South Korea’s Capital Defense Command apologized after a video showing a female fitness model in a revealing bikini posing on stage during a “morale boost performance” for soldiers caused outrage online.
The controversial video was uploaded to YouTube on Korea’s Liberation Day on Aug. 15 and has been watched more than 60,000 times, with users accusing the event of objectifying women, according to Korea Herald.
The 21-year-old woman, who is believed to be a fitness model and gym coach, can be seen wearing a small bikini as she twirls and strikes several poses on stage to pop music while soldiers cheer her on.
“This is beyond shocking. This kind of ‘consolation’ performance in 2018? What exactly is being consoled here?” a YouTube user wrote.
“Rampant sexual commercialization noted right here. It’s understood that soldiers have desires but this just makes them look bad,” another said.
An online petition has been set up calling for a ban on future military performances. The petition which was posted on President.Go.Kr has already received more than 17,000 signatures.
However, an opposing online petition also surfaced on the website on Monday, asking the government to “not be swayed by feminist groups and restore Army to its natural state.” It only managed to receive 17 signatures since it went live.
A petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website must receive more than 200,000 signatures in 30 days in order for the presidential office to release an official statement. But the Army’s Capital Defense Command issued a formal public apology following the controversy.
It stated that the controversial “morale boost performance” was put together by a private organization, and explained that the Army was not fully aware of the details of the program. The model’s on-stage performance was reportedly part of a package that included Korean music, a magic show, and singing.