Expat TV sensation Enes Kaya battles adultery accusations

Over the past few years, Koreans have slowly started to open up to the idea of foreigners living, working and fully integrating themselves into modern-day Korean society. Of course, while some are still against the idea, the appearance and popularization of foreigners featured on Korean television has really helped to change the minds of both young and old generations alike.

Which is why recent accusations against Enes Kaya (popular expat TV sensation from 비정상회담 ‘Non-Summit’) couldn’t have come at a worse time. Foreigner-focused TV shows are all the rage here in Korea at the moment, and Koreans are being introduced to different ideas and perspectives from these various cultural ambassadors. However, the perspective of foreigners in the eyes of the average Korean might change drastically after today (regardless if rumours about Kaya are true or not).

A still from the popular Korean TV show, ‘비정상외담’ (Non-Summit)

It all started a few days ago (Dec. 2) when the first woman in question (who still remains anonymous) finally decided to ‘come clean’ about her apparent bizarre and shocking encounters with Kaya, who is reported to be married to a Korean woman and has a child, as well. She claimed Kaya told her he wasn’t married and seduced her with lewd comments and made several advances at her. Rumours of this first encounter spread so fast online, that the star has already apparently decided to pull the plug on all of his future TV appearances for the time being. There are snaps and screenshots of various texts/ messenger conversations between Kaya and the mystery woman available online that, if true, could result in severe backlash against the 비정상회담 star. Now, after a few days, more women (via an article posted on Koreaboo.com) have come forward claiming they had similar interactions with Kaya.

Photos of the alleged KakaoTalk conversations between the anonymous woman and the accused, Kaya.

The most shocking claim from Kaya can be found in snapshots of his KakaoTalk conversations with the first anonymous woman, where he denied on several occasions the existence of a wife and child, saying that the network/ TV producers fabricated stories about a fake marriage and advised the woman that he was actually single. The odd thing is that Kaya admitted publicly several years ago that he got married to a Korean woman. So, where’s the real truth here?

We can’t confirm what is absolutely true or completely false as of yet, but what we can say is – Kaya’s career in Korea has come to a sudden, screeching halt. He has developed quite the name for himself here in Korea over the past 11 years, but his image may be permanently tainted and there will likely be no chance for him to recover from such a press nightmare. He has since spoken out, saying that he will be working with his lawyer to clarify and clear up any false accusations, but it’s unclear if his evidence is strong enough to beat out what has already surfaced online.

Let us know what you think about all of this. Did you ever watch 비정상회담? As a fellow expat or Korean native, were you a fan of Enes, and do you think that his alleged behaviour gives all foreigners a bad name and an image of being ultimately dangerous and deceptive? Leave your comments below!

The logo for the show where Kaya has appeared most recently, ‘비정상외담’ (Non-Summit)

13 thoughts on “Expat TV sensation Enes Kaya battles adultery accusations

  1. crossmr on

    The difference is Andrew, the law in Korea makes it private. It doesn’t matter what he did or who he did it with. Defamation law in Korea is very specific and very strong. There is no public good served by having this story out there. The women who have publicly accused him will be lucky not to end up in jail and will all likely face significant fines and/or civil penalties. The problem with their accusation is that adultery is typically only prosecuted when the damaged spouse has filed for divorce and agrees to prosecute. If his wife sticks by him absolutely nothing will happen to him under the adultery law and they will be the ones ending up with criminal records, not him.

  2. LCD on

    Hey Andrew,

    I think it’s strange for foreign people living in Korea to not care about what foreigners do and how they are treated. How Korean people perceive foreigners on TV, eventually has an indirect effect on how many foreigners might be perceived.

    Although, I’m sceptical about this kind of accusations… since first of all there is the question: How do you know it’s true?… Once people become famous there are always crazy and opportunistic people who will take their chances and turn somebody else’s misfortunes into their own moments of fame. It’s so easy to make a Kakao ID… and pose as the person yourself. Maybe it’s true maybe not. Maybe this incident can shed light on Korea’s own adultery habit. There are always positive and negative effects. And actually, whether he cheated or not it’s not of our business in the end.

    I do agree with you that this program 비정상회담 marks a noticeable change in Korean behavior towards foreigners. Perhaps black skinned people will be perceived as normal people rather than some 싱기한 exotic phenomenon. However, foreigners on TV are certainly seen and treated differently than foreigners in daily life, in a similar way celebrities are idolised and put on a pedestal. Becoming a celebrity isn’t without any risks in Korea. You can fall as fast as you rise. The program offers some new insights but what we often don’t realized is that those programs have as a main purpose to entertain and the filming happens according to a well prepared screenplay. One of my close friends is starring on the program, I support him fully but also watch aside with scepticism. A celebrity status brings a lot of benifits and it opens many doors, but not all things are shiny and bright… it never is. Nowadays, I hear from many foreign people I encounter about their desire to become a media entertainer here. My advice would be: be careful and don’t let yourself be blinded by fame and money. The tide is turned very easily as you can notice from Enes case. The whole Korean dangerous mix of still lingering bigotry, etnocentricism and the myth of Ethnic Homogeneity; combined with the habit of idolizing celebrities and the power of superfast Internet can rapidly turn a skyrocketing career into a desperate flee back to ones home country.

