Comedian Kim Saeng Min was recently accused through Dispatch of sexually harassing two staff members 10 years ago, one of which he apologized to at the time.
In 2008, the woman, hereafter known as “A,” was working as a staff member of a program that Kim Saeng Min was starring in. The incident occurred at a party for the program, which was held at a karaoke venue. “A” explained, “A female staff member who was leaving [the party] first called me and said, ‘Kim Saeng Min wants to talk to you. He is in the last room at the end of the hallway.’” She went to the room and found him sitting alone. “I stood at the doorway and asked if I have caused any issues. Kim Saeng Min said, ‘What would I have issues about?’ and, ‘Just come over here for now.’” “A” did not move and said, “I will just stay here.” According to her letter, he dragged her over to sit down, and she stood back up but was controlled by his strength. “He wrapped his arms around me. I pushed away with my hands, but it did not work. No matter how much I resisted, I couldn’t win [with strength].” Her phone rang and someone also called her name. They could hear the sound of another door opening. Kim Saeng Min immediately moved away, and a senior of “A” appeared. “The senior said, ‘[I came because] I couldn’t find ‘A.’ I need her, so I am taking her with me.’ Kim Saeng Min calmly said, ‘Oh, of course. And hwaiting to ‘A’,’ with a smile.” The senior took “A” to a quiet location and got angry as she saw her disheveled hair and wrinkled clothes, asking if something happened and saying it is not only her problem. “It was incredibly painful to recall that situation immediately again. I said it wasn’t much. The senior said, ‘Did you not even know that your bra strap came off?’ and fixed it for me. That is how I ended up confessing everything that happened.” According to “A,” a second staff member “B” was also sexually harassed that night. Both cases were reported to the broadcasting station, but for unknown reasons, the case of “A” was buried and only “B” received an apology from Kim Saeng Min. The program then continued as if nothing had happened. “I complained saying that Kim Saeng Min must leave the program. However, the main writer said, ‘There is no way for broadcasts to cut cast members because of something like this,’ and said that the staff could leave, but the celebrities can’t.” “A” then decided to endure the situation, but she was pushed away from the studio filming sets with reasons like, “Isn’t it uncomfortable for you to see Kim Saeng Min?” “However, I still endured it. I did not want to step back. However, I was increasingly pushed back, with my projects going to contracted workers [without discussion].” “A” ended up quitting the program herself.
Fast forward to present day, and the victim who didn’t get an apology got one after Kim Saeng Min was made aware of the allegations through Dispatch.
Kim Saeng Min said when contacted by Dispatch, “I just found out about the incident of ‘A’ [now] through the main writer from that time. I only heard about the incident of ‘B’ at that time, so I did not recognize the problem with ‘A.’ Could I at least apologize now?” On March 21, 2018, Kim Saeng Min then went to apologize to “A.” He said, “I am sorry. Please forgive me.” She responded, “Since you are apologizing, I will accept it. I will even try forgiving you. However, I cannot block the articles. I do not want to be a spectator of something like this happening again.” “After that incident, I have even avoided seeing you on television. Living like this, people who have not experienced it do not understand. The 10 years of time, they cannot be compensated by anything.” She continued, “The attitudes of the people in charge of the program at that time were also inappropriate. The main writer said to me instead, ‘Kim Saeng Min apologizes and pleads for forgiveness.’ However now, after 10 years have passed, I found out that you directly apologized to ‘B.’” “You say you didn’t hear about my incident at that time? Kim Saeng Min, did you really not apologize to me because you really didn’t remember? What is happening right now is a result that you and the people in charge of the broadcast selected yourselves.” Kim Saeng Min continued to apologize and said, “All I can say is that I am sorry. 10 years have passed. No matter what I say, I think it will sound like an excuse, so I can only say that I am sorry and apologetic.”
Following this being revealed, today he issued a statement through SM C&C, apologizing for the sexual harassment.
“This is Kim Saeng Min. I am very apologetic to disappoint you with disgraceful news. 10 years ago, I took a wrong action at the party for a program I was starring in.” “At that time, I was unable to recognize that the individual was hurt, and I recently heard about the damage she received. I know that it is far too late, but I personally met that individual and sincerely apologized with my head bowed for my embarrassing and lacking actions in the past.” “My heart is so heavy and I am only apologetic when I think about that individual who has been hurt by my lacking actions. I once again express my sincerely apologies. And on that day, if I was not at that place, if I had taken those actions, I believe that the people who work with me would not have been harmed by this disgraceful news. Everything is my fault. I am very apologetic.” “I once again express my apologies with my head bowed.”
Pointing out that Kim Saeng Min is shitty for this is obvious, and he deserves the backlash. But most still just skim over a constant trend in all these reports, which is people in positions of power telling victims shit like, “There is no way for broadcasts to cut cast members because of something like this.” It’s arguably more important, since the victim was the one who was basically fired as a result of this happening to her, and that’s exactly why it continues and why people don’t come forward.