On December 17 KST, comedian Yoo Jae Suk took home Daesang, the Grand Prize, at the 2022 SBS Entertainment Awards—celebrating his accomplishments as an outstanding entertainer on Running Man.
In his acceptance speech, though, Yoo Jae Suk was heard repeatedly apologizing to Ji Suk Jin. What happened between the two comedians? Viewers believe SBS is to blame; Did the 2022 SBS Entertainment Awards “bait” Ji Suk Jin and the viewers?
Before the Grand Prize winner was announced, the presenting host Shin Dong Yup asked Tak Jae Hoon how he felt. Tak Jae Hoon, one of the six nominated comedians after the Grand Prize, said he was focusing on his show host duties. Shin Dong Yup then turned to Ji Suk Jin and told him to “smile a little,” in a moment of great anticipation.
Ji Suk Jin… Take it easy. Smile a little!
— Shin Dong Yup
Note, Tak Jae Hoon and Ji Suk Jin were both considered the two potential winners of the Daesang. Throughout the awards show, these comedians were highlighted as the more probable nominees. In fact, there was a lot of anticipation for Ji Suk Jin since the 2021 awards. Having been nominated for consecutive years—and with SBS building anticipation for Ji Suk Jin as if he really had a shot in 2022—viewers also believed it would be Ji Suk Jin’s time to shine.
At the end of the night, however, Yoo Jae Suk was named the Daesang winner. When his name was called, Yoo looked flabbergasted. He explained in his acceptance speech that he “did not expect to win at all.”
Oh, this is… Seriously? I didn’t… This Daesang, I did not expect. I usually have a hunch when I’m about to win an award. Tonight, I wasn’t expecting at all. I’m sorry, Suk Jin and Jae Hoon. I honestly don’t know what to say right now…
— Yoo Jae Suk
The camera caught Song Ji Hyo consoling Ji Suk Jin—as she also anticipated a big night for the comedian.
When Yoo Jae Suk revealed that he had genuinely “wished hyung to win,” and shared the honor with Ji Suk Jin and other Running Man castmates…
Thank you so much for this award. I’m the one accepting it but I don’t doubt for a second that it’s for the whole cast of Running Man. And this award… Again, I’m sorry I’m the one standing up here and accepting it. But I’d be honored to present this award to Suk Jin. He’s… I don’t even understand. I’m so sorry, hyung!
— Yoo Jae Suk
…Ji Suk Jin playfully poked fun at Yoo Jae Suk’s reaction on stage and congratulated him on the record-setting 19th Daesang win.
Ji Suk Jin: Hey, now. You’re about to sound cocky!
Yoo Jae Suk: But I really wished for you to win this year! I prayed for you!
Ji Suk Jin: It’s okay. You won that award. You look great right now! Just celebrate!
Yoo Jae Suk: I’m sorry! And I know you’re truly happy for me.
Ji Suk Jin: Of course, I am!
Following the ceremony, the 2022 SBS Entertainment Awards received some backlash over the fact that the show “baited” both Ji Suk Jin and the viewers themselves.
- “It’s fine that SBS decided against Ji Suk Jin. But it’s unacceptable that they baited him over and over as if he would win. This is not the first time they’ve done this to him either. They must think very little of Ji Suk Jin to do him dirty like this.”
- “So rude. I honestly thought Ji Suk Jin would absolutely win this year. He did a great job entertaining viewers and making them laugh… I didn’t really watch the whole ceremony, but I agree that they played Ji Suk Jin. Congratulations to Yoo Jae Suk, though.”
- “SBS really set this up for Ji Suk Jin. They made him anticipate the award for so long, only to tell him in the face that they meant none of it. Kind of rude for a broadcasting station to do, isn’t it? SBS doesn’t have to give anyone anything, but it should absolutely have respect for its stars. Watching it made me uncomfortable.”
- “I agree that SBS didn’t owe Ji Suk Jin anything. But they should never have set it up for Ji Suk Jin to anticipate one so much.”
- “I get it, SBS didn’t want to give Ji Suk Jin the Grand Prize. Fine, but like, stop playing with his feelings for f*ck’s sake.”
Frustrated viewers pointed out that SBS not only snubbed Ji Suk Jin but also teased him for no reason.
- “I don’t mind that Ji Suk Jin didn’t win the Grand Prize. What I do mind is the fact that SBS played him two years in a row…Playing f*cking dirty, for sure.”
- “Didn’t Running Man also make it seem like he was going to win something last year? Or the year before? And then he didn’t win that time either? Fool him once, shame on him. But fool him twice? This is not funny at all. This is just mean.”
- “It wouldn’t have mattered who won the Grand Prize. Tak Jae Hoon could’ve taken it. Shin Dong Yup could’ve taken it. Ji Suk Jin could’ve taken it. It never mattered who the winner would be. What matters is that the show kept building anticipation for Ji Suk Jin as if they knew he would win. Like, when Tak Jae Hoon won the Producer Award, they made it sound like Ji Suk Jin got rid of competition. If that isn’t setting him up with false hope… then what is?”
- “It’s fine SBS didn’t give the award to Ji Suk Jin. But SBS made him look stupid and that’s not fine.”
- “Just based on what I’ve been hearing, I thought Ji Suk Jin would win for sure. I was like, ‘Finally! He’s going to win!’ When he didn’t win, I felt really played and offended. And I’m not even Ji Suk Jin.”
Watch Yoo Jae Suk’s speech here.