A group of women's rights activists and movie workers union have criticized Korean director Kim Ki-duk who was charged by an unnamed actress of physically assaulting her and forcing her to do a sex scene in a movie.
In a joint press conference in Seoul on Aug. 8, members of the Korea Women's Human Rights Center and Federation of Korea Movie Workers' Union denounced the director for his actions against the actress.
The actress accused Kim Ki-duk of hitting her and forcing her to shoot a sex scene for the movie "Moebius" that was released in 2013.
In a statement, Kim Ki-duk said he hit the actress to show how she should act in the scene. "This happened while I was demonstrating and explaining that this was the scene I wanted. It was around four years ago so I do not remember exactly. In any case, it was from a director's stance, a situation that occurred while concentrating to heighten the realism of the film," he said, according to the Korea Herald, adding that he will take responsibility if a crew member would testify on what happened.
But Lee Myung-sook of the human rights center disagreed.
"Is this a case where (the accuser) can just say he's sorry and be done with it? The mere fact that Kim considers an apology to be adequate shows how idle he is in dealing with this case. He has to be held liable, legally," she said.
Ahn Byoung-ho of the movie workers union said the actress did not complain at the time.
"Actors (and actresses) have to think about being cast in other films, particularly since she hadn't worked in a while. And the film directors have absolute control during shoots, so it makes it harder for the actors to argue with them," he said.
He added, "People say, 'Why didn't she (the actress) raise the issue back then? Well, it's practically impossible to raise such issues in the movie industry if she wants to keep working."
Criminal psychology professor Lee Soo-jung of Gyeonggi University explained that "although this is a clear case of sexual harassment, there is little awareness of such crimes as it is not outright sexual assault."
"Many victims of such cases in Korea tend to hold in their pain without telling anyone. These kinds of sexual harassment happen frequently and across all fields, but Korea lacks a system to punish such acts," she said.