S Korea TV station apologises over ‘spycam’ controversy

SEOUL (AFP) – A major South Korean TV station was forced to apologise after airing a performance by a well-known rapper in which he appeared to endorse secretly-filmed pornography, as the country battles a growing epidemic of so-called spycam videos.

The show by San E, who performed at the Pyeongchang Olympics last year, sparked outrage when the words ‘I love spycam’ flashed up on a screen that was part of his background set.

The 34-year-old rapper – who has a track record of controversial remarks – has refused to respond to the criticism, while broadcaster MBC has taken two weeks to say sorry following the January 31 broadcast.

“We apologise for having aired the concerned segment without proper filtering,” MBC said in a statement on Thursday.

South Korea has been fighting a growing tide of molka, or spycam videos, which largely involve men secretly filming women in schools, offices, trains, toilets, changing rooms and on the street.

This February 8, 2018 file photo shows South Korean rapper San E during a press conference for his movie Live Again, Love Again in Seoul. – AFP

Spycam crimes reported to police surged from around 1,100 in 2010 to more than 6,500 in 2017, and many offenders share or sell photos and videos online.

According to official statistics about 98 per cent of offenders are men – ranging from school teachers and college professors to church pastors and police officers – while more than 80 per cent of victims are women.

San E, who has made a number of hit songs and has more than 460,000 followers on Instagram, is no stranger to controversy. During a concert in December local media reported he called feminists “mentally ill” and the lyrics of one song Feminist read: “You say blah blah blah about South Korea’s unequal gender pay…fake fact”.

South Korean women make 63 per cent of what men make in earnings, the highest pay gap among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based group said in a 2017 report.

Women’s rights activist Bae Bog-joo said if the rapper was unaware of the implications of his actions, it showed his “lack of gender sensitivity” and “profound male-centred views”.