Monday, April 02, 2012

Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women

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

On the morning of January 13, 2005, the Segye Ilbo had broken the story of how someone posting at Anti English Spectrum had posted photos of "disconcerting scenes of foreigners and Korean women enjoying a party in which they are drinking alcohol and are entwined with each other," and this had been followed up by My Daily later that morning reporting that the homepage of Mary Jane Bar, where the party was held, had been shut down. That afternoon, Dailian issued the following report [thanks to the Marmot for permission to use his translations]:
Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women

Photos released on the internet, netizens shocked: "It's like a sex party."

Club: "If they dance with westerners, they're all yanggongju?"; netizens angered by this response

[A caption to this (not safe for work) photo:]
At the party a female member of the 'Ask The Playboy' forum poses with a foreign man wearing only underwear which shows his penis.

People are shocked by photos that have been made public showing foreigners and Korean women together at a party thrown by the foreigners who aroused criticism by posting things like "We're treated like kings by Korean girls who want to learn English and enjoy free sex" at the internet forum 'Ask the Playboy' operated by the site 'English Spectrum,' the largest site used often by foreigners looking for jobs in Korea.

Netizens have made public the address of M Club, which provided the space for the forum party, established the Anti English Spectrum cafe, and are heaping criticism on them.

In regard to this, English Spectrum's management posted, We regret that several indiscreet users made bad posts that had nothing to do with our intention." "We’ve erased the relevant bulletin boards."

[A caption to this (NSFW) photo]:
A female member of the 'Ask the Playboy' forum dances with two foreign men at the party.

However, M Bar responded to netizen opinion head on, enraging them further: "Are women all whores and all yanggongju if they dance with Westerners? This is a nonsensical affair born of cultural ignorance and extreme nationalism.”

About the photos that were made public, netizens said they were, "rightly shocked" and angrily condemned "Korean university girls who sell their bodies to learn English."

At the Naver Anti-English Spectrum cafe, user 'chang452' wrote, "The photos seemed like some sort of sex party." "Not all Korean women are like that, but since women who will become the mothers of Korea are like that, things are bleak." He also said, "I'm frustrated because Korea doesn’t have a future without good wives and wise mothers" (Korean: 현모양처).

AES commenter 'ingup,' said sarcastically, “I don’t know if they are college girls, office girls or some other sort, but the English you learn from selling your body is body language, not real English."… Looking at the pictures, it seems like they might have taken bbong [meth] or drugs." He added, "I think we should find and reveal the identities of everyone involved and shame them."

Reporter Gu Min-hee
Obviously Korean women with western men must be on drugs.

More of what was being said at Anti English Spectrum was related in a Joongang Daily article (in English) a few days later:
One notable aspect of the public reaction to these incidents was that Korean women who date Western men were severely criticized, especially by Korean men.

“Korean men should all beware of Korean women who’ve been abroad, or who speak English well,” was one such comment.

In the “Anti-English Spectrum Cafe,” created after the “Playboy” incident, many comments carried extremely negative views about relationships between Korean women and Western men.

“I cannot believe what I saw in the pictures from the party,” one person wrote on the cafe’s message board. “I hate the girls more than the Westerners who were with them. They give a bad name to Korean women.”

Not everyone agreed, however:

“The party didn't harm anybody. It was just another party involving alcohol and fun,” said another Internet user whose ID was repubofkorea. “In Korea, there are far worse parties where Korean men do dirtier things. Just because there were Korean women and Western men, the public is making racist judgments.”
On the afternoon of January 14, My Daily posted another update about the party:
Women in photos from site denigrating Korean women: "The photos are not the entire party"

"The pictures don’t make up the whole party. Some media and Netizens are looking at the photos and making us out to be prostitutes. It’s unfair that people are criticizing us without knowing what happened before and after during the party."

"After those photos went around the Internet, I couldn’t go to work. I haven’t shown up for work for the last two days because I was afraid my coworkers may have seen them. I’m afraid my parents may have seen them."

Two women, including Ms K, who were confirmed to be in the photos mass distributed through the internet after being introduced by the foreign instructor site which caused controversy by denigrating Korean women, spoke their minds.

Recently, as some media outlets made known the foreign instructor site which contained material denigrating Koreans, the two women who were victimized by indiscriminate distribution of photos which were given titles like 'Lewd party' or 'Sex party' by netizens, and they offered a different point of view to netizens about what was known about the reported party.

That the people in the photos being spread through the internet are ordinary people is being disregarded, and as the people's faces were shown in full, after they were released on the internet they haven't been able to live a normal life. On the 14th some of the victimized women requested that the police’s cyber crimes division investigate the media outlets and websites that distributed the photos.

One of the women in the photos protested, saying, "Shouldn’t the media at least ask those in the photos about the circumstances in which the photos were taken? Netizens are just looking at the photos and the critical posts and using them as grounds to condemn us."

She added, "The essence of this incident was the controversy over the abusive things said by the foreign teachers, but suddenly the criticism has turned to the girls who were in the photos, and about this, we are planning to respond by getting a lawyer.”

In most cases distributing photos of ordinary people on the Internet is deadly for individuals in regard to defamation of character and violation of the right to their own image. They also expressed hope that the indiscriminate distribution of the photos would not cause more people who were in the photos to be victimized.
There was not yet much awareness of the damage that could be done by the spread of people's photos on the internet, but this incident and the celebrity x-file incident which followed days later briefly started the conversation, which turned into a media uproar five months later with the Dog Poop Girl incident.

By the time this article had been posted on the 14th, however, yet another furor over foreign teachers had arisen due to a year-and-a-half old post by an English teacher at another site.


Jbot said...

Matt, I just want to thank you for documenting this. This was one of the many events that contributed to the current zeitgeist, so it's great to see all the information in one place.

setnaffa said...

While I'm prudish enough to disapprove of sex between unmarried couples, I'm still shocked by the affectations of "righteous" outrage from a nation that has those glass houses and pink light districts everywhere...