A recruiter told a black American who responded to an online advert for teaching jobs that he did not “work miracles” and could not get work for “wogs.”
The independent recruiter, Des Snowdon, told the woman in an e-mail that he could not get her a job because she was black, after she sent him her photo as part of an application.
The e-mail, seen by The Korea Herald, continued, “I wish you good luck but tell your friends not to contact me, we cannot get work fr (sic) wogs. Good luck.”
“Wog” is a highly derogatory term for non-Caucasians used in the U.K.
In Australia, the term often refers to southern European immigrants, but its power to offend is considered to have lessened in recent years.
“I just couldn’t believe someone would respond that way,” said the woman, who asked that only her first name Ivana be used. “Usually, if you don’t like how I look or whatever… just don’t respond or say the position is full.”
In another e-mail two days later, Snowdon denied that he was racist and said he was only abiding by the requirements of schools.
“I had 82 non-whites e-mail me, I lost it. I am sorry, I should have been more politically correct,” he wrote, later adding, “How would you feel when Filipinos and non-whites contact you 50 a day?”
He added that he regularly donated money to charities in Cambodia.
Five days later, he e-mailed again, claiming to have received death threats. He also said he was “truly sorry” and had “acted like a pig.”
He continued, “This means you will be named, all who threatened me will be named.”
Ivana, who said she was discouraged by the incident, said she only responded to the initial offensive e-mail and has ignored all correspondence since. She said she had no knowledge of any death threats, but acknowledged that three of her friends had contacted Snowdon and would have been angry.
Snowdon told The Korea Herald on Tuesday that he was extremely sorry, realized the “absolute seriousness” of the situation and had repeatedly apologized to the woman. He also said he had been intoxicated at the time of writing the emails and had only realized what he’d written two days later.
“I have received death threats, numerous death threats already. I am absolutely petrified and, of course, I wish it never happened. It was really, really terrible,” Snowdon said, adding that threats had targeted his family and he was so scared he was ready to “leave Korea today.”
He said he had given up recruiting and was leaving Korea in three weeks for unrelated reasons.
The recruiter had posted numerous adverts for teaching positions on expatriate forums such as Koreabridge and Pusanweb.
By John Power (firstname.lastname@example.org