Friday, July 19, 2013

Today's Facebook video update

The 2013 'Facebook video'

Part 1: Video surfaces on Facebook showing foreign men mistreating Korean woman
Part 2: Is the Facebook video fake?
Part 3: More on the Facebook video
Part 4: Today's Facebook video update
Part 5: Korea Herald follows up on the Facebook video
Part 6: A conversation with 'Last Known Survivor'
Part 7: Reports on the staged video

Part 4: Today's Facebook video update

And in recent news regarding the Facebook video, at the Marmot's Hole, Korea Herald reporter John Power left a lengthy comment about the sources for his two articles (which are translated into Korean here and here, by the way). The main takeaway is that if his sources are lying about it being staged, they are going to elaborate lengths to maintain this fiction.

Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post article, 'lastknownsurvivor,' the commenter who first named the location (which turned out to be correct) where the video was shot and who said it was staged, posted a comment (in this thread) which reads in part:

I am still waiting from a response from the writer Max Fisher. I sent him a message on facebook which has been seen and not responded to. I also sent him a message on twitter as a response to him saying I did not send him a message and he did not respond to that. I have made an effort to contact him and give him information. Why has he not responded to or tried to contact me?
Earlier, King Baeksu pointed out to me that, while Max Fisher’s Twitter feed stated this – "The guy who claims to be an actor who staged the Korean harassment video is telling people he sent me the name of the director. He didn't." – in the comments to the WaPo article, "thelastknownsurvivor" said merely "I have also sent an email to Max Fisher offering him the directors name," which is rather different.

I had earlier stated that "it's all he said, she said at this point," but in a follow-up comment at the Marmot's Hole, John Power states:
Per the screenshot, the alleged actor has contacted Mr. Fisher. I know nothing other than that. I have also learned that the manager of Bedlam has no knowledge of anyone shooting a film at the bar.
Judging by his twitter feed, Fisher doesn't seem to be interested in following up the allegations that it was staged. But hey, just because there are people leaving comments saying how they want to 'tear apart the Yankee bastards' or see them 'get stabbed to death,' in a Yonhap report about his article, there's no reason to look into the possibility that the cause of this anger was not even real, right?

In other disturbing news, it appears the government is now getting involved, at least according to New Media Rock Stars:
"I wish I could offer up that this was an isolated incident, but apparently the stigma of Western men coming in to Korea and being brutish is such that Korean public service announcements have been made to warn women about 'the Western mentality.'"
This assertion was repeated here:
"New Media Rock Stars reports that South Korea has issued a public service announcement warning about 'the Western mentality' towards women."
Sorry folks, that's just not true.

Or, on the other hand, I suppose from a certain point of view, it is. As noted here, Yonhap is a publicly funded news agency, KBS and MBC are public broadcasting companies, and YTN is a private company whose major stockholders are government-related agencies. And there have most certainly been articles by these outlets decrying western males (and perhaps even the 'western mentality') for years, such as KBS's lengthy news report titled "'Out of Control Foreign English Teacher' Teaches Class while High and Commits Sexual Molestation," or MBC reports like this one warning Korean women of the dangers of relationships with white males, or this one on the "endless" crimes of foreign teachers, or the YTN report titled "Scandalous behavior of foreigners on weekend nights in Hongdae... police just watch," which states that "the area around Hongik University, limelighted as a street of romance and youth, is becoming a lawless zone," or Yonhap's assertion that one city's reputation had been hurt by fat, lazy, argumentative foreign teachers or its assertion that hordes of unfit western teachers were running amok in Korean classrooms.

But, no, the Korean government has not literally been issuing "public service announcement[s] warning about 'the Western mentality' towards women" - it's left to public (and private) media outlets to imply such things.

Also, as commenter Ben has noted, John Power has tweeted, "More sources emerging in Korean nightclub abuse video story. Stay tuned."


Ben said...

Apparently a fourth participant in the filming has come forward, likely a Korean. As per Power's recent tweet:
"Have spoken to someone claiming to be interpreter on set of nightclub abuse video."

King Baeksu said...

I was thinking of emailing The Post and complaining about Max Fisher's rather unprofessional attitude towards reporting, if that in fact is what he even does, but I think it will be more satisfying if we can all see John Power hand Fisher his ass instead.

Ben said...

I've sent Fisher a couple tweets. He answered early on but not anymore. My most recent tweet was:

"@John_F_Power So 4 have now come fwd claiming to have staged the vid: 2 Koreans, 2 foreigners @Max_Fisher Still not worthy of investigation?"

King Baeksu said...

As Fisher's story stands, he can maintain the pose of a "white knight in shining armor" facing off against "evil white men" victimizing a helpless minority woman. Obviously, this enhances his sexual capital in America's ideologically fraught sexual marketplace, at least on the liberal side of the political spectrum. Why risk jeopardizing that, eh?

Of course, life is not always as neat and simple as the shibboleths of the politically correct would lead us to believe. Anyone who has actually lived in South Korea for a good period of time surely knows this.

King Baeksu said...

