Running Man received an official administrative warning from the Korea Communications Standards Commission for Lee Kwang Soo‘s vulgar language use.
On its May 27th episode, Lee Kwang Soo called guest Hyejeong of AOA a “Kkotbam (꽃뱀, gold digger)” which the production staff decided to caption as him calling her a “snake”.
The word “kkotbam” became especially controversial since the break of the #MeToo movement in Korea, as some victims were accused of coming forward only after the money. “Kkotbam” has always been a negative term, but has become even more derogatory after some anti-feminists dubbed #MeToo victims as gold diggers.
Lee Kwang Soo also yelled at everyone to shut up, when they discussed his fish-human character from “Collective Invention”.
As soon as this episode aired, viewers grew uncomfortable with Lee Kwang Soo’s language and left comments after comments on Running Man‘s website forum.
- “Lee Kwang Soo, please watch what you say.”
- “Lee Kwang Soo should apolgize.”
- “Please exclude Lee Kwang Soo from the cast.”
Some even petitioned to have him sentenced to death.
The petition has since been deleted, but it pointed out that Lee Kwang Soo should not have called Hyejeong a “kkotbam”.
“The caption showed it as “snake”. This shows the production staff realized the word “kkotbam” is wrong too. At a sensitive time like this, when #MeToo allegations have not been fully investigated yet, Lee Kwang Soo should not be throwing the word “kkotbam” around like that.” — Petition
The Korea Communications Standards Commission called for a meeting to review the episode in question and concluded the program will receive a “Warning”.
“Even if the program is meant to be entertaining, no TV show should air content that jeopardizes gender equality.” — KCSC
A “Warning” is a disciplinary action taken against minor violations. Such a warning has no legal impact on the broadcast company, but simply serves to deliver the commission’s decision.
Viewers hope Running Man cast and staff will be wiser with their words.
- “Lee Kwang Soo should have been more careful with his words and the production team should have been wiser with editing. Lesson learned!”
- “Instead of editing the caption to snake, the edit team should have not included the scene. They must have known something is off to have changed the word…”
- “I stopped watching a lot of these entertainment shows because for some time now, the cast have been really violent and vulgar. It’s not natural to see it all over TV…”