Korean-American actor and ‘Pachinko’ drama star Jin Ha deleted his social media accounts a day after he apologized for his Tumblr blog where he uploaded illegally taken photos of elderly Korean women with descriptions that made fun of them and sexualized them.
On March 27, Jin Ha’s Instagram and Twitter accounts were deleted while content from his personal website was also removed except for the apology he wrote about his blog.
“Pachinko” was released on Apple TV Plus on March 25, and in the drama, Jin Ha stars as Solomon Baek, the grandson of Sunja (played by Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung).
But on the day of the drama’s release, a Korean netizen accused Jin Ha of illegal photography and sexual harassment via his Tumblr blog “Korean Flowers in Bloom.”
Jin Ha uploaded around 100 photos of elderly Korean women on the subway taken without their consent and without their knowledge. The blog content was published from July 2010 to September 2011.
On his personal website, Jin Ha wrote that “Korean Flowers in Bloom” is “a photography blog I started in 2011 while living in South Korea. Please enjoy responsibly.
ILLEGAL PHOTOGRAPHY, SEXUAL HARASSMENT
A Korean netizen posted online on March 25 with the caption, “Korean-American actor in ‘Pachinko’ blogged about illegal filming of Korean grandmothers (post not removed).”
“Korean-American actor Jin Ha, who appeared in ‘Pachinko’, uploaded illegally filmed photos of Korean grandmothers to his portfolio website. Illegally taken photos and self-comments were posted for two years from 2010 to 2011, and were published for more than 10 years until 2022,” the netizen wrote.
The netizen cited two posts from Jin Ha’s blog as sexual harassment against older Korean women.
One is an article dated August 16, 2010, in which Jin Ha uploaded a photo of a sleeping grandmother and wrote, “Working with such a provocative model, I found it hard to control myself. and my lust.
Another is a post dated August 9, 2010, in which Jin Ha uploaded a photo of a woman wearing a blouse with large floral prints and wrote, “Now we have an excuse to look directly at her right nipple.
“Illegal filming is also a problem, and it is very unpleasant to write what feels like criticizing grandmothers. I write this in the hope that the actor apologizes to the victims and delete the message because it has become a public issue,” added the Korean.
After the controversy erupted, Jin Ha deleted his Tumblr blog and posted an apology on his website on March 26.
“Hello. Thank you for this opportunity to address a long overdue failure in my past,” Jin Ha wrote.
He said, “You’re absolutely right. My “Korean Flowers in Bloom” Tumblr account from 2011 shouldn’t have been created at all. It was an invasion of the privacy of the older women featured, and many of my captions were inappropriate. I deeply regret my actions. and apologize for them.
“I was wrong to take these photos 11 years ago, and I was wrong to post them online. I was negligent in allowing these photos and captions of people I did not know personally to stay online. We asked Tumblr to delete this account immediately, which they did. ‘Korean Flowers in Bloom’ is no longer online,” he added.
Jin Ha’s Tumblr blog has not been accessible since March 26.
“I sincerely apologize to the older women I photographed. I also apologize to the viewers I offended with this Tumblr account. My poor judgment in 2011 was pointed out by readers wiser than me and I’m grateful for that,” he said.
Jin Ha added, “Thank you again for giving me this chance to rectify this blog error and bring it to my attention when it should have been clear to me from the start. I will work diligently to learn from this mistake so that I will never repeat it in the future.
South Korea’s “Act On Special Cases Concerning The Punishment, Etc. of Sexual Crimes” law states that “a person who takes pictures or videos of another person’s body, which may cause a sexual stimulus or disgrace against the will of the person who was shot, using a camera or other mechanism that has similar functions, shall be punished with imprisonment with labor for a term not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding 50 million won [$40,800]according to a copy of the law posted on the Korean Law Information Center website.
The law added that “a person who distributes, sells, rents, provides or openly exhibits or shows (hereinafter referred to as “distribution, etc.”) a photograph taken under subsection (1) or a duplicate thereof (including a duplicate of its duplicate; hereinafter in this paragraph the same applies) or a person who distributes, etc., a photograph or video taken under subsection (1) or its duplicate against the will of the person taken after the photograph or video taken under subsection (1) was not against the will of the person shot (including a person who takes their body themselves) at the time such photograph or video was taken, shall be punished with imprisonment with hard labor not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding 50 million won.
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