Bong Joon-ho Leads Protest Against Korean Police and Media Following Suicide of Actor Lee Sun-kyun

Bong Joon-ho Leads Protest Against Korean Police and Media Following Suicide of Actor Lee Sun-kyun

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“Parasite” director Boon Joon-ho led a press conference in Seoul on Friday, following the death by suicide of actor Lee Sun-kyun at the end of December.

Lee had been investigated by police in Incheon for possible recreational use of drugs and was at the center of a maelstrom of media and social media commentary for the two months prior to his death.

Backed by a formidable collection of artists, cultural organizations and trade associations, Bong called for an investigation into the police methods and for established media to reflect on the sensationalist coverage which may have contributed to Lee’s decision to take his own life. Public broadcaster KBS was singled out for particular criticism.

“Clear legislative improvements are needed to ensure that principles and exceptions are not reversed between the human rights of suspects and the public’s right to know, and that investigative authorities do not arbitrarily interpret and apply the intent of the law,” the ad hoc group said.

The media event was held on the 19th floor of the Korea Press Center in Seoul’s central business district. A day earlier, the group had issued a statement that it titled, “Demands of Artists and Culture Workers Facing the Death of the Late Actor Lee Sun-kyun.”

In keeping with the move to criticize lurid online commentary, speculation and criticism, the organizers of Friday’s conference announced that they would take no questions and would not provide supplementary answers nor hold a photo session.

Instead, with actor Choi Duk-moon as emcee, the event consisted of a revolving series of speakers who each provided their own calls for justice and reform, including words from Yoon Jong shin, Lee Wontae, Kim Eui Sung, Producers Guild of Korea representative Choi Jung-hwa, Koh Young Jae of the Independent Film Association, director Jang Hang-joon, Kwak Shin Ae (representing both production firm Barunson and Women in Film), Yoon Jong-shin, director Lee Won-tae, Lee Ju-yeon, of the Kore Film Marketing Association and PGK chair Choi Jung Haw.

“We hope that such a tragedy will not happen again in the process of investigating pop culture artists. This is the demand of the cultural and artistic community facing the death of the late Lee Sun-kyun,” said Yoon Jong-shin.

“I demand that the authorities investigate. We demand that the police investigate whether there was any lapse in the security of the investigation from the moment the details of the deceased’s investigation were first exposed until two months later. We want to know if there was no individual media contact during the investigation, and we want the results to be made public so that there is no doubt,” said Bong, appearing to become teary-eyed.

More to come…

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