A video appearing to show the sexual harassment of an inebriated Korean woman by a number of white men set off a media fire storm in July 2013. The disturbing footage was not only reported on in most major local media, but international outlets including The Daily Mail, Washington Post, New York Daily News and Jezebel.com. Reports generally uncritically accepted the footage to be genuine. This article, the first of four on the video published in The Korea Herald, was the first to call into question the veracity of the video, which was later proved to have been staged in my follow-up inquiries. — John.
By John Power
An online video showing a Korean woman apparently being harassed by a group of Western men in a nightclub was staged, two men who say they acted in the video have claimed.
The video, which has caused outrage online in recent days and appeared in Korean and foreign media including the Washington Post webpage, appears to show a number of men sexually and verbally harassing an intoxicated Korean woman. The men are shown cursing at the woman, filming her chest and forcing her own finger up her nose and into her mouth.
Some Internet users criticized the woman as being “obsessed with white guys” or claimed “what you get is what you deserve.” Others said she was embarrassing her country, calling her a “kimchi girl,” a degrading term used for Korean women.
After it attracted thousands of angry comments from local netizens and was picked up by Korean media, Max Fisher of the Washington Post wrote about the video on his official blog on Monday. His post has in turn been written about by numerous Korean media outlets.
Two men, however, separately contacted The Korea Herald claiming that the video was edited and was in fact part of a series of short horror films shot in 2011. One of the men said that the video had been shot to show the “horror” of how society treats people with physical deformities. In the controversial video, the men are also shown ridiculing the young woman over the condition of her teeth.
One of the alleged actors, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, provided a screenshot from a Facebook conversation showing the alleged director admitting that the video was staged. The apparent director of the video studied film at a university in Seoul, according to his Facebook account and a university webpage from 2004.
In the conversation, the apparent director said that he uploaded the video three years ago, but it had since been taken down and he was unsure of how it resurfaced.
“I can see the video is reedited and cut many scenes. I’m in (sic) page with you in announcing that the video was fake,” he wrote.
He also suggested doing an interview with the woman in the video to clear any misunderstanding. He added, however, that they should “wait a while” first before doing anything.
One of the men claiming to be an actor in the film said he had no idea the film would be used in such a manner.
The alleged director was contacted by The Korea Herald but had not responded by press time.