Lee Jung Hee. Boy, what a mess. Read here to catch up on what all this is about if you’re currently unaware.
Anyway, as you’ve likely figured out by now, I’ve chosen not to cover this ongoing story despite people borderline harassing me in spam comments or in e-mails or on Twitter. I didn’t cover it not because I thought it was bullshit or because I wasn’t interested, but because it wasn’t related to Korean entertainment and I felt things were already going down the right path.
When the story first broke and it went viral in Korea and internationally, I went on Twitter to say that I hope the public outcry would lead to an investigation.
Goal of publicizing should just be to get the police to start an investigation, and hopefully it works.
— Asian Junkie (@asianjunkiecom) June 22, 2015
I felt this was an appropriate stance based on the nature of the accusations but the lack of evidence made available. Then, before I had the chance to write anything noteworthy, the police announced they would indeed be conducting an investigation, so I felt comfortable just following the story.
Many were not comfortable leaving it at that and made it their mission to seek justice for Lee Jung Hee through whatever means available (mainly social media?), which was somewhat understandable but I felt a bit overboard given how little we actually knew. Public outrage serves a purpose in these cases to bring attention to an issue, but it did bother me that people essentially turned this from seeking justice to demanding the alleged perpetrator’s head on a spike. It all came off a lot like a 21st century witch hunt where any result but guilty was unacceptable even though people basically didn’t know anything about what went down. Again, I sympathize with the emotions and anger or whatever, but sending somebody to jail for a long time under serious charges demands evidence, and it demands more than mere accusations, which is why I felt it was prudent to hold off until we knew more and that letting the investigation progress was the right move.
And that basically brings us to today.
Whereas before Lee Jung Hee had national-level support for her case and also galvanized international netizens, now everything has swung the other way after SBS “exposed” Lee Jung Hee, with the Korean media concluding that this was in fact a hoax.
That conclusion is based on the police stating that there was no footage of alleged sexual abuse in confiscated videos and that a follow-up investigation was unable to be done because Lee Jung Hee was uncooperative.
“After going through the fathers belongings, there weren’t any footages of rape in the confiscated videos.” They went on to state that the father was delivering pizza in Busan and continues to claim he has no involvement in the rapes. The police also revealed on the show that they requested a follow up interview and investigation with Lee Jung Hee but was rejected with her reason that she “cannot trust the police.”
The accused also states that Lee Jung Hee was being controlled by a religious figure.
The accused father also spoke on the show saying, “Lee Jung Hee is controlled by a shaman who she also calls great aunt.” Lee Jung Hee’s sister, who is also accused of the same crimes, admitted that “after Lee Jung Hee has been following a shaman ever since she believed that she was cured by her.” On the program, it was revealed that Lee Jung Hee has deep faith in Korean traditional shaman who are known to traditionally ask ancestors and ghosts to find answers.
And perhaps what convinced people the most was a clip where Lee Jung Hee and her two sons thought the camera and mic were off and spoke candidly.
After this footage and details of the case were shown to professionals, they revealed, “Lee Jung Hee’s smile while confessing what happened during investigation shows that her emotions are different from what she is saying. Lee Jung Hee’s husband’s confession seems truthful in terms of detail but Lee Jung Hee’s confession has many holes and leave out many details.”
Still, I’m not all that convinced for sure that this is a hoax, as it’s still possible she’s telling the truth or part of the truth. However, while the father’s religious counter and the fact that Lee Jung Hee didn’t want to do a follow-up are unconvincing to me, the fact that the tapes showed nothing (and they were supposed to) and the fact that they seemed to be making an act of it when they thought they were in private, certainly doesn’t help their credibility any. After not jumping to a conclusion one way, I’m not gonna jump to a conclusion the other way either, but the evidence certainly doesn’t side with Lee Jung Hee as of this moment.
Anyway, my point on a site level for talking about this is to let people know that I have reasons for what I do and what I cover — besides the fact that it’s my site and I do what I want — so please stop assuming shit about me or annoying me to no end about an issue that is so “clear” I need to support it. No, I don’t, because I have a brain of my own.
Additionally, the lesson learned shouldn’t be doing what a lot of netizens are doing, which is either switching to “all women are liars” rhetoric or doubling down on this being a conspiracy that reaches deeper than they thought, but rather that people should’ve been more measured and reasonable from the start. We always knew very little other than accusations, but people jumped to conclusions almost immediately about alleged perpetrators and alleged victims that we knew nothing about a couple months ago.
I’m not sure how this case ends, but every time some kind of reversal in perception happens, you want to say that you can hope for better the next time around, and that people will gradually learn their lesson. Unfortunately, based on what history has taught me, I’m guessing nothing much will change.