South Korean actor Ryu Jun-yeol, 37, is currently enmeshed in a controversy over alleged ‘greenwashing,’ causing international environmental organization Greenpeace, for which he serves as an ambassador, to bear the brunt of public ire. Multiple netizens have taken to social media to announce their decision to withdraw their support for Greenpeace.

Ryu Jun-yeol, renowned for his environmental activism including participation in the ‘I Am a Polar Bear’ campaign, has been facing backlash for his well-known love for golf, an activity criticized by environmentalists for its detrimental impact on the environment. Golf courses, known to cause deforestation and overuse of pesticides and water, are considered by some as major contributors to environmental destruction.

Actor Ryu Jun-yeol and Han so-hee /Facebook

Public sentiment turned against the actor, with comments such as, “He plays the role of an environmental activist in media while being obsessed with golf, a major cause of environmental destruction,” and “Ryu Jun-yeol is a contradictory ambassador.”

In response to the controversy, Greenpeace stated in a press release, “We are in close communication with actor Ryu Jun-yeol about the current situation. We are also addressing inquiries from our contributors about this issue and will strive to improve our campaigns based on the contents of the discussions.”

한 네티즌이 그린피스 후원 취소 인증글을 올렸다. /엑스
Greenwashing controversy after scandal / instagram

Despite the influx of media inquiries, the organization could not immediately answer questions related to Ryu, including the number of sponsorship cancellations received so far.

Meanwhile, Ryu’s rumored girlfriend, actress Han So-hee, 30, has recently failed to renew her contract as an advertising model with the soju brand ‘Like the First Time,’ after only a year. Compared to previous models like Lee Hyori and Suzy who served longer terms, speculation arose that her alleged relationship with Ryu Jun-yeol may have affected the decision.

However, a representative from Lotte Chilsung Beverage clarified that the contract expired before the dating rumors surfaced and that the rumors did not influence their decision.

Ryu Jun-yeol, who had been dating singer and actress Hyeri, 30, since 2017, was reported to have ended their relationship last year. Amid rumors of dating Han So-hee, Ryu has yet to comment, while Han, through a blog post, expressed her wish to exclude the term ‘transfer dating’ and mentioned that she continued the relationship after confirming her feelings.

However, Hyeri, in a recent statement, apologized for causing controversy and added, “Even after the breakup news in November, we discussed giving it another try. And four months later, I saw the new dating rumor. I felt like I was still in a relationship with Ryu Jun-yeol.”