As the Burning Sun scandal continues to grow and more and more celebrities are suspected to be involved in illegally recording and sharing sex tapes without the women’s consent, we shouldn’t forget about Korean actress Jang Ja Yeon’s case from a decade ago.
Last night, Korean actress Gu Hye Sun paid tribute to Ja Yeon in an Instagram post. The two had acted together in Boys Over Flowers, where Ja Yeon played one of Hye Sun’s bullies. Ja Yeon had taken her own life while the show was still airing.
Hye Sun wrote in the tribute post, “The older sister who put a hot pack in my hand. The older sister whom I didn’t take a single photo with. Please rest in peace in heaven. Beautiful person.”
Actress Yoon Ji Oh, who was from Ja Yeon’s agency and is a witness in her case, also took it to Instagram, begging for people to pay attention to the case. She had gone to the police station to assist in investigations on March 12, but a majority of the media was not present to report the outcome—they were at the airport, awaiting Jung Joon Young’s return after his involvement in the recent sex tape case. Ji Oh said she had to migrate to Canada after the case because she couldn’t lead a normal life after she testified. She said she had to move house a lot of times and heard from a director that her name was removed from a casting list because she served as a witness in Ja Yeon’s case.
Ja Yeon committed after penning a letter that included details of sexual assault and harassment, including the list of preparators that included higher-ups in some of the biggest companies in South Korea. She wrote in the letter that she was forced to provide sexual favours to 31 people for about 100 times.
The influential people mentioned in her list were investigated, but charges were later dropped. The head of Ja Yeon’s agency, Kim, was arrested and charged with fraud, fleeing (he fled to Japan a day after Ja Yeon’s detah) and assault. Yoo Jang Ho, who was Ja Yeon’s former manager, was also indicted. Although he had left the agency in 2007, the actress continued to confide in him about her problems. He had gotten a copy of the letter (presumably through Ja Yeon’s sister) and showed parts of it to two reporters. Two media outlets then published the note. The original letter was burned in front of her family with their consent and was disposed of in his office. Jang Ho was charged for defamation against Kim, as the police issued a statement saying that Jang Ho had ordered Ja Yeon to pen down how she was treated by Kim at the agency.
Both of them were sentenced a suspended jail sentence of two years and 160 hours of community service.
Based on Korea’s statute of limitations, Ja Yeon’s case will be closed on March 31, 2019 if the police doesn’t re-open investigations. More than half a million people have signed a petition to the Blue House to appeal for them to re-investigate her case. Female celebrities such as Hye Sun and comedian Shim Jin Hwa have taken it to Instagram to show their support.
Image: Hye Sun’s Instagram, TPG/Click Photos