Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Korea’s leading milk producer, apologized on Wednesday for its controversial ad that many social media users deemed inappropriate due to “sensual and perverted” imagery.
The video and reaction: The advertisement, released on Nov. 29, drew outrage in South Korea for its comparison of women to dairy cows and incorporating a voyeur with a camera. Meanwhile, the country continues to tackle “molka” crimes, which involve the use of cameras to surreptitiously and illegally film women in various states of undress, according to Korea Times.
- The 59-second advertisement, titled “The identity that was hidden under a veil…Seoul Organic Milk,” starts with a male hiker quietly walking in the woods when he suddenly spots a group of people relaxing by the stream, SBS reported.
- After seeing them, the man quietly picks up his video camera and secretly films them, focusing on a woman “sensually drinking” from a leaf. He alerts them to his presence when he accidentally steps on a branch as he tries to get a closer look.
- Many social media users quickly called out the ad, particularly for its voyeuristic nature, with one user writing, “the man is illegally taking photos of women, and the women turning into cows. This advertisement has too many problems. It’s disgusting.”
- “The person who created the advertisement and the person who gave permission to release it all lack gender sensitivity,” another user wrote.
The aftermath: The company ultimately took down the ad from its social media channels on Dec. 8 and apologized following the backlash.
- “We sincerely apologize to everyone who felt uncomfortable seeing our milk advertising video uploaded on Seoul Milk’s official YouTube channel, Nov. 29,” the company wrote. “We are taking the matter seriously and will take more careful measures to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future. We once again bow our heads and apologize to all consumers who felt uncomfortable with this advertisement.”
“Molka” crimes: South Korea is currently battling a wave of “molka” crimes, illegally produced mostly through the use of hidden “molka,” or miniature digital “secret cameras” to film women as they are changing clothes or using the bathroom. The videos are then shared or sold online for other men to consume, Comspolitan.ph reported.
- The number of “molka” cases has reportedly skyrocketed over the years, from 2,400 in 2012 to 6,800 in 2018, according to the New York Times. Unfortunately, only a third of those reported cases has ever made it to a court, while only a few of them – about one in 10 trials – has resulted in imprisonment.
- Two men were arrested in 2019 for secretly filming as many as 1,600 people in 30 hotels across South Korea and uploading them to a subscription-based website, The Guardian reported.
- Many women took to the streets of Seoul carrying signs that read “my life is not your porn” in 2018 to protest the rising number of “molka” cases in South Korea. Authorities also launched a special force of female inspectors in response to the growing epidemic.
Featured Image via SBS