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KBS considers action against lawmaker’s lawsuit

Rep. Kang Yong-seok. (Yonhap News)
Rep. Kang Yong-seok. (Yonhap News)
Korea’s largest broadcaster KBS is considering whether to take legal action against a lawmaker’s controversial lawsuit against one of its entertainers.

Rep. Kang Yong-seok, who was expelled from the ruling party last year for making sexist remarks to female college students, sued comedian Choi Hyo-jong last week, claiming the KBS entertainer insulted legislators during his weekend TV gig.

On the Nov. 2 episode of “The Wart’s Kindergarten” segment of the popular “Gag Concert,” a comedy show, Choi satirized politicians, saying “all you need is to spend 200 million won, shake hands with old aged people and eat cheap food you wouldn’t ordinarily eat in front of voters” to become a lawmaker. KBS says it is considering whether to take legal action on behalf of Choi.

“We believe Choi’s remarks do not constitute contempt,” a KBS official said on condition of anonymity. “A legal measure taken against satirical comedy is an issue to consider seriously on behalf of our audience.”

But because Kang has taken the suit against Choi and not the broadcaster, KBS is “cautiously deliberating” whether to take legal counter action, the official added.

 
Comedian Choi Hyo-jong
Comedian Choi Hyo-jong

Choi, the accused comedian, said he does “not believe in making gags without a hidden meaning.”

“I am not somebody’s pet. I want to make people laugh with a gig that has meaning,” the 25-year-old said during a KBS talk show slated to be aired Tuesday.

Kang, currently appealing a conviction for his remarks, doesn’t seem to be winning sympathy with his recent claim, with many observers calling his accusation groundless.

During a meeting with a group of female college students last year, Kang implied anchorwomen must fulfill sexual favors for their bosses to get competitive jobs.

Sued by a group of anchorwomen, Kang has appealed to the Supreme Court.

While Kang claims what he said should have no more impact than what was aired on KBS, a growing number of people ― including widely-known celebrities and scholars ― have been criticizing him via social networking services.

Jin Joong-gwon, a leading social critic, accused the lawmaker of “going out of his senses” on his Twitter account, while leading comedians, including Kim Mi-hwa, called for immediate countermeasures against Kang.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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