Just to follow-up on my previous comment, from the vantage point of the U.S., the woman in the video may appear to be a powerless minority, but from the perspective of a Western man in Korea, obviously she is a member of the majority and all non-Koreans, including Americans, are themselves the real minorities here.

Fisher objects to the way the men in the video apparently abuse the woman, and judges it as exploitative. And yet in classic "imperialist" fashion, Fisher has himself imposed an exploitative narrative upon this video without even bothering to verify its authenticity. What gives him the authority and right for him to do so? Does ideology count for more than the facts and the truth for Mr. Fisher? And as a good liberal, why is he not more sensitive to the issues faced by minorities in Korea? Are whites somehow less deserving of respect than non-whites? If so, isn't that the very essence of racism?

In other words, who is really exploiting whom? Indeed, one could easily argue that Mr. Fisher seems to care more about "clicks" than the human rights of tens of thousands of minorities in Korea. As I have said above, for those of us on the ground here in Korea, life is a lot more complex than it may appear to those outside the country who do not happen to share our perspective and life experiences.

So please proceed with more caution in the future, Mr. Fisher, if you don't mind. You may not have to live here, and therefore need to bear the repercussions of your words, but many others certainly do.

King Baeksu said...

BTW, here is the page for the original Jagei upload:

The uploader's ID is "selenagomez," but a search in Jagei's archives for this ID reveals: "게시물이 없습니다," or "No posts."

This is odd, because a Google search for "selenagomez" and "jagei" reveals one other upload under this ID from June 4th, 2013 and two or three other comments. Here is the June 4th upload, which features an image of the well-known Korean-speaking Australian actor Sam Hammington (or at least well-known in Korea):

The Korean title translates as "Sam Hammington's Korean Wife."

Moving along, in the first Jagei link above, it says the "원글" or original post was here:

However, the video appears to have been removed from this site as well, and there is no uploader ID given, either. (Could it also have been "selenagomez"? Hard to verify at this point.)

In any case, what we can conclude from the above information is at least two things:

1. The uploader for these two sites was most likely Korean and not foreign, or at least certainly not a young Western GI or English teacher with minimal Korean-language skills that would be necessary to navigate such sites.

2. The SLR site appears to be used primarily by professional photographers, or serious camera enthusiasts ("SLR"="Single-Lens Reflex").

No. 2 would lead credence to claims that the video was produced by professionals, would it not? Moreover, the uploader "selenagomez" may possibly have links to the Korean TV world, given that the photograph they uploaded to Jagei on June 4th just happens to be of a prominent local TV personality. (I am not sure what is going on in that picture; if that is indeed his wife, did he just happen to stop by, or is it some kind of promotional event? It does not appear to be location shoot for TV or film.)

What is not clear is if the individual who uploaded the video to the SLR site on June 8th (or thereabouts, obviously somewhat earlier than the Jagei upload) is the same individual who uploaded it to YouTube, and a search for "양키에게 모욕 당하는 한국 ㅊㅈ 有," which is the full Korean video title, reveals no results there.

I will attempt to track down the link for the original June upload on YouTube in a later comment. Off to lunch for now!

kushibo said...

Yonhap is a publicly funded news agency, KBS and MBC are public broadcasting companies, and YTN is a private company whose major stockholders are government-related agencies.

MBC isn't private? Technically at least, but probably in practical terms as well.

Ben said...

KB - do you have original titles for FB vids? Power mentions there was a Korean one that he recalls translated as "let's kick these yankee bastards' asses. Women, be careful." I recall the English as something like 'this is how westerners treat Korean women'.

(I've noted "양키에게 모욕 당하는 한국 ㅊㅈ 有" from the Jagei site).

King Baeksu said...

Ben, here's the original title for the June 8th YouTube upload:

"White Guys mock Korean girl at the club [Kor Sub]"

Lol, would white guys refer to themselves as "white guys," unless this was an extremely sophisticated form of performance art?

It was favorited by this Korean individual:

Why not send them a tweet and ask them how they found out about the video?

King Baeksu said...

BTW, that Sugar Daddy photograph could be worth pursuing. Either the staff at Sugar Daddy or Sam Hammington himself may have more information about who took the photograph uploaded to Jagei on June 4th. Can they be contacted by someone on Facebook or Twitter (I'm not myself). Here are two links:

King Baeksu said...

From his Twitter account: "샘 해밍턴, aka the first foreign comedian in Korea to do comedy in Korean! "

Lol, such hubris! What about Isaac Durst or Robert Holley? Ida Daussy?

Back in the 1990s, there was also a Romanian chap I met several times who was also quite popular on Korean TV, especially comedic roles. Anyone remember his name?

King Baeksu said...

BTW, I did a Google search for "White Guys mock Korean girl at the club [Kor Sub]," which was linked to dozens of other video hosting or sharing sites (all deleted). The third result included the Korean title and the interesting ID: "slrjagei." I did a search and found this:

So it would seem that SLR Club and Jagei are actually sister sites. Could not find anything on YouTube with the ID "slrjagei," however.

King Baeksu said...

PS: Ben I realize I didn't exactly answer your question but that's the best I can do for now. I'm not on Facebook, so I'm not much help in that area. However, since "Moodclip" appears to be Korean, perhaps the Korean title was used, if not the one from YouTube?

matt said...

