Last year, Rep. Kang Yong-seok, a forty-two year-old member of South Korea's nationally assembly, went out drinking with some female students, and allegedly gave them some career advice: Female broadcasters were willing to trade sex for getting ahead in their careers, so would they?
Or, more precisely, he said to some aspiring TV journalists:
"Do you know that you have to give ‘everything' to become an announcer? You want to become an announcer despite this?"
He told another student who had once met President Lee Myung-bak with him, "Back then, the President was staring at you the entire time. Men are the same. We all like pretty girls." He added "If the first lady wasn't sitting right next to him, the President would have asked for your number."
An uproar ensued: he was expelled from his party, female TV announcers sued him, and he was found guilty of defamation but escaped jail for now. He is appealing.
But he did win a recent victory: In a 111-134 vote, a bill to permanently expel him from parliament was defeated. He'll get the more minor penalty of being banned from parliament for a month. (According to the Yonhap News Agency, only one legislator has ever been ousted from parliament in South Korean history — in 1979, in a case of "political oppression by the then authoritarian government.")
We find ourselves wondering how this would have played out in the U.S. — rapid resignation rather than a prolonged fight? Or a boys-will-be-boys shrug?
South Korean Politician Survives Sexism Storm [Herald Sun]
Lawmaker Accused Of Sexist Remarks Survives Expulsion Vote [Yonhap News]