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Former Busan Film Festival Director is Urged to Cooperate with Sexual Harassment Investigation

Date: 2023-09-11

Former Busan Film Festival Director is Urged to Cooperate with Sexual Harassment Investigation

The festival has been calling for former director Huh Moonyoung to engage with an external investigator, for a formal investigation into the alleged sexual harassment he committed. By: Theng Min Yee

Whilst announcing its annual lineup presentation in an online forum, the festival’s working management apologised for the several months of chaos, which had frightened sponsors and resulted in the dwindled operating budget. The trouble experienced by the festival was regarding former director’s Huh Moonyoung’s sexual harassment scandal, which prompted a slew of resignations. The festival has said that it is presently advising the former director to cooperate with an external investigator in further investigations.

The turmoil began brewing in May when Cho Jongkook, a close friend of chairman Lee Yong-kwan, had been appointed to a joint position with then festival director Huh Moonyoung. The appointment was met with disapproval from Korean industry guilds, which called for the festival’s boycott in support of Huh. Despite the frenzy, Huh submitted his resignation. A few days later, Korean media outlets started reporting that a female member of the festival staff had volleyed sexual harassment allegations against Huh, of which he has denied.

Following the commotion, Lee also resigned, taking ownership for his part in creating the chaos. He is expected to depart after this year’s festival is completed in October. As for Cho, he was dismissed by the festival’s board of directors in late June. Cho reportedly expressed discontent at the festival’s decision, claiming that there were no justifications for his removal.

In a statement, the festival said: “[The] Busan Counseling Center Against Sexual Violence Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Busan Culture and Art Industry Counselling Centre [has been set] as the external investigation team to investigate the case to guarantee objectivity and fairness.

“As the accused has refused to consent to the investigation, the center has conducted an investigation [based only] on the victim and testifier. At the board of director meeting held on Aug. 31, the Busan International Film Festival board of directors resolved to send an official letter to former festival director, Huh Moonyung, advising him to respond to the investigation responsibly.

“We sincerely apologise for any controversy caused by the incident. The Busan International Film Festival will do its best to prevent recurrences of such incidents.”

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