Wading through apologies


Yeah, this Korean SNL thing isn’t getting any better. The show and one of the comedians have issued apologies, and then more apologies, to B1A4. In return, B1A4 has issued apologies, and then more apologies (more on that in a minute).

And I think it says something about how topsy-turvy this situation is that I find myself agreeing the most with the K-netz translated by Netizenbuzz. In particular:

11. [+265, -15] Reflecting doesn’t exempt you from punishment

14. [+198, -17] So that’s it? A man ends up in jail but a woman can get away with a letter apology? Talk about double standards ㅋ

This is why I think it’s important for people to know what sexual assault actually is and to be able to identify it with some accuracy.

Remember this:


Sexual assault is not simply rudeness, it’s not just poor judgement, and it’s not sexual harassment (at least not the way Americans use the term). Sexual assault is a statutory crime that, in the United States at least, is typically punished with jail time. If someone sexually assaults you, and then apologizes for it, the state does not consider the matter settled (and neither should you).

But it’s K-Pop, so everything is all about the fucking apologies!

There seems to be a lot of focus by people on the fact that SNL has not yet apologized to Infinite. Why people give a fuck, I don’t know–it doesn’t fucking matter that they apologized to B1A4 no matter how many times they do it, and it certainly won’t matter if they apologize to Infinite. Nor does it matter if they apologize to the various celebrities whose dicks they didn’t touch. None of that makes what they did any better.

Again: Apologies do not fix sexual assault.

But hey, SNL isn’t the only one making fucked-up apologies–B1A4 keeps apologizing for having been sexually assaulted!

Netizenbuzz again!

2. [+529, -26] A weird situation where the victim is made to apologize. . . .

1. [+638, -57] You guys are the victims, why are you apologizing? Don’t be sorry at all. . . .

It is weird that B1A4 is apologizing . . . and it is also weird how Infinite is just totally laying low.

And isn’t it interesting that Koreans are writing stuff like, “B1A4 should go to court!!” when supposedly the entire reason K-Pop groups are docile and obedient is because of the larger Korean culture and its emphasis on hierarchy.

Hm, I wonder where I could find some insight into this . . . oh, Jesus! Netizenbuzz!

3. [+474, -27] You have to consider from B1A4’s perspective that it’s actually detrimental to their image to drag this scandal out. They just made their comeback, they can’t start it off with something so dirty like this. It’s better for the agency to wrap it up as fast as possible.

Yup. Once again the “It’s Korean culture!” explanations are just bullshit culturalism: It’s in the business interests of B1A4 and Infinite’s labels to have this go away as quickly and as quietly as possible. Taking people to court because you were sexually assaulted backstage doesn’t exactly fit into the Here’s Your Happy, Sparkly Oppa Prince Who Has No Problems! fantasy.

We’ll see what happens. As of 2013, most victims of sex crimes in Korea no longer have to agree to press charges (and men can be victims, too!), so given how clear the evidence is and the fact that it happened more than once, a prosecutor might go ahead with charges whether or not the groups or their management want it.

On the other hand: Yes, it took until 2013 for Korean law to recognize that adult men can be the victims of sexual assault. So we’ll see.

Fuck these apologies, either way.

ETA: Ah, this is more like it. It’s not like I thrill to see someone get into serious trouble, but I think it sends a terrible message to have something so illegal happen in such a blatant and public manner, and then have law enforcement do absolutely nothing.


5 responses »

  1. Hey, I was looking at Netizenbuzz this morning & also was surprised that there were some actual discussions going on & not just omgmyopparsimgonnafukkshitup….The number of useless “apologies” SNL has issued seems to indicate they’re missing the point. Their claim that this cop-a-feel session was done to set the guests at ease because it’s a live show is disingenuous. It’s not like these groups haven’t been performing Live On Stage or been on a tv program before. If an idol has stage fright that badly grabbing him by the nuts isn’t going to calm him down. Your distinction between harassment & assault is spot on. If the SNL staff had made lewd suggestive remarks that made the groups uncomfortable,that’s harassment. Touching their genitals w/out explicit permission is assault & there’s No winding that back. So,yeah apologies are pretty much just window dressing.

    One comment I saw while I was there had a link to complain to SNL in NYC because they license SNL in SK. Since it is indeed all about business I thought that might not be a bad idea so I sent them a short message saying they need to take a look at their brand being tarnished in the Asian market. Maybe if they get enough complaints it will ping their radar enough for someone to pick up the phone & say Wtf is going on over there…..or, you know, maybe they’ll issue an apology /s……


    • But will the original SNL take a period to reflect upon their actions, and then return with a more mature image? K-Pop really spoils you for that sort of thing, you know.

      The second apology was weird to me–of course, there’s really nothing they can say that would make me be like, “I get it! That sounds totally reasonable! Grope away!” But it was almost like a story a child would tell: Everything was going great, but then, one day, The Bad Things Happened! Like, we saw the video, we saw everyone laughing, we saw it because you put it online–this kind of work culture doesn’t just “happen,” this was in the works for a while.

      The thing with the term “sexual harassment” in this particular context is that I believe it’s a literal translation of the Korean term. (Although I have seen the term “indecent assault” also in discussions of Korean sex-crime law, so maybe that’s more specific? Not a lawyer, much less a Korean one, so I wouldn’t know.) But yeah, like you say, “sexual harassment” means something different in the U.S…

      • The thing that gets me w/the apologies is that the 1st statement was we didn’t touch them til someone said Video!, then they were all like Durrrr,ohhhh,That touching,hahahaha…..jk….nm….What was the point of cluelessly filming it anyway ? What did they think they were going to do w/that footage ? I think I saw them claim this is a long standing tradition they’ve done since their 1st year on air & they did it w/All their male guests, so that’s staggering if it was done with the same intensity. I’m unclear on whether the Block B & Infinite footage had already been up but nobody was triggered til they put B1A4 on FB or if it was all put up at once like a document dump.

        • Right–it helps if you don’t lead your apologies with, “It never happened!!!!”

          The Block B footage on YouTube has a “[FB]” in the corner plus a March date, so I think SNL did put on it Facebook like they did the B1A4 footage (I don’t remember anything about it from the time, but I don’t look up EVERY last thing). My understanding is that the Infinite footage came from a mystery source, which makes it sound like SNL was with-it enough (or told) not to put that footage up, and then stupidly put up the B1A4 footage afterward.

          But I would assume that people just didn’t think anything of the Block B footage until the B1A4 and Infinite footage came out–that switched it from looking like a prank to looking like something much more menacing. I mean, even the Super! Shocking! “[COMPILATION] INFINITE BLOCK B & B1A4 Sexually Molested Backstage at SNL Korea” has Super! Shocking! Slo-Motion! footage of Lee Se Young grabbing Zico’s…shoulder. Then I think she pokes him in the side or something.

          • Now there’s video on YouTube of Jonghyun of SHINee being rushed at when he was on SNL in June. It appears to be upper body hugs that time,although one woman has him in a death grip. The video isn’t very clear but from the hair color/style it could be Lee Se Young. The video source once again is FB. I’m surprised SNL hasn’t scrubbed that clean by now, unless this is Look ! We don’t always grope our guests ! I saw some vague rumors that Junho of 2pm & actor Kim Min Suk received special greetings too but no video or pix at this point. LSY won an award for comedy that she won’t be accepting & won’t be attending the event so I suppose she’ll be “reflecting”.

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