Physical 100 Controversy from Seasons 1 & 2, Explained

By David Thompson Posted:

Plenty of controversy has surfaced based on the cast and production of Netflix's Physical: 100 Seasons 1 and 2.

Physical: 100 is a South Korean reality competition series on Netflix where 100 competitors with impressive physical attributes compete in various challenges to determine the ultimate physique. 

Modeled like a tournament, contestants face elimination after each challenge until one winner remains, claiming a prize of ₩300 million (roughly $220 thousand). 

The show is often likened to Squid Game for its elaborate challenges and set design, as well as its large-scale competition and elimination format. 

While the show has been popular, plenty of unfavorable news has been released surrounding some of the contestants. 

List of Physical 100 Season 1 Controversies

Physical 100 athletes

Two Contestants with Assault Allegations

It has come to light that two participants of Physical: 100 Season have faced allegations of physical assault, as reported by BBC

While the identities of these contestants remain undisclosed, one individual was under investigation by Seoul Gangnam Police for allegedly assaulting and battering his girlfriend, with the incident reported on February 23, 2023, according to The Korea Times.

At the time, Netflix put out a release after canceling a press conference, stating that they were "still grasping the situation after seeing news reports:"

"Netflix and the production team are still grasping the situation after seeing news reports that one of the cast members of 'Physical 100' is involved in a wrongful incident. Before we discuss the global success of the show, among others, with the media through the press conference, we felt it is best for us to look into the details of the incident. So we decided to cancel the event."

There is no current update on these allegations or the contestants' identities.

Kim Da Young Accused of Being School Bully

Physical: 100 contestant Kim Da Young was accused of previously being a bully at school, which she later admitted to. 

For context, bullying in South Korean schools is a serious issue, with many calling for government action to help alleviate some of the physical violence.

Kim Da Young confessed to being a former school bully and issued an apology on February 24 via an Instagram post.

She acknowledged her past behavior, admitting to associating with the wrong crowd and mistreating her juniors:

"If I could go back to that time, I think I wouldn't have to think again and say hurtful words. Since there will be juniors hurt by this, I'd like to apologize on this site. I am so sorry. Apologizing like this won't make it happen in my past. Even if it takes time, I will personally apologize and ask for forgiveness if given the chance."

While she apologized to the producers, viewers, and fans of Physical:100, she also contested some aspects of the allegations, denying claims of theft or physical assault, stating that "there is absolutely no evidence that [she] stole gold or committed physical abuse:"

"However, there are many parts of the article that raised my problem that are hard to accept unlike the truth, so I want to correct those parts. There is absolutely no evidence that I stole gold or committed physical abuse."

One Uncredited Production Company

Entertainment company Scendio filed a damages lawsuit against co-producer Luyworks Media, (via Korea JoongAng Daily) alleging that it was unfairly excluded from the Physical: 100 Season 1 credits, despite its participation in the production. 

The lawsuit, filed at the Seoul Central District Court, claims Luyworks violated the investment contract and spread false information damaging Scendio's reputation.

While Luyworks contended that it had terminated the contract with Scendio before production, Scendio maintained that the contract was still valid and asserted its involvement in the show's planning and development.

Winner & Finale Controversy

The final episode of Physical: 100 Season 1 depicted Woo Jin-yong and Jung Hae-min facing off in a rope competition, with Jung initially in the lead but ultimately losing steam, resulting in Woo's surprising victory. 

However, suspicions arose when fans noticed the runner-up's absence from social media posts about the show and reports emerged suggesting multiple takes of the final match.

Jung Hae Min eventually spoke out to Korea Boo, revealing details of the match and negotiations with the production team.

He initially remained silent despite feeling discomfort over the unfair circumstances of the final match, fearing repercussions for himself and other participants. 

Jung detailed the events of the final match, revealing pressure from the production team to agree to a rematch despite his objections. 

He expressed disappointment over the handling of the situation, including the refusal to air footage explaining his lack of energy during the final round. 

Despite feeling conflicted about agreeing to the rematch, Jung ultimately hoped to uphold honesty and transparency in the portrayal of events. However, it's up to audience members to decide if the final result was fair.

What Is the Physical 100 Season 2 Controversy?

Season 2 of Physical: 100 has sparked controversy among fans, particularly regarding the treatment of female contestants. 

While the series aims to find the best competitors regardless of gender, critics argue that male contestants often take advantage of their physical strength, leading to unfair gameplay dynamics. 

The emphasis on strength-centric challenges has raised concerns about the portrayal of female participants as "dead weight" and the perception that they hinder their teams' success. 

One viewer on X/Twitter posted that Physical: 100 "should SERIOUSLY consider making an all women’s season:"

"'Physical 100' should SERIOUSLY consider making an all women’s season, because the women in the show are NO JOKE strong but the men are big assss beasts and I want my girls to succeed but man, men like IRON MAN AND THANOS …"

Another fan agreed about the idea of a women-only season, stating that "it’s inconsiderate and low-key embarrassing for the ladies that have worked their arses off:"

"It literally makes no sense to have women there. Logically speaking the strengths don’t compare whether we like it or not. It’s inconsiderate and low-key embarrassing for the ladies that have worked their arses off. There should be a women’s only 'Physical 100'"

With Season 2 seemingly another success for Netflix, maybe there is a chance of an all-women season or spin-off.

Physical: 100 Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

Read more about Physical: 100:

Physical: 100 Season 2 Episode 8 Release Date & Remaining Schedule

Who Is Justin Harvey from Physical: 100? 4 Things to Know About the Actor

Who Is Kang So Yeon from Physical: 100? 5 Things to Know About the Athlete

Who Is Amotti from Physical: 100? 4 Things to Know About the Athlete

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.