Foreigners have reacted angrily to an MBC report broadcast Monday that depicted relationships with foreigners as harmful.
A Facebook group set up Thursday to protest the program had garnered more than 4,900 members as of 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The report titled “The Shocking Reality About Relationships With Foreigners” gave examples of men who had stolen from partners, abandoned them when they became pregnant or had apparently given them HIV.
However, the program did not explain why these were considered to be unique to or characteristic of relationships with foreign men. Some of the alleged examples of bad behavior came from an unnamed individual reporting on the experiences of people he claimed to know.
MBC’s standards and practices department told The Korea Herald that they had followed broadcasting laws but did not have compulsory guidelines on the reporting of race and nationality.
The lead writer for the show, made by external production company All That Media, said that she did not consider the content to be controversial, and claimed it was an accurate representation of the situation.
“Our report is based on the facts that we found as we were covering the story and it strictly reported on the present situation. We have made it clear that it only reflected the few,” she said, adding that she was concerned about the potential harm to the image of Korean women.
“We have not revealed the races of the men we talked to and we tried our best not to reveal the areas that it was filmed. We only tried to show that there is a difference in culture and I hope that there is no more misunderstanding.”
Members of the Facebook group vented their frustration online.
“It made me feel angry and then sad for my 6-week-old daughter, who is half Korean,” said university instructor Douglas Karalius. “I worry about her growing up in this society, and how much of the Korean population really feels this way.”
Others said the report was insulting to Korean women.
“I find it apalling that MBC has such little respect for Korean women. They are portrayed as being either so weak minded and naive, or so promiscuous, that they cannot help but fall victim to any non-Korean man that happens to walk past,” said English teacher Rick Saint.
One commenter said that he had been assaulted in bars for talking to Korean women.
However, some posted pictures of their families to show how such relationships could be positive.
“What has been revealed (if you will) is the real story behind mixed relationships in Korea, and what a truly heart-warming story it is. MBC has egg on their face, and should apologize,” said James Board, an elementary school teacher from Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lee Hee-su contributed to this report. ― Ed.