The Korea Herald


Olympic commentators’ sexual remarks ruled unproblematic

By Korea Herald

Published : Sept. 12, 2016 - 17:04

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A media watchdog recently ruled that rampant sexual remarks made by some commentators during broadcasts of the Rio Olympics events this summer were unproblematic, raising the issue of lax monitoring of discrimination, a lawmaker said Monday.

According to Rep. Kim Seang-tae of the ruling Saenuri Party, the Korea Communications Standards Commissions did not take any disciplinary action regarding gender-related slurs by commentators during live broadcasts of the recent Olympic Games.

The organization is a broadcast and internet censorship body responsible for ensuring fair and clean broadcast content here.
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In August, main broadcasters SBS and KBS were hit by heavy criticism as their commentators were seen making slews of controversial remarks.

During the women’s 48-kilogram judo match, SBS commentator Kim Jeong-il remarked, “She competes roughly despite her tender-looking skin,” referring to the world’s top judo competitor Urantsetseg Munhbat from Mongolia.

KBS commentator Han Sang-hon also came under fire after he said of beach volleyball players, “Beauties are for the beach, bikinis are for the sea.” He also said, “The beach is somewhere where you (men) must definitely go with girls. If you go there only with other men, what else would you do except eat some barbecue?”

KBS commentator Choi Seung-don described Korean female epee fencer Choi In-jeong as “an athlete with such good looks that she can even participate in a beauty pageant, along with her skills in fencing as well as piano.”

Such slurs led to hordes of people criticizing the broadcast commentators and demanding the watchdog take disciplinary measures.

“What does a competitor’s sports ability have to do with gender or good looks? I also felt sexually harassed when I heard commentator’s remarks as a female viewer,” said a 27-year-old woman surnamed Kim, who watched the beach volleyball event.

However, despite the series of inappropriate remarks aired during the live Olympic Games broadcasts, the KCSC on Aug. 31 only reviewed two cases and did not take any disciplinary action or give warnings to any of the commentators in question. It said it found “no errors in their remarks.”

Rep. Kim said that inappropriate remarks broadcast during the Olympic matches led to viewers’ discomfort, calling for the KCSC to step up efforts in monitoring and controlling remarks made during broadcasts.

“Many TV viewers here felt discomfort due to commentators’ irrelevant remarks, the KCSC should come up with decisions to strengthen monitoring and give warnings to broadcasters to meet nationwide social consensus,” remarked Kim.

By Kim Da-sol(