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Poet Ko Un loses damages suit against MeToo accuser

Renowned South Korean poet Ko Un on Friday lost a compensation suit he filed against a female fellow poet for publicly accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that the accusations raised by Choi Young-mi are credible based on her consistent testimony and other witness statements, turning down Ko's 1 billion-won ($886,500) damages claim. 


Ko, who has been regarded by local media as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, sued several people and media outlets, including Choi and Park Jin-seong, another poet who raised similar allegations on his blog.

As for Park, the court ordered him to pay 10 million won to Ko, finding that much of what he had alleged about Ko on his online posting amounted to falsehoods.

The court also ruled that the media had reasons to run stories about the allegations in light of the public's right to know considering Ko's reputation.

The sexual allegations came to light early last year after Choi described Ko's alleged habitual harassment of young women in her latest poem "Monster."

The poem starts off by saying that "a poet named K advised (Choi) never to sit next to Master En, because he always likes to touch young women."

Choi then appeared in several media interviews, one of in which she claimed Ko asked her to touch his body parts.

Ko, 85, has denied the allegations.

The accusation against Ko, long revered for his past literary efforts for Korean democratization, accelerated MeToo revelations in art circles and severely degraded his literary profile.

Ko's works were removed from the middle and high school course books following the accusations, while his publisher Changbi canceled its plan to publish Ko's new poems to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his debut.

Following Friday's ruling, Choi thanked the judiciary for "bringing justice."

"Our society should no longer overlook a perpetrator shamelessly suing the victim," she said. "I want everyone who helped cover up the truth to look back on their actions." (Yonhap)