon Series Awards. When his name was announced, he got up to receive the award, and Hong Seok Cheon kissed him on the cheek.
This moment gained a lot of attention as people wondered if the two of them had planned this or if Hong Seok Cheon had done it spontaneously.
On a recent episode of SBS‘s Strong Heart VS that aired on December 12, Hong Seok Cheon appeared as a guest and clarified the “Dex kiss” incident, explaining that he had a reason why he did it.
Dex was a rookie candidate for the New Entertainer Award that day, and I had a hunch he would win. With the thought that I should push Dex for publicity, we had a pre-arranged agreement to do it.
— Hong Seok Cheon
And his plan worked! Many articles about Hong Seok Cheon’s friendly cheek kiss were on the news. One of the hosts, Jun Hyun Moo, exclaimed that Hong Seok Cheon had a talent for picking out stars before they became famous, and Hong Seok Cheon agreed.
I followed soccer player Cho Gue Sung before he became famous. I also noticed Jung Hyuk first.
— Hong Seok Cheon
After the Blue Dagon Series Awards, Hong Seok Cheon took to Instagram to clarify the kiss to avoid misunderstanding. Kim Jin Young also commented on the kiss a few months later, saying he wanted it and was “not one bit uncomfortable with it.”
Hong Seok Cheon is Korea’s first openly gay celebrity who came out on a KBS broadcast recording in 2000. In a time when being gay was not accepted, Hong Seok Cheon received a lot of criticism and was even kicked out of the broadcasting station where he worked.
However, things have changed a lot now, and he is living his best life—proudly being himself. In September, he celebrated his 23rd coming-out anniversary.