Top South Korea director Kim Ki-duk accused of rape

Women and men around the world are taking part in the #MeToo movement. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Top South Korea director Kim Ki-duk accused of rape

SEOUL: A South Korean actress has accused award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk and a top actor of rape, as the country’s nascent #MeToo movement begins to spiral.
The fresh allegations against Kim come after his presence at this year’s Berlin Film Festival caused controversy following a fine for physically assaulting a different actress.
In the latest case an actress, who refused to be named, said that Kim repeatedly tried to enter her hotel room when they were shooting a movie in a remote village several years ago.
“It was a living hell... so many nights, he came to my room and slammed the door or phoned me at the room repeatedly until I responded,” she told Seoul’s MBC television station.
Kim eventually summoned her to his room to “discuss a script,” she went on. “Then he raped me.”
The film’s male star Cho Jae-hyun also raped her, she said.
The two men “shared stories of raping actresses and there was a sense of competition between them,” she said in an investigation aired late Tuesday.
The actress said she had quit acting afterwards and was in therapy for years.
Her accusations come as the #MeToo movement gradually gains ground in South Korea, which remains socially conservative and patriarchal in many respects despite its economic and technological advances.
Earlier this week a provincial governor and former presidential contender resigned after an aide accused him of multiple rapes.
Kim — who has won prizes at the Berlin, Cannes and Venice film festivals — was fined 5 million won ($4,600) by prosecutors last year for physically assaulting an actress on set.
They dismissed sex abuse charges citing lack of evidence but the case sparked controversy at this year’s Berlinale, which invited Kim despite its support for the #MeToo campaign against abuse and mistreatment of women.
Kim told MBC television in text messages that he was only involved in “consensual sexual relationships.”
“I never tried to satisfy my personal desires using my status as a film director,” he added.
Kim has previously rejected abuse accusations against him, saying he ensures no one “suffers” on the sets of his ultraviolent, sexually explicit art movies.
Cho, who has starred in many of Kim’s movies and is known as his “alter ego” told the station he would talk about the accusations “once an investigation begins.”
“I’m panicking,” he said. “I am a sinner. But many of the things I see in news are so different from truth.”
Cho apologized last month after being accused of sexually abusing female crew members and students. He was fired from the college where he was teaching and removed from a TV drama production.
Another actress interviewed by MBC Tuesday said Kim repeatedly asked to see her breasts and her naked body during an audition process that felt “deeply humiliating.”
All three of Kim’s accusers remain anonymous for fear of public shaming.
Women in South Korea’s movie industry, both on screen or behind cameras, shy away from making open accusations against senior staffers or directors for fear of permanently damaging their careers.


Photographer admits nude pyramid video ‘the dumbest idea’

Updated 09 December 2018
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Photographer admits nude pyramid video ‘the dumbest idea’

  • Photographer says he did not mean to be disrespectful
  • Egyptian Minister of Antiquities dubs it a "violation of public morality"

DUBAI: A video that shows a Danish couple climbing the Pyramid of Khufu before posing naked at the top has gone viral, sparking outrage from both the Egyptian government and the general public.

The video, posted on YouTube last Wednesday, was shot by Danish photographer Andreas Hvid, who is known on social media for posting pictures from various high vantage points around the world. Known as “rooftopping,” the process involves climbing cranes, chimneys or high-rise buildings unsecured and usually illegally. Hvid has been doing it for years and has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.

Speaking to Ekstra Bladet, a Danish tabloid, Hvid said he had wanted to do a pyramid shoot for some time. This was Hvid’s second attempt to climb the pyramid following a failed attempt, when he and a friend were caught by guards and taken to the local police station. They were released with a warning.

After sneaking on to the plateau just before closing, he and his model friend hid in a temple and waited for the level of activity on the plateau to fall. “We lay and froze for about an hour-and-a-half while we could hear cars driving around,” he said.

The actual climb took about 25 minutes. “A euphoric feeling struck us both when we reached the top,” Hvid said. “It was the culmination of a lot of work and many chances taken.”

As for the subject matter of the video, he said he did not mean for it to come across as disrespectful, but rather as a critique on the behavior of privileged Western youths. “It was the dumbest idea I could think of. Western, privileged youth at its worst. But I don’t make fun of religious symbols, which the pyramids haven’t been in 4,500 years.”

Speaking to Al-Ahram, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany called it a violation of public morality and said he had filed a memo with the prosecutor-general on Friday. Al-Anany promised that the incident and the video would be investigated by the attorney-general, although it is unclear what sort of action could be taken against the couple.

Climbing pyramids is illegal in Egypt, though that hasn’t stopped people before. In 2016, German teen Andrej Ciesielski also climbed the Pyramid of Khufu, causing Egypt to send an official notice to the German embassy banning him from the country for life.

As for Hvid, he has since moved to an unspecified location in Asia. “I will stay out of Egypt in the future, as I probably risk being sentenced if I go back,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “It was the desire to climb the pyramid that brought me here, so I feel I've gotten what I wanted.”