Pianist Paik Kun-woo has filed for arbitration with the Press Arbitration Commission in a case against network broadcaster MBC over its investigative journalism program “PD Note.” The program suggested the pianist and his daughter had mistreated his wife, actor Yoon Jeong-hee, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017.
In a statement issued Monday evening, the pianist said he was seeking a correction and 1.1 billion won ($943,620) in damages for himself and his daughter, Paik Jin-hee, over the Sept. 7 episode of “PD Note,” saying the show had provided incorrect information, greatly damaging their reputation and causing mental anguish.
The show dealt with the issue of adult guardianship and focused on Paik’s wife.
In a series of interviews shown on the program, Yoon’s younger siblings claimed that Paik and his daughter had forcibly moved Yoon to Paris only to abandon her in a house with no caregiver. The show also claimed that Paik Jin-hee was preventing the actor’s siblings from contacting or meeting her. In February, the siblings had uploaded a petition on the Blue House website, asking for help to bring Yoon back home to Korea.
In the statement, Paik Kun-woo said he and his daughter employed caregivers who stayed with her every day. He added that Yoon’s siblings cut off contact with him immediately after Paik changed the password for his bank account, which Yoon’s younger sister used to manage, upon discovering that the siblings had frequently withdrawn money from the account without his knowledge.
“All the information in the episode is false, my reputation and my daughter’s have been destroyed, and we are both suffering from mental anguish,” Paik said in the 11-page press statement.
“The emotional pain that Paik is going through is unimaginable,” Jung Sung-bok, Paik’s legal representative and a partner at the law firm Cheongrim, told The Korea Herald on Tuesday.
“The pianist has never loved anyone other than his wife and the piano,” Jung said.
The lawyer insisted that the MBC program was aired as revenge against Paik and his daughter for not responding to an interview request. He added that the one-sided and false portrayals of Paik in the episode clearly violate journalistic ethics, and that consequences will follow such abuses of power by the media.
Meanwhile, MBC stood by its investigative journalism show. “Our position is clear that there is nothing wrong in the content that we delivered,” an official from MBC’s content promotion desk told The Korea Herald on Tuesday.
The company plans to respond to the matter accordingly through the Press Arbitration Commission, the official said.
Paik said a press conference will be held Thursday to address the issue.
The pianist has a series of recitals scheduled for the fall season, including a performance at Music Festival Pohang on Nov. 8.
By Kim Hae-yeon, Lee Si-jin