|An excerpt from the webtoon "Majo&Sadi" by Jeong Cheong-yeon|
South Korean webtoon artist Jeong Cheol-yeon on Thursday removed a cartoon that satirized current affairs including disputes about the privatization of public firms and the alleged election meddling of the National Intelligence Service.
“The dispute (concerning the cartoon) was more serious than I’ve anticipated, which led me to remove the cartoon. From now on, I will post such ‘rebellious pieces’ only on my blog,” Jeong said on his personal blog Thursday.
In the latest edition of his webtoon "Majo&Sadi," originally posted Wednesday, a fictional family living in 2050 Korea discuss how “Neo-Joseon,” a futuristic version of Korea, was established after all the profitable businesses were claimed by family-owned conglomerates called “chaebol.”
The grandfather of the family wonders how things would have been different if it were not for things like the privatization of public firms and illegal electioneering of the NIS, when he is interrupted by his wife. She warns him that he could be branded “a commie (communist).”
A barrage of ill-wishers bombarded the cartoonist with malicious comments to a point where many engaged in a battle of words in the reply section. Nearly 1,000 replies were left before the artist removed the comic with an apology.
The removal touched off more furious reactions from those who lamented that the artist -- who does not have a reputation for being a slanderer -- was forced to remove a comic that only mildly criticized the government.
Some suspected Jeong’s sponsors may have pressured him to remove the comic, given that it had content criticizing major companies. In the comic, parodied versions of major conglomerates are depicted gobbling up all the profits in the market.
Jeong later explained that he did not have issues with large companies, but he did think there was a “problem with (the company) exploiting ordinary people for their benefit.” He also rejected criticism that he favored the liberal bloc by bashing the conservative President Park Geun-hye and her government.
“The reason I am wishing for a world where everyone is happy is not because I am a ‘leftist-zombie’ communist, but because I will soon be a father.”