DP’s star contender takes flak for raunchy podcasts

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DP’s star contender takes flak for raunchy podcasts

A star candidate of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) faced criticism on Monday for having participated in a controversial podcast that often sexually objectified women.

Kim Nam-kook, a 37-year-old lawyer and deputy spokesman of the DP, was condemned by his rival candidate in Danwon B District of Ansan, Gyeonggi, Park Soon-ja of the United Future Party (UFP). She held a press conference at the National Assembly and made public excerpts of podcasts featuring Kim. “I want to reveal the truth of this politician’s two-faced behavior,” Park said.

Kim participated in the “Three Yeongojeon,” which roughly translates as “Tales of Three Eunuchs,” more than 20 times early last year. Lee Dong-hyeong, an author and a host of a current affairs program on YTN, and Park Ji-hun, a lawyer, also participated in the podcast. Park is a co-host of a YouTube broadcast by Rhyu Si-min, head of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.

The podcast was promoted as “reckless chats” about dating. A warning at the beginning said sexual jokes and swear words would be featured. The podcast is not offered for free - each episode costs 500 won (41 cents) to download or stream.

At the press conference, the UFP candidate played a part of one episode in which participants commented on a photo of a woman sent in by a listener. “She is cute,” Lee said in the program. Park said, “She has big breasts.” Kim responded, “He sent the photo to brag about it.”

“There was a pretty woman in Uzbekistan, who looked like her but with a much better body,” Park continued. “Her breasts were the size of her face, both of them.”

“Wow. I would marry her in one month,” Kim replied.

“The participants didn’t hesitate to use not only swear words but also all kinds of sexual slang and cruel comments sexually objectifying women,” UFP candidate Park said. “It is unspeakable for me to even quote their dialogue.”

She demanded Kim give up his candidacy. “He is morally unfit to run as a candidate,” she said.

Kim issued a press release in response. “She was trying to attack me as if I said what other participants had said,” Kim said. “I did not make such comments. I just played the role of a young man who does not have experiences in courtships. I had no power to stop other participants’ remarks.”

While insisting on his innocence, Kim apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable with any of the podcast’s content.

Kim is a star political rookie for the DP. He is a key organizer of street rallies called to defend Cho Kuk, former presidential aide and justice minister indicted for abusing power and corruption. Kim organized the rallies outside the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office complex in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, from last September to December to condemn investigations into Cho and his family.

Kim is also one of the participants in a book project in defense of Cho. A group of his allies successfully raised 300 million won in January to publish a book describing prosecutors’ attempts to destroy Cho, to be called “Cho Kuk White Paper.” Although the book was promised for March, it has not been published.

Kim initially applied to run in Seoul’s Gangseo A District, the constituency of Rep. Keum Tae-sup, a rare critic of Cho inside the DP. As media got excited about a primary between a Cho loyalist and a Cho critic, the DP leadership moved Kim to Ansan’s Danwon B District, hoping to avoid the Cho corruption scandal coming up.

The leadership of the DP reacted Monday to the complaints about Kim. “We don’t know the details. We have to look at them,” said Lee Keun-hyung, head of the DP’s strategy and planning committee.

Chin Jung-kwon, a former ally of the DP who has become a fierce critic of Cho, said it is lamentable that the DP has no intention to punish Kim. “The DP leadership must take away his candidacy or kick him out,” Chin said.

Meanwhile, the operator of the podcast on Monday increased the price of the 24 episodes in which Kim participated from 500 won to 100,000 won each.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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