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Writer fined for tricking people into LGBT donations plans appeal

Writer Eun Ha-sun speaks about her intention behind Facebook post with telephone number that misled people to donate toward LGBT causes

Feminist writer Eun Ha-sun who has been fined 2 million won ($1,770) for misleading people into donating toward LGBT causes via texting said she would appeal the ruling.

Eun, known for her outspoken views on feminism and LGBT issues, is now in a legal battle with an anti-LGBT religious group after her Facebook post with a wrong phone number misled some 90 people to donate 3,000 won ($2.60) each to the Seoul Queer Culture Festival.

The amount of the donation reached nearly 440,000 won after Seoul Western District Court found her guilty of fraud in a summary order on Monday. But Eun said on her Twitter that the whole thing could have been avoided if “there were no hatred towards sexual minorities to begin with” and is seeking to appeal the decision in a trial scheduled for Dec. 7.

(Eun Ha-sun's Facebook)
(Eun Ha-sun's Facebook)

The story goes back to a year ago when EBS’ gender-themed topical show “Candid Men and Women,” starring Eun as a panel member, aired two LGBT episodes in late December and early January. The shows faced heavy criticism from religious groups.

“When the trailers began airing (for the LGBT episodes), Facebook posts continue to appear expressing views that the show should be taken off-air,” Eun told The Korea Herald.

Eun posted on Facebook in December that reads, “Dear children of God who oppose homosexuality. The producer’s contact number of ‘Candid Men and Women’ has been changed. Make sure to text to this number: #2540-6550.”

Eun said the post was her way of reacting with humor to the hatred she and the producer received, including telephone calls and text messages.

Following the dispute, she left the show prematurely and a court fined her 2 million won. She is now hoping to overturn the ruling.

“I wrote on Facebook that the producer’s phone number had changed just to stop all the messages. I left a number which directs to donating 3,000 won towards the Seoul Queer Culture Festival.”

She said anyone would have understood that the post was not meant to be taken seriously.

“It wouldn’t make sense for someone who had been on the show for a year to share a producer’s personal phone number or encourage people to text complaints,” she said before adding, “If you searched the number on either Naver or Google, you would have known that it was the donation number for the Seoul Queer Culture Festival.”

(Eun Ha-sun's Facebook)
(Eun Ha-sun's Facebook)

Eun acknowledged the frustration that people are feeling over what many saw as a misleading post but claimed her original post, which was intended to be humorous, was taken out of context and shared.

“I know it would have been unpleasant to find out that you had donated for a cause you don’t want to support,” she said.

Despite writing on social media about how to get a refund, Eun claimed she has never received any request to have donations returned.

The controversy surrounding her post shows no sign of abating soon, as a religious group said it would seek to file a civil suit against Eun over her post.

By Yim Hyun-su (