Kang says TV gagman is as offensive as he was

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Kang says TV gagman is as offensive as he was


Choi Hyo-jong

In an apparent attempt to get back at the prosecution and the judiciary, a lawmaker convicted of insulting anchorwomen with lewd remarks filed a defamation suit against a popular comedian, claiming that his jokes deserve the same punishment.

Representative Kang Yong-seok said Thursday he has asked the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office to investigate Choi Hyo-jong, a 25-year-old star of the Korean Broadcasting System’s “Gag Concert,” for defaming lawmakers en masse.

Kang’s action prompted some fierce criticism and an Internet campaign began yesterday to defend comedian Choi.

A former member of the Grand National Party, Kang was convicted by the Seoul Western District Court in May for insulting anchorwomen with sexually inappropriate remarks during a dinner with university students last year. It was the first time a court convicted someone for insulting a profession as a whole.

Kang lost an appeal on the verdict last week, and has taken the case to the Supreme Court.

Kang said Choi deserves the same treatment for his insults about legislators.

On one of last month’s episodes of KBS’s popular “Gag Concert” show, Choi gave tips on how to become a lawmaker.

“You graduate from a high school, pass the bar exam and become a judge,” Choi said in the episode. “Then, you become friendly with top members of the government and win a nomination to run in a stronghold of the ruling party. You just have to pay 200 million won [$176,000] to the National Election Commission for your campaign funds.”

He continued: “During the campaign, all you have to do is just make one visit to a traditional market, shake hands with a grandma and eat a bowl of soup there, although you normally don’t. When making pledges, you just have to say you will build a bridge or open a subway station. Do you think that’s too much? It’s okay. You’re just mouthing empty words.”

Choi also said, “If you can attack the opponent’s weakness like a dog, you are capable of becoming a lawmaker.”

Enraged by Kang’s legal action, Internet users began a campaign to support Choi. The campaign is designed to increase Choi’s Twitter followers to 100,000 to provide him support. The number of Choi’s Twitter followers jumped from 3,500 to 17,000 within a day.

Messages condemning Kang’s suit were also widely posted on the Internet.

“It is hard to decide who is the real gagman,” culture critic Chin Jung-kwon wrote on Twitter. He said Kang was making an innocent comedian a scapegoat in his own legal and political battle.

Grand National Party Representative Cho Jeon-hyeok also posted a message to support Choi. “I truly enjoyed the episode,” he wrote. “Cheer up!”

While Choi remained silent, his agent said it was absurd for a lawmaker to sue Choi. “There is no need to respond,” he said. “We will just consult with KBS to handle the situation.”

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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