Prominent poet Ko Un quits writers' club after #MeToo revelation

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-02-23 10:38 Updated : 2018-02-23 10:38
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[This screenshot was captured from a SBS CNBC TV program]

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Aju News) -- Ko Un, a prominent South Korean poet cited frequently as a Nobel prize candidate in literature, offered to drop out of an association of writers, bowing to accusations that he has been habitually involved in sexual harassment.

The 84-year-old became the latest victim of South Korea's nascent #MeToo movement sparked by a female prosecutor's revelation last month. On Monday, Lee Youn-taek, a famous stage director, announced his permanent departure from the theatrical world, confessing to frequent sexual abuses.

The Writers Association of Korea (WAK) said Ko delivered his intention through aides to give up all his WAK posts, including a standing adviser, after the association convened a board meeting on March 10 to discipline the poet.

"We have a serious awareness of the fact that sexual violence against women is occurring in an inertial and inattentive manner in the hierarchy of male-centered power as revealed in the recent MeToo movement," the association said in a statement posted on its website.

Ko has been respected as South Korea's iconic poet whose works were translated and published in dozens of countries with his name often mentioned as a Nobel Prize candidate. His poetry and essay are included in middle and high school textbooks.

There has been no comment from Ko, but he has been accused of sexual abuse by colleague writers, including Choi Young-mi, a female poet who made her revelation in her poem. Some insisted Ko has a long history of sexual harassment targeting young female writers.

The "#MeToo" movement has spread rapidly this year to academic, movie and other communities since Seo Ji-hyeon, a female prosecutor, claimed last month that she was sexually harassed by a drunken senior prosecutor in October 2010. Seo argued that she had to shut up in fear of possible disadvantage in the workplace.