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[Newsmaker] Film authorities attempted to cover up director’s sex harassment: report

In a report released late Tuesday, the state-run Korean Film Council on Tuesday revealed an attempt to cover up a sexual harassment case by a director against her colleague by officials from its affiliated organization.

According to KOFIC, officials at the Korean Academy of Film Arts attempted to conceal actions by director Lee Hyun-joo, who was convicted of a sexual attack on her female colleague in 2015 and was sentenced to a suspended prison term in 2017. Lee has claimed innocence, but announced her retirement after being expelled from a local film directors’ association earlier in the year.
Director Lee Hyun-joo (Yonhap)
Director Lee Hyun-joo (Yonhap)

Both Lee and the victim were members of the KAFA.

The KOFIC report showed that the victim had notified a professor of the KAFA of the incident, but the professor repeatedly demanded she drop the case. It was also revealed the professor had used “inappropriate words” with the victim and testified against her in the trials.

The head of the KAFA at the time was aware of the accusations against Lee, but did not take any measures to protect the victim or report the case to KOFIC, the report went on to say.

KOFIC said the results of its investigation were delivered to the victim on Friday. Chief Oh Seok-geun apologized to the victim in person, and promised that the council would take measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

“The report has been sent to the (KOFIC) inspection team for administrative procedures, and disciplinary actions will be taken, in accordance to the regulations. We will also review (KAFA’s) operations to improve the system,” it said.

By Yoon Min-sik (