Monday, April 16, 2012

Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 11: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 12: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 13: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1

Part 14: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2

Here is the second half of this Segye Ilbo interview with the women seen in the party photos and the manager of the bar which threw the party, in which they discuss their treatment by the netizens, Anti English Spectrum, and the media, as well as their plans to counter this treatment.
Reporter: How have the women who participated in the party been victimized?

Owner A: The way the women in the photos were victimized is a crime in itself. The operators of the anti [English Spectrum] cafe are ignorant of how they are killing people. It's idiotic and frustrating. They don't know anything about the truth of the party but portray the women as whores.

Manager B: The standard by which they treat the women [seems like they] don't have plans to punish the foreigners who denigrated Korean women. What is the target of the anti [English Spectrum] site? They say 'let's expel the foreigners who said thoughtless things, but in the atmosphere they create, the women in the photos are seen as being even worse.

Reporter: What of the complaint/lawsuit against the anti [English Spectrum] operator?

Owner A: The anti [English Spectrum] operators know about the party [only] in general and the managers here haven't heard a single word [from them] that hasn't made nonsensical conclusions. They also don't know if the people who posted on the forum were foreigners or Korean.

Reporter: What about the reaction of other bars in the Hongdae area?

Owner A: The reaction has been difficult. We've suffered from the truth being distorted. Those like the operator of Anti English Spectrum have maliciously made up material, like saying I have had many one night stands, to get Gangnam or Hongdae clubs which cause lewd behavior to close their doors. Expressions captured by camera in the heat of the moment while women and men dance closely together are posted and those people are seen as lewd. Even more, if the man who is dancing is a foreigner, the woman is denounced.

Victimized woman C: Go to Hongdae once. There are many places that hand out flyers. It is very common. It was just bad luck that M Bar had the first party that day. The photos had been captured, and Anti [English Spectrum] just spread them. What was a normal party has become like a party which organized prostitution between foreign men and Korean women.

Reporter: Do you want to say something about some of the internet news outlets which mentioned the full name of the bar?

Manager B: It was just a quote, but the netizens' opinions are being reported as if established fact. We'll watch the situation and we will take on and sue some internet news outlets which are really clueless. We have secured all the material as well. That site at first even exposed the photos with no mosaics, the bar's name, map, phone number and email. A lawyer we consulted said they could be arrested for defamation and human rights violations.

Reporter: So in the end is it not a misunderstanding over misleading photos?

Manager B: The photos are the first thing people hear about and recognize. If people see only the photos with no explanation or context, it will cause misunderstanding. People who don't understand party culture could see them and think it's a "crazy, mad group of young people." However no one made any effort to confirm the facts.

Reporter: Is there anything you want to say to the netizens?

Manager B: There's nothing we want to say. The things we could explain we've done our best to explain, and if we really had been in dishonorable circumstances, we would make excuses and apologize, but we've said nothing besides the truth to the people driving critical public opinion which has made something from nothing. We have posted comments on the bulletin board apologizing for arousing public criticism regardless of the facts , but netizens replied, "There must be something going on [ie. ‘I smell a rat.’]. Didn't you give Korean women away to Yankees for 5000 won?" This is the kind of public response we've gotten. However the reason for an interview in person is because we think that if we do the interview the correct facts should be revealed.

Reporter: Have you been in contract with the operators of English Spectrum since this happened?

Owner A: We haven't met them, just contacted them through the phone and email. There was a foreigner who came regularly to the bar who had an ad introducing a good site for foreigners to exchange information. We don't know who its actual operators are.

Reporter: What do the victimized women want to say?

Victimized woman C: Even if I posted an explanation saying 'I plan to marry my boyfriend' at the anti [English Spectrum] site, it would be of no use. There was just hugging in the photo that went out and I posted a defense of my boyfriend's friends too, but what came back was just criticism like "But why are you dating?" Another friend who went was also coming to the interview but didn't come. She has nowhere to go and just feels like dying. I work at a foreign company but also haven't gone to work.

Reporter: What do you think of the netizen's opinions?

Owner A: You're listening to a lot of netizens' mass hysteria. This is not opinion. Even the homepages of people who are registered as friends on M Bar's homepage are being terrorized. The only reason swearing and abuse is being left [on their homepages] is because they are social network friends.

Manager B: My personal details have also been made public. This is a clear crime. My personal details have been made public and my photo has been distributed at adult sites. However the thing to really be angry about is that people who know nothing about the nature and content of the party are distorting it and other women who have been victimized have suffered mental anguish serious enough to think about suicide. I'm furious at the fact that an ordinary party has come to be seen as an unspeakably promiscuous party.

Reporter: Is there anything else you want to say?

Owner A: I've discovered that cyber terror is a deadly poison. When our society wants to erupt over something, it still looks for weak people to criticize. The sparks from [the furor over] foreigners burned women just the same. I hope it ends soon. Those involved will suffer from nightmares for the rest of their lives.

Reporter: In conclusion, was advertising on English Spectrum the problem?

Owner A: No. If we have an opportunity to advertise on English Spectrum we will. The biggest mistake was not having the photos taken at the party deleted from English Spectrum immediately - that's the issue.

Reporter: So are you going to sue English Spectrum for what they did wrong with their bulletin board?

Manager B: They did nothing wrong. This is because of the reasoning behind their posting of the photos. The truth is that the operators of the anti [English Spectrum] site who spread the photos are more problematic. We had no idea the photos would become such an issue like this. When I took a quick look at them I thought 'Right, those are the photos,' but when they were saved they spread, and were edited.

Reporter: Please tell me more in detail about the legal action.

Manager B: After seeing how things turn out, we will request a formal apology from the anti [English Spectrum] site's operators. If there is no apology, we will formally sue them. The anti site's operator also shouldn't hide behind an ID. We don't have another word to say about the malicious spreading of our information. If we post anything at the anti site it's deleted.

Victimized woman C: It was fine for that operator to save the photos, but he says that the people who took the photos are more of a problem. That's because they aren't Korean, and the facts about the photos don't matter. Spreading them was a crime. After deleting the photos, they brag that you can see the photos elsewhere. The netizens are being taken advantage of by the anti site's operators.

Owner A: It seems like some internet media feel they have hit the jackpot since the site [AES] was established. When I've talked on the phone with these reporters they've apologized, but follow up articles have not been true and have only raised other doubts about the articles.
There's lots to chew on there, but it's interesting that 'cyber terror' got mentioned, since it would be another 4 months before the media would really jump on 'cyber terror' as a threat to society.

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