The police may have dropped charges against Jo Min-ki, but the public will not.
It was around 4 p.m, KST when Jo Min-Ki’s wife found her husband, hung and lifeless, in what authorities are ruling as a suicide. Shortly after news of the event became public, people took to their online social networks to share their thoughts. Although there was an outpouring of sympathy for Mrs. Jo and her children, the same cannot be said for the deceased actor and former professor Jo Min-Ki. Rather, the incident reinforced the values of the “Me Too” movement.
Little more than an hour had passed, but already the top trends in Korea centered on the “Me Too” movement. About 54K people were talking about the actor’s suicide (조민기 자살, Jo Min-ki jasal). In contrast, during the same time over 100K people mentioned “victim” (피해자들, Pihaejadeul), and 65.2K people mentioned were talking about the perpetrators in the roiling “Me Too” movement sweeping over the nation (미투 가해자, Mitu gahaeja).
However, the most telling of the trends was the hashtag trend created in direct response Jo’s suicide: “even if you die, your sex crimes don’t disappear” (#죽는다고_성범죄가_사라지진_않는다). Prior to Jo’s death, he was scheduled to respond to the police summons as a suspect on March 12 amid allegations that he sexually misconduct with his students at Cheongju University. The summons came after police secure around 20 victims and testimonies. As a result, Police in North Chungcheong Province is set to end the case with no right to file a criminal prosecution following the death of the suspect.
Notwithstanding the legal decision made by police, many have no intention of letting his crimes fade from memory. In the following comments posted on Twitter, it is clear that many are still upset with the situation and the treatment of the victims.
The “Me Too” movement can be traced to October 2017, when the New York Times and New Yorker published an investigative report regarding sexual abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Since then, the movement has gained global momentum as a platform for victims of sexual violence to speak-up and even name their assailants. South Korea’s “Me Too” movement has hit the entertainment industry hard. Many veteran actors like Choi Il-hwa and Oh Dal-su have been named by multiple women.
Translated by O.C
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