Strange double standardsDemocratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee Hae-chan lost his temper and reviled at a reporter who asked about the ruling party’s position on the sexual harassment charges against the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon as he walked out of a mourning altar for the mayor who died from suicide last week. He slammed the reporter for lacking respect for the deceased. After giving him a hard look, he approached the reporter in menacing manner before he was stopped by his aide. That sort of behavior cannot be appropriate for a ruling party head. The act of publicly humiliating a reporter while over 100 others looked on is telling of his demeaning attitude toward the press.
The reporter has merely done his work by asking about the party’s stance on the allegations that Park had abused his former secretary. Lee’s agony is understandable as he lost an old friend, but given his public role, he should have been more considerate of the victim. Lee’s rude behavior has often confounded the press. He cut a phone interview short when he was asked an unscripted question during a live radio broadcast when he was running for the chairman of the DP in 2012. In 2018, he angrily pushed a reporter’s microphone away when he was asked about scandalous allegations surrounding Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, a member of the ruling party.
Others from the DP also have been equally indiscreet. One mourned that Park took an extreme action, because he had been a “clean soul.” Others sighed that nobody can be perfect. The party held up a mourning banner reading “We will uphold your wishes.”
Ruling party members are free to mourn. But calling Park “a clean soul” is hypocritical as it pardons allegations against him and aggravates the pain of the alleged victim and her family. Over 500,000 civilians have signed a petition opposing the city holding a five-day public mourning period.
But, unfortunately that’s not all. None of the female lawmakers from the ruling party spoke on the matter either. DP lawmakers all declined to comment on the issue. The party has a former head of a women’s right group and a former representative for a group sponsoring refugees for rape victims. It is a tremendous pity that their ethical standards can starkly differ for the people on their side.