English Spectrum-gate: The systematic demonization of foreigners in the Korean press

Gusts of Popular Feeling has been running a series on a media-induced scandal in 2005 of a “sexy costume party” where photos of Koreans and non-Koreans in scanty attire were spread on the internet. The series goes into the origins of this party and the website associated with it, English Spectrum, and shows how a sensationalist unprofessional media and racist organization worked to create a meme of foreign English teachers being sexual derelicts, drug addicts, AIDS carriers, pedophiles and dregs on Korean society.

This incident was the spark that led to a series of government policies over the years making it even more difficult for Korean schools to find quality English teachers and running afoul of the National Human Rights Commission, particularly by requiring all foreign English teachers and only foreign English teachers to get AIDS tests.

This series is an interesting read and a great insight into how the Korean media works.

Part 1: English Spectrum and ‘Ask The Playboy’
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The ‘Ask The Playboy’ sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 11: “Middle school girls will do anything”
Part 12: Netizens propose ‘Yankee counter strike force’
Part 13: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1
Part 14: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 15: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 16: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 17: ‘Regret’ over the scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 18: “Korean men have no excuse”
Part 19: “Unfit foreign instructors should be a ‘social issue’”
Part 20: ‘Clamor’ at foreigner English education site
Part 21: Foreign instructor: “I want to apologize” 

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05 2012

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