SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will introduce measures to make it more difficult for those guilty of sexual assault to obtain public jobs in the arts sector and cut funding for those suspected of sexual violence.
Monitoring efforts will be increased for public servants in the arts sector while funding will be cut for those who are thought to have committed sexual violence and gotten away with it in the past, an official from the culture ministry said during an interview with Yonhap News.
“Sexual violence in the arts industry tends to occur in a covert way without making victims stand out,” the official said, while explaining the need for a more thorough screening system.
The culture ministry official argued that a so-called ‘one strike, you’re out’ policy for sexual harassment in the sports industry needs to be adopted in the arts sector.
In response to criticism that the ministry is reacting too slowly to the #MeToo movement, the official said, “From last January, we have been working with women’s rights groups to discuss sexual violence issues and have conducted surveys.”
In a series of allegations that emerged in recent weeks in tandem with the rise of the #MeToo movement, renowned directors in the theatrical world Lee Yoon-taek and Oh Tae-suk, who served as Art Director at the National Theater Company of Korea, were accused of sexual harassment.
Poet Ko Un, who has also been accused of sexually harassing younger writers, previously held top positions in government-backed organizations, including acting as the chairman of the organizing committee of the Asian Literature Festival, an annual event run by the Asia Culture Center, an institution supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Earlier this week, the culture ministry announced plans to build a sexual violence report center, and conduct surveys in a number of sectors in the arts and pop culture industries.
Under the plans, victims will receive counseling and legal advice, while providing legal assistance to those in need is also being considered.
Arts Council Korea, an organization that supports artists, is currently in deliberations on how to react to the #MeToo movement, but promises a prompt response to sexual harassment allegations, according to one official.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)