On September 2, the South Korean national broadcasting station KBS‘s pop music radio program Lee Sang Ho’s Dream Pop aired from 8PM to 10PM KST.
While sharing the story of a listener and her six-year-old son who “rushes over to put his mask on first — even after he comes out of the shower butt-naked“…
… the newscaster and show host Lee Sang Ho commented, “That’s a bit racy. Just a mask? Haha. It’s cute but also very risqué.”
Immediately following the program, Lee Sang Ho faced heavy criticism from the listeners for “the inappropriate nature” of his comment about a child.
- “Are you serious right now… calling a child racy?”
- “Risqué is not the most appropriate term to use about a boy. Please apologize.”
- “Calling a boy racy is inappropriate behavior.”
- “I’m offended.”
- “Is it okay to call a six-year-old something like racy?”
- “I was shocked by the comment made on air.”
Many suggested that his comment borderlines sexual harassment and “it should not have been made on air during a national radio program led by a newscaster.” Though the program released an apology statement, explaining that “the comment meant to be humorous, as a joke“…
<Production Team> Apology For September 2 On-Air Statement
Hello, this is “Lee Sang Ho’s Dream Pop” team. Yesterday, on September 2, the show host made an inappropriate comment on air regarding a child and his mask. We apologize for having offended our listeners. We agree, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, that such an insensitive humor should have been refrained. We admit we should have been more careful about understanding how our listeners feel.
Again, we’re terribly sorry for the incident. We will continue to pay attention to our listeners’ suggestions and focus on making better radio programs.
— “Lee Sang Ho’s Dream Pop” Production Team
… it unfortunately fueled the rage even more. Not only did the apology prove to be less satisfactory than anticipated, Koreans also found it simply baffling that the newscaster “didn’t feel sorry for the child’s action” and chose to make inappropriate humor about it instead.
- “I’m sorry, I don’t get what is so racy about it… Like, my first reaction would have been ‘poor kid’… Isn’t that the normal response?”
- “This isn’t listeners being extra insensitive. If I was the mother of the child who sent in the story, I’d be f*cking pissed off right now.”
- “Which part of that story is risqué…?”
- “How did he even come to that conclusion? It baffles me. I mean, it broke my heart when I heard that the boy rushes to put his mask on first. I felt terrible for him.”
- “Why is this racy in any way…?”
- “This says so much about Lee Sang Ho’s nature.”
- “Look, his comment would have been inappropriate without COVID-19 happening. It would have been inappropriate regardless of the sex of the child. It would have been inappropriate about adults and children alike. So he really f*cked up here. Where is the apology for what he actually did wrong? Does he really think that surface-scratching apology from his team will pass?”
Lee Sang Ho is yet to personally respond to the controversy.