Lee Seung-Gi faces US Fan Backlash, cancels New York concert

K-pop Idol turned actor Lee Seung-Gi initiated his first-ever US tour with much fanfare but soon found himself embroiled in controversy. While the tour started on a high note in Los Angeles, it hit a sour note with fans and sponsors in Atlanta and New York.

According to The Korea Times Atlanta, Lee performed for an audience of around 1,000 in Atlanta but faced accusations of disrespecting his Korean-American fanbase. The artist had committed to visiting local Korean-American-owned restaurants that had sponsored his Atlanta concert. These sponsors had bought tickets in bulk and even arranged meals for Lee’s crew. However, Lee cancelled these engagements at the last minute, citing health issues, and leaving fans and sponsors disenchanted.

Lee Seung-Gi performing a concert for Atlanta fans.
Lee performing in Atlanta. – atlantaradiokorea.com

Communication between Lee’s management, HUMANMADE, and the sponsors had been ongoing via KakaoTalk and phone calls. Despite these arrangements, Lee’s sudden cancellation left everyone in a lurch. Hugh Entertainment, the event promoters, also expressed their surprise and disappointment at Lee’s last-minute changes.

We didn’t draft contracts or anything, but we kept in touch with Lee’s Korean management via KakaoTalk and over the phone before he departed Korea. HUMANMADE even asked us for the details on the names of the sponsoring restaurants. On our behalf, Hugh Entertainment notified Lee of how many pictures we’d like and other information.

We prepared a lot for his visit. But he cancelled all three restaurants on the day of the visit. We weren’t given any notice. He blamed his unwell condition and didn’t show up. Lee’s cancellation disappointed his stateside fans who wanted to see him at the restaurants.

Had he any consideration for his fans in Atlanta, he wouldn’t have pulled something like this. We don’t really understand him cancelling all of his schedules. We promoted his visit, based on what his management and we agreed upon. We can’t help but wonder if he cancelled the schedules because he thought very little of the Korean Americans in Atlanta.

— Restaurant Owner/Concert Sponsor

The event promoters for Lee’s tour also released a statement:

He cancelled at a minute, which put us between a rock and a hard place. We received countless complaints from his concert sponsors about the abrupt change of schedule. Meanwhile, we apologize to the sponsors, including the restaurant owner, who helped put his concert together.

From what we’ve seen, we didn’t notice anything off about Lee’s condition. We were told on the day that he wouldn’t be dining at the restaurant. Also, when he arrived at the Hilton Hotel that we booked for him, he didn’t even get out of his vehicle. He ended up leaving for a different hotel without providing us with any explanation.

— Hugh Entertainment

Lee Seung-Gi’s agency, HUMANMADE, later clarified that the artist’s health was a priority and that the concert was the most crucial part of his schedule. They also mentioned that the restaurant visit was not an official event but a verbal agreement.

Adding fuel to the fire, Lee Seung-Gi also cancelled the New York leg of his tour. The official reason for the event’s cancellation was “unforeseen circumstances at the venue,” … Rumors suggest low ticket sales could be a factor.

This series of events has led to a growing backlash against Lee Seung-Gi. It also raised questions about his commitment to his international fans and sponsors. The controversy also puts a spotlight on the importance of clear communication and honouring commitments in the entertainment industry.

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