  3. Robert on

    I think it will damage perceptions of expats, but not rightly so. We are trying to move into a future where every person is responsible for his own actions, and not based on some whimsical correlation that amounts to sharing a foreigner status.

  4. Andrew Fraser on

    Professor: You make a few very interesting points. One thing I do want to say is that a LOT of Koreans care about Enes and many people are outraged that he would let this kind of scandal get out there. It’s true that there are tons of cases of adultery happening in Korea, but most of these married men are not in the spotlight. When they are, they are outcasted and shamed. That’s why everything (anything related to sexuality, especially) is so hush hush. People’s families, wealth and employment is on the line. Koreans, especially in the new digital age, have so much power and push to pull someone into the ground when they do something that netizens don’t like. It’s not private when you decide to have those kinds of intimate conversations via a social networking app like Kakao. There’s always a chance someone will use it against you. It’s news because people in Korea are talking about it, and it’s got people buzzing. Maybe it’s of no importance to some expats, but to those who are heavily integrated into Korean society, it could cause some unwanted backlash.

    These young men are on TV, I suppose, because they may have something valuable to say about their experience studying the language, and Koreans respect individuals who took the time to properly learn it. Their opinions are considered to be godly by any means, it is simply a form of entertainment for Koreans. It gives them insight into the minds of foreigners. People who were not born and raised in this country. I do agree that not everyone should become a celebrity, you do make a valid point about that. The show could focus on getting more experts to talk about more relevant and serious issues. That could be an idea for a new show.

  5. Andrew Fraser on

    John: I can understand that a lot of people in the expat community may not care at all about who he is, what he did, etc. However, the point is, the Koreans have come to really love and follow this show and its presence gives foreigners a chance to speak up about certain issues and topics that come up while living in Korea. Some of the topics are a bit silly, but this kind of scandal really blows up here in Korea. Koreans take celebrity scandals to heart, and sometimes lose all their trust in a show or certain group of people as a result. On the flip side, you could also be right. Maybe nothing will change. Only time will tell.

  6. Andrew Fraser on

    Long Duck Dong, thanks for the response to the article. I agree with you to an extent that things are eventually forgotten. Of course, this news might just blow over like most celebrity gossip news does, but there’s a chance it will have a lasting impression on the image of foreigners and expats. Just figured it was important to give these allegations a bit of exposure within the expat community, because a lot of people are unfamiliar with him and his work.

  7. Professor on

    Who cares what he did or did not do, it’s a private matter. If he did it, many Korean married men have, too. If he didn’t, then I hope he wins his lawsuit. But the larger question is why is this crap news? Why are these young men on TV? They are not experts on Korea, or anthropologists or political scientists, but are given a disproportionately large voice through this show. Why is anyone watching this crap? Who cares what a bunch of men who have been in Korea for a few years think — their opinion should have no special weight. As far as I’m glad they learned Korean, but that shouldn’t be a reason to make them into celebrities.

  8. John on

    Honestly who cares about what this guy did or didn’t do. I doubt the actions of this guy will dramatically change peoples’ perceptions one way or another.

  9. Long Duck Dung on

    If I were Kaya this is what I would do: leave Korea or hide wherever for a while. Come back on to the scene after one year. Boom! All my problems are magically gone, everything is forgotten. Koreans forget things, and they forget rather quickly.
    ie) The Battleship Cheonan-ham incident; the Sewol ferry incident; Gyeong-young Lee (actor); Hyeong-ghi Joh (TV entertainer) and etc.

  10. Banana
    Banana on

    Well, they enjoy the rare site of foreigners in their local TV and the daily shows of 비정상히담 and the likes, is the reason why Koreans slowly accepting it but for how long. That is the reason why sudden accusations and controversies would rise among foreign stars on TV. They are still being tested. As for me, I totally get it already, Koreans are nationalistic. They actually voice out globalization but the conservative Koreans who grew up without seeing the world, bans the expectation that our cultures are different and to have globalization they must accept what we have to offer too. Still, the need for foreign image lessens the grievance of Koreans approach to these scandals. But our behavior in their society area actually being checked. In my small university before, once an international student causes unaccepted behavior among Koreans, he is branded unacceptable but still they act nice infront of him. Though in reality they talk behind their backs. That’s my initial observation

  11. Andrew Fraser on

    Thanks for the comment, Banana. I agree with you, but I just want to make sure you read the opening line of my article. I mentioned that Koreans are slowly opening up to the idea, and that some still aren’t so keen on it. For every one Korean that doesn’t understand why foreigners on TV, there is one Korean to match them that enjoys seeing these unique cultural perspectives on television coming from someone who wasn’t born in this country. Enes was always a hot topic due to his conservative and strong nature, but I’m wondering how you and other non-Koreans feel when foreigners get caught up in scandals – does it affect us?

  12. Banana
    Banana on

    Foreigners staring at Korean entertainment shows are still not fully accepted by most Koreans. They still ask why such person would come to Korea and become famous. I have some Korean friends who still wonders why foreigners would like to get famous in Korea.

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