Popular K-Movie Director Also Under Massive Fire For Smoking Indoors

A YouTube video, capturing the director’s behavior, has resurfaced.

Korean movie director Jang Hang Joon (also known as Jang Hang Jun), now better known around the world for his appearance on tvN‘s The Dictionary of Useless Human Knowledge alongside BTS‘s RM, is facing fierce criticism for smoking indoors.

Director Jang Hang Joon (front right) with the cast of “The Dictionary of Useless Human Knowledge.” | @rkive/Instagram

In a YouTube video uploaded seven months ago, Jang can be seen holding an e-cigarette (though blurred). And while the video has since been edited to minimize backlash, online communities have circulated screenshots of Jang putting the e-cigarette to his lips.

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| @이응디귿디귿/YouTube

Those who have watched the pre-edited version of the video commented that the smoke from the e-cigarette could be seen in the video, making it undeniable that Jang was smoking indoors.

The criticism stems from the fact that smoking inside public spaces, including e-cigarettes, is illegal in Korea. In fact, the indoor smoking ban in Korea is quite strict, and the behavior itself is frowned upon.

South Korea has enforced strict smoking bans in public places since July 2013, with fines of ₩100,000 KRW (about $75.10 USD) on any spotted smoker and up to ₩5.00 million KRW (about $3,760 USD) won on shop owners not following the law. It is illegal to smoke in all bars and restaurants, cafes, internet cafes, government buildings, kindergartens, schools, universities, hospitals, youth facilities, libraries, children’s playgrounds, private academies, subway or train stations, and their platforms and underground pathways, large buildings, theaters, department stores or shopping malls, large hotels, and highway rest areas. The strict bans came into force gradually beginning with a ban on places larger than 150 square meters in 2012, extended to 100 square meters in 2014, with a full-fledged complete nationwide ban on 1 January 2015.

Since January 1, 2015, South Korea has completely banned smoking on all bars, restaurants and cafes regardless of size, including any smoking rooms. Any spotted smoker must pay fines of ₩100,000 KRW (about $75.10 USD) and up to ₩5.00 million KRW (about $3,760 USD) on shop owners not obeying the law. Anyone can report a smoker via calling or sending a text message to a government hotline (in the case of Seoul, the number is 120) with their location address and authorities will raid the reported place, of which a picture of the offending smoker will be taken and fined ₩100,000 KRW (about $75.10 USD). Disguised authorities also secretly check random places at random times for offending smokers. Furthermore, tobacco prices have nearly doubled to an average of ₩4,500 KRW (about $3.38 USD), and it is illegal to advertise misleading claims such as “light”, “mild”, “low tar” or “pure” on cigarette packs.

— Wikipedia

The space, disclosed to be Jang’s workshop in other episodes, is considered “public space” (falling under “large buildings” in the legal categorization), though the title of the space might belong to Jang. In addition to the disregard for the law, Koreans expressed deeper disappointment at Jang’s inconsiderate nature—smoking in the presence of other guests.

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| theqoo
  • “I hope he doesn’t smoke in front of his children.”
  • “For real? Ugh… Haha.”
  • “I don’t understand how he can smoke at work while working.”
  • “Some people have no manners, living life on their own terms.”
  • “I guess people in the K-Entertainment business end up caring less and less about it because a lot of celebrities and staff members do it regardless of the law. How disappointing.”
  • “People working in the K-Movie field are all like that… I have personal experience being exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke when I worked with a movie-related business. It’s not even about celebrities being above the law. It’s people in higher positions taking advantage of the fact that their non-smoking subordinates can’t complain.”
  • “Not related to Jang Hang Joon, per se. But there were tons of K-Movie personnel who smoked indoors while rehearsing or shooting commentaries and whatnot. It’s a rough world for the non-smokers.”
  • “I don’t understand the K-Entertainment business now…”
  • “To non-smokers, e-cigarettes are no less disgusting than regular cigarettes. What is wrong with smokers?”
  • “Looks like K-Entertainment business is OK with indoor smoking… We keep hearing about these controversies after controversies. I feel terrible for the non-smokers in the field and those who work near the broadcasting studio buildings.”
  • “So disappointing… I thought he had a reputation for being a sweet husband and father. No?”
  • “WTF?”
  • “What is the reason for smoking inside? Like, I can’t f*cking understand it. It’s not like he’s alone. He is in the presence of other people. How can he smoke in their faces?”

Hundreds of comments, garnered under a theqoo post with over 100K views, condemned the director for his law-breaking behavior.

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| theqoo
  • “WTF.”
  • “A lot of people think it’s OK to smoke e-cigarettes indoors…”
  • “Oh, no. So inconsiderate of the non-smokers around him…”
  • “I guess indoor smoking is not a big deal in the K-Entertainment business. Fascinating.”
  • “He shouldn’t have. I hope he learns.”
  • “Ugh.”
  • “But he built himself such a nice reputation. LOL!”
  • “Can’t even wait a couple of hours that he’s working?!”
  • “People in the K-Entertainment business must have their mentalities stuck in the 1990s or something. Their attitudes are so outdated.”
  • “That’s the thing… People in this business don’t consider indoor smoking to be a big deal, so controversies like these will catch them so off-guard. Haha.”
  • “Yikes…”
  • “It’s because people think e-cigarettes are not considered a part of the smoking ban… And that it’s OK to smoke. But e-cigarette does come with the same dangers of secondhand smoke.”

Jang Hang Joon has not responded to the growing criticism.

Earlier, Welcome To Samdal-Ri actor Ji Chang Wook found himself under fire for smoking indoors mid-rehearsing a scene with other cast members.

Actor Ji Chang Wook Allegedly Caught Smoking Indoors During Rehearsal

Source: theqoo