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Club abuse video done for fame: alleged interpreter

A woman has claimed to have been an interpreter on the shoot of a viral Internet video that appears to show a group of Western men sexually harassing a woman in a nightclub but has since had its authenticity challenged.

A second woman also told The Korea Herald that she had put one of the foreign men in the video in touch with its makers. The woman is a mutual acquaintance of the alleged interpreter and one of the foreign actors.

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.

“My friend (the filmmaker) asked me if knew some foreigners so I introduced my friends to them,” the alleged interpreter said on Friday, explaining that she had previously worked with one of the apparent actors at a popular expatriate bar in Seoul.

According to woman, five people apart from herself were involved in the film: two foreign actors, two Korean filmmakers and a Korean model.

She said that the two filmmakers had hoped to gain fame as producers of user-created content had in the past in Korea.

“...He wanted to be famous. That’s all he wanted. So that’s why the video looks like it is real. But it’s not real,” she said.

She said she had been “surprised” that the video had generated such interest and was unaware of there being any particular rationale behind the recruitment of foreigners for the film.

The second woman said she had no idea the film would feature disturbing content when she asked her friend if he would like to be involved. The Korea Herald has seen screenshots of online correspondence between the two in which the former provides the alleged actor with the phone number of the filmmaker who has admitted his involvement.

According to the alleged interpreter and the two foreign men claiming to have appeared in the film, the disputed video was shot at Bedlam Bar in Itaewon in Seoul.

Last week, two foreign men and a Korean filmmaker told The Korea Herald that the video had been filmed as part of a short film portraying society’s intolerance of physical imperfections and was completely fictional.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the alleged filmmaker, who has refused to have his name appear in media, further explained his intention behind the video that has caused uproar in Korea and around the world.

“It is a story of socially isolated people. The scene released is not a big part of the whole film,” said the man who had one of his films appear in a local film competition last year.

“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.”

The filmmaker said the full film came to around 15 minutes and featured others actors besides those in the viral clip. He added that he had no remaining footage of the film because it was filmed as part of a casual filmmaking group that regularly made low-fi videos. He repeatedly declined to reveal the identities of anyone else involved in the film. He also said that he had been contacted by the woman in the video in anger after it went viral but that she had subsequently changed her number and fallen out of contact.

The video, which depicts the men filming an apparently drunk woman’s chest and legs and forcing her own finger up her nose and into her mouth, caused outrage among Internet users in Korea and abroad. Some Internet users here attacked the men involved, while others accused the women of embarrassing her country or being “obsessed” with foreign men.


Intern reporter Yoon Hyeon-jeong contributed to this report. -- Ed.