Korean Prosecutor Begins Arresting Those Allegedly Responsible For “10,000+ Artist Blacklist”

Two Presidential aides have been arrested on charges of abusing their power to blacklist thousands of artists and writers from the entertainment industry.

The situation surrounding the Korean president Park Geun-Hye continues to get worse as Culture Minister, Cho Yoon-Sun, and former Presidential Chief of Staff, Kim Ki-Choon, were arrested on charges of abusing power regarding the blacklisting of artists and writers.

Kim Ki-Choon worked under the president from 2013 until 2015 and has been accused of blacklisting artists, writers and journalists who were considered negative toward the government. While the full list has not been revealed to the public, Park Young-Soo, the special prosecutor involved in the case, has confirmed the existence of the list.

Cho Yoon-Sun is accused to have been working with Kim Ki-Choon between 2014 and 2015 during her role as senior presidential secretary.

The blacklist is said to contain around 10,000 artists and writers, including “Old Boy” director Park Chan-Wook and artist Hong Sung-Dam, who’s 2014 painting “Sewol Owol” sparked retaliation from pro-government groups and government censorship shortly after it was unveiled. 

As well as receiving death threats and harassment from activist groups, he found himself being sued and excluded from the country’s most famous international art festival, the Gwangju Biennale.

Hong Sung-Dam’s “Sewol Owol” received criticism for its portrayal of Korean President Park Geun-Hye Source: Hong Sung-Dam’s Artist Page

This blacklist scandal has resurfaced memories of South Korea’s dictatorial past during the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, the country was under the rule of Park Chung-Hee, the currently impeached president’s father. Park Chung-Hee was known to censor and imprison writers who spoke outwardly against the government and remains one of the country’s most controversial figures to this day.

These new arrests come just a week after three former government officials were arrested for their involvement in the blacklisting.

Sources: The New York times [1],[2]