Back in 2017, a Korean diplomat Kim Hong Kon reportedly sexually harassed a male employee at the Korean embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.
According to the victim’s allegation, the diplomat “grabbed [him] on the ass” while talking about sexual harassment in “a joking tone“. Since a police report was officially filed in 2019, the diplomat has been under investigation from both New Zealand’s and Korean legal authorities for allegedly groping the victim on a total of three occasions.
Then, on September 3, it was revealed that the wife of the Korean ambassador Yeo Seung Bae – who was in term at the time the diplomat allegedly harassed the victim – actually sent the victim a letter and a gift a month after the police report.
According to Chosun Ilbo‘s exclusive coverage, the ambassador’s wife wrote, “I hope things get all figured out soon. I bought this plush toy for you (and your child) when I visited Korea recently. Please stay healthy and happy.” While the letter itself sounds supportive, the “plush toy” gift is what became controversial. She is said to have included this plush of a Kakao Friends brand’s Apeach character…
… best known for its butt-like-ness. In fact, this particular design, by the name of “Kakao Friends Sweet Baby Pillow”, actually comes in a shape that most accentuates the bottom.
As the picture of the “gift” began circulating online, netizens were simply speechless by the insensitivity and “ashamed at the lack of professionalism in the embassy’s response to the incident.”
Many pointed out that the ambassador’s wife “should have not made any gesture at all” as opposed to this “mocking” one.
Meanwhile, Kim Hong Kon’s sexual harassment case remains unresolved – though in July 2020, the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern brought it up directly with the South Korean president Moon Jae In during a phone call. Upon shedding some light on it, both countries involved look forward to settling the matter.