Telecom giant KT withdraws Lee Kang-in’s ads after fight with Son Heung-min

By Linh Le   February 19, 2024 | 01:04 am PT
Leading South Korean mobile carrier KT Corp. has pulled its advertisements featuring Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in ahead of their contract’s scheduled conclusion.
Footballer Lee Kang-in. Photo from Lees Instagram

Footballer Lee Kang-in. Photo from Lee's Instagram

According to a report by Yonhap News Agency, KT had initially enlisted the 22-year-old soccer prodigy for its Galaxy S24 Series campaign intended to run until Saturday. However, the company directed its nationwide outlets to remove advertising posters featuring Lee on Friday.

This action allegedly comes in the wake of a reported altercation involving Lee and national team captain Son Heung-min. According to The Sun, the incident, which preceded South Korea’s Asian Cup semifinal match against Jordan, allegedly began after Lee and some younger players hurried through their dinner to play table tennis.

This upset Son along with several of the senior players, who view dinners before important matches as traditional opportunities for team bonding.

The disagreement reportedly escalated into a physical confrontation, resulting in an injured finger for Son.

After the news surfaced, although Lee issued a public apology for the incident, his legal representatives have denied that he engaged in any physical assault against Son.

A spokesperson for KT has stated that a final decision regarding Lee’s future endorsement agreement remains pending, as covered by Korea JoongAng Daily.

Lee first partnered with KT in 2019, following his remarkable performance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he received the Golden Ball award. His significant role in South Korea’s victory over Bahrain at the Asian Cup’s group stage in Qatar in January this year led KT to enter a new agreement with him on Jan. 16.

Nonetheless, Lee’s public image has been tarnished following reports of his dispute with Son. The reaction from the football community has been swift and severe, with many fans expressing their disapproval and calling for a boycott of KT’s products if the company continues its endorsement relationship with Lee.

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