Suzy recently made news by signing a government petition asking for an investigation into a photo studio that allegedly coerced YouTuber Yang Ye Won into taking nude photos and also had its photographers sexually assault her. Suzy later took to Instagram to explain her decision to publicly use her celebrity to support it, basically saying that she thought the story wasn’t getting enough attention and it was something that deserved further scrutiny by authorities.
“Of course, they’re still investigating. Nothing has come out yet. In all respects, they’re solely one-sided claims, and there hasn’t been any evidence that fully supports either party for [us] to discuss whose fault it is. It’s hard to know what parts have been overblown, what parts have been left out, who’s telling the truth, and to what extent their stories are true. This is why I couldn’t readily make a decision [about this] early in the morning. However, I did not feel good as I saw comments which seemed to muddy up the essence of this case. Is there anything that I can do? For this case, since investigations are not complete, there was nothing that I could do to help. But I wanted to at least provide support to the woman whose photos had been released, for her courageous story. I saw comments saying it’d be good to have a petition that asks for more aggressive investigations on leaked hidden camera and illegal photos, so I participated on the [petition] site. The request for this case to be widely spread so that many could know about it – though it’s small, that much I could do. [Some] pointed out that I may have rashly intervened on a specific petition. It’s a valid point. Knowing [my] influence, and, as it is a case that does not have any results, it was an action that could of course cause bias towards one side. But regardless of what happens, I thought that either one of the two parties could hope for a proper conclusion as a result of this [news] spreading. Because either way, there is a victim. By gaining more people’s attention, I hoped that a more precise plan for a solution would emerge, which is why I didn’t want to let the case be so that it could just pass by.”
If you read the whole thing, she sounded extremely pragmatic and went about the decision to endorse very intelligently.
I think she took a big risk in doing this considering her image and popularity, and the backlash is already starting, but it’s hard to disagree it’s something that deserved further investigation at least.
As far as the actual case, the police are investigating the photo studio Yang Ye Won made the allegations against.
Yang Ye-won, who runs a YouTube channel called “Beagle Couple,” uploaded a video to the channel recounting her experience at the photo studio after sexually explicit photos of her appeared on pornographic websites earlier this month. “I was a victim of sexual assault,” she said. Three years ago, Yang applied for a part-time modeling gig at the studio. At the time, she was an aspiring actress. “Everything seemed fine at first,” Yang said in her video. “I just thought the studio was very clean.” After an interview and trial shoot, she signed a contract with the studio owner to do five more shoots. He promised to introduce her to some producers and directors he knew if she did a good job. “He told me the shoots would generally be simple, but there would sometimes be a ‘sexy concept,’” she said. When she went back to the studio, she was immediately coerced into taking sexually explicit photos, she said. “When I entered, the owner locked the door and then put another lock on the door,” Yang said. “I saw about 20 men holding their cameras while smoking. That’s when I realized something was wrong.” The owner then handed her a set of lingerie. “It was all see-through,” she said, “exposing my genital area.” When Yang refused, the owner pressured her by saying she would have to pay the compensation fee for each photographer in the room if she canceled. They would also sue. He then threatened to tell producers and directors about her refusal so she would “never even be able to debut as an actress.” “It was the first time in my life I was in such a savage, horrific atmosphere,” she said. “I thought since my family wasn’t financially well off, I shouldn’t do this, but at the same time, I was questioning what I’d do if I got sued and afraid I’d never even become an actress.” Yang finally agreed to do the shoot and told herself she would only withstand it for that day. When she stepped on set, photographers took turns trying to pose with her. “They said they’d help with the pose, touching my breasts and genital area here and there,” she said. “I was so scared and couldn’t even fight back.” Yang said she only had one thought in her head – to get out alive. “If I don’t do as they say, no one will know if I’m raped or even killed,” she recalled thinking. During the shoot, photographers told her to pull down her underwear and finger herself. “I couldn’t refuse because I was the only girl in a sealed room with all these men and was so scared,” she said. “After the first shoot, the owner asked me, ‘It wasn’t that bad, right?” When Yang said she wouldn’t model anymore, the owner threatened to release the photos. She ended up doing four more shoots and was sexually assaulted each time. Yang said she even heard one photographer pick up his phone and say, “Dad’s at work. I’ll call you when it ends.”
Additionally, Yang says she’s not the only victim of the photo studio.
Yang said she felt compelled to come forward with her story after hearing others go through a similar experience at the studio. When Yang discovered the photos of her on a pornographic site, she also noticed photos of an acquaintance, Lee So-yoon. Lee posted a similar story on her Facebook page a day earlier. “I’ve talked to many people, and they’ve given me the strength to come forward with my story and report the case,” Yang said.
Meanwhile, the studio has released a denial.
The studio has reportedly denied the allegations. Because the explicit pictures are uploaded to foreign websites with overseas IP addresses many years later, police may have a difficult time tracing them back to the studio.
I basically agree with Suzy’s approach to this in terms of judgment, because all the petition is asking for is a thorough investigation by authorities.
That said, given the corroborating stories from other alleged victims and what Yang Ye Won herself described, I find any hypothetical motivation for her to make this up rather unconvincing and think her story is quite believable. Still looking to see if anything else comes out of it, but at least this seems headed down the right path in terms of an investigation for now.