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Posted by on Aug 18, 2009 in Commentary, Korean Culture, Korean Food | 0 comments

Korea’s Food Disparagement Lawsuit continues

The food disparagement case filed against actress Kim Min-sun continues with a conservative Korean advocacy group calling for judges who are politically aligned with liberal or progressive causes to recuse themselves from hearing the case. The Chosun Ilbo reports that the Freedom Advance Association

…said judges should be screened to see whether they hold “biased ideological views” and plans to recommend A-Meat seek another judge if it feels they are biased.

She is being sued by Mr. Park Chang-kyu, a South Korean beef importer and restaurateur, because of comments she made in reaction to MBC’s sensational report in May 2008 discussing the potential for Mad Cow disease in American cattle. Since Ms. Kim was named as a co-defendant alongside the MBC producers and reporters directly associated with the report, many have come to her defense, arguing that the suit is a legal assault on her right to freedom of speech.

I have not seen any articles or blogs coming to the defense of MBC in regards to this lawsuit. Maybe that’s because a government report found that their shoddy and possibly negligent English translations purposefully exaggerated the threat of Mad Cow disease in American beef to boost their ratings and to provoke negative Korean public opinion of the US.

Ms. Kim, on the other hand, was simply reacting in a blunt, knee-jerk manner to the content of that report. She could not have known that MBC was manipulating her, and millions of her fellow Koreans to react the way they did to that report.

I do not believe that Mr. Park is helping his food disparagement case by targeting Ms. Kim in this fashion. This suit may have gained more publicity than it would have if MBC was the only party he sued, but the only court that should matter in this case is the opinion of a judge and jury, not the court of public opinion.

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