I'd wondered if it was (I know the president (?) is appointed by the government). I guess the LA Times got that wrong? Oh, and as per your other comment about the fluid movement of the camera, that's a good point. Effort was made to keep it moving and to keep everything in frame - something amateurs would have to try hard to accomplish, especially with alcohol presumably involved.

Ben and King Baeksu,

If you do a Google Search for "양키에게 모욕 당하는 한국 ㅊㅈ 有" in quotations, you'll see that "selenagomez" posted the same post with the Youtube video and comment 'Isn't this in Itaewon?' on several sites from 9:58 on June 8 (all related to SLR forums, and a couple seem to be indexing sites linking to the SLR post). The Jagei post wasn't the first one, as you note, the SLR CLub post was (and 'selenagomez' links to that post on the other sites which are still viewable (some aren't). A search for '양키' at the SLR Club site turned up this result:

양키에게 모욕 당하는 한국 ㅊㅈ 有
2013-06-08 09:58:31 | selenagomez | 자유게시판

You can't view it, but it is still indexed when you do a search. The fact that at least two other sites have it posted at 9:58 as well makes me think that the posts at one site automatically get published on other sites as well. So he may not, in fact, have run around posting on several SLR sites - the post may have simply reposted on sister sites and indexing sites automatically over the next hour.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Thanks KB and Matt for info and background on the names.

Ben said...

Now that the authenticity of this video has come into serious question, I'm becoming more and more disappointed with Fisher's apparent disinterest in following up on the story that he broke.

I’m particularly upset with the comparison Fisher makes in his original article between the new video and the MBC video, “The Shocking Truth About Relationships With Foreigners”. When that highly offensive video was released just last year thousands of Koreans and foreigners commenced an “Action against MBC Korea and their racist, biased “reporting,” by joining together in solidarity in a Facebook group that gathered more than 8,600 members.

The “action” that the Facebook group took against MBC was perhaps the most impressive (and moving) thing of all since it amounted to an outpouring of “international love” in the forms of hundreds of photos of happy multi-ethnic couples and families who wrote (tongue in cheek) of “victimizing” or “being victimized by” by their loving partners and appropriately shamed and lampooned MBC for its xenophobic broadcast.

The “shocking truth,” if there was any, was that these relationships were happy, healthy and normal. Many of those amazing photos ended up in Groove magazine, which dedicated its entire July 2012 edition to the issue.

The Wall Street Journal blog strongly criticized MBC’s biased and xenophobic reporting, calling it “egregious in its use of stereotypes, undeveloped assertions and presentation tricks (only one identified source and lots of hidden cameras and disguised voices) to convey its message.”

Noh Jae-hyun, an editorial writer for JoongAng Daily, wrote that “that the MBC program must have been purely motivated by xenophobia.” The MBC program “was more than uncomfortable,” Noh wrote, “It was far from the truth.”

In Fisher’s article, however, he seems to want to bring the MBC video a little closer to the truth. Apparently oblivious to the deep offense it caused thousands of multi-ethnic families in Korea, Fisher refers to the MBC video merely as “silly” in his article and stresses that while "silly" the program's message nonetheless “gets at how some Koreans perceive the Western expat men walking around Seoul.” The point Fisher is making here is that while that video was “silly,” this video is serious. The implication being that there is at least some justification for the biased and racist perceptions of some Koreans concerning foreigners -- evidenced by Fisher's presentation of the latest “shocking video” as he terms it, borrowing MBC’s phrasing.

Yet Fisher’s comparison with the MBC video is apt for all the wrong reasons. The MBC propaganda isn’t more truthy because of the emergence of the latest "shocking video".

Fisher’s foray into Korean gender relations, while interesting, also takes on a different significance if, like the MBC video, the recent video also turns out to be staged with the woman used as a set piece.

The MBC producer told the Wall Street Journal that their video was intended to portray “Korean women who are out of their sense and get involved in these kinds of affairs,” adding that, “We need to be awakened and try to change this culture.” Was the woman in the latest video used to convey precisely the same message? Is Fisher interested in finding out?

Ben said...


Fisher should at least add an update to his article noting that the story has been called into serious question. He should also investigate the story in Seoul or team up with someone who can. Speaking with the woman in the video would be the best way to settle things. Finally, we should see something in print explaining exactly what happened.

King Baeksu said...

MBC = "More Biased Crap"

Fisher = "Decidedly Fishy"

Ben said...

And then there were FIVE witnesses to the "shocking video" who all claim it was staged.

John Power's latest article: "The two women are the fourth and fifth people to claim that the video, which has been reported on by local and foreign media including the Chosun Ilbo, the Washington Post and Daily Mail, was staged."

Ben said...

The latest explanation of the film from the director:

“The main theme of the film is about the few socially isolated people, depicting each one’s dreadful -- sad or painful -- reminiscences. And their memories come as flashbacks -- as a scene - during the film. The video scene was one of the flashbacks and it was a memory of what a person had experienced in the club, and they wish for it to be forgotten.” ( Link)

F5Waeg said...

Where's the like button?