Victim denounces director Kim Ki-duk for sexual harassment, demands punishment

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Aug 8, 2017 - 13:36
  • Updated : Aug 8, 2017 - 15:52
Film director Kim Ki-duk’s alleged assault and coercion of an actress into an unscripted sex scene constitute sexual harassment and are a severe violation of human rights, a group representing the victim said Tuesday.

The joint group -- consisting of a women’s rights group, legal representatives and film workers’ groups -- that represents an actress who has filed charges against Kim held a joint press conference in Seoul, denouncing Kim and urging measures to prevent further violation of human rights.

Lee Myung-sook, head of the Korea Women’s Human Rights Center, said the actress is adamant against receiving any compensation from Kim because she does not want people to think she is taking action for the money.

Kim Ki-duk (Yonhap)

The actress recently filed charges against Kim for physical assault and trying to force her to shoot a sex scene that had not been agreed upon during the shooting of “Moebius” in 2013.

Kim admitted to the assault, but said he was just coaching her in acting the scene. He denied accusations related to the sex scene. The director added that he would apologize if a staff member from the movie testified to the incident.

“Is this a case where (the accuser) can just say he’s sorry and be done with it? The mere fact that Kim considers an apology to be adequate shows how idle he is in dealing with this case,” said Lee. “He has to be held liable, legally.”

Lee Soo-jung, a professor of criminal psychology at Gyeonggi University, said that coercing the actress to shoot a sex scene -- which she rejected -- is just as big a problem as the physical assault.

“Although this is a clear case of sexual harassment, there is little awareness of such crimes as it is not outright sexual assault. Many victims of such cases in Korea tend to hold in their pain without telling anyone,” she said during the press conference. “These kinds of sexual harassment happen frequently and across all fields, but Korea lacks a system to punish such acts.”

The joint group representing the victim in a physical assault and sexual harassment case against director Kim Ki-duk holds a press conference Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The joint group said Kim‘s actions represent widespread rights violations that are rampant in the film industry.

Ahn Byoung-ho, head of the Federation of Korea Movie Workers’ Union, pointed out that the actress, who was struggling for work at the time, had trouble speaking up against the famous director.

“Actors (and actresses) have to think about being cast in other films, particularly since she hadn’t worked in a while. And the film directors have absolute control during shoots, so it makes it harder for the actors to argue with them,” he said.

“People say, ‘Why didn’t she (the actress) raise the issue back then? Well, it’s practically impossible to raise such issues in the movie industry if she wants to keep working,” he added.

Chae Yun-hee, head of Women in Film Korea, said her group is conducting a survey of sexual harassment cases in the film industry through the end of the month. The group plans to hold a forum in September of October based on the results of the 500-person survey.

The Korean Film Council is also conducting a similar survey, results of which will be revealed in October.

The Korea Women’s Human Rights Center has set up a hotline at (02) 599-0222 that will be in service until Sept. 7 and email address -- kcwcr@gmail.com -- for reporting human rights violations in film, art or other culture-related sectors.

By Yoon Min-sik