Three prominent South Korean writers and artists who have been accused of sex abuse will have their works and almost all mentions of their names removed from school textbooks, the government said yesterday, as the country's nascent #MeToo campaign spreads.
A growing number of women have spoken out about abuses they suffered at the hands of powerful figures in multiple fields, making headlines in a country that remains socially patriarchal despite economic and technological advances.
Those accused of sexual misconduct include Ko Un, a top poet regularly tipped for the Nobel prize for literature, prominent stage director Lee Yoon-taek and playwright Oh Tae-seok.
Seoul poet Choi Young-Mi accused Ko of sexually abusing many women in literary circles, after publishing a thinly veiled poem "Monster" in which she detailed her experiences at his hands.
Lee is under investigation for raping or sexually harassing more than 10 actresses at his theatre group, and Oh is also accused of harassing actresses and students.
The trio's works and almost all 40-odd references to them will be erased from school textbooks, Seoul's education ministry said, describing them as "figures who created social controversy."
Only a few passing mentions of their names will remain, the education ministry said without elaborating further.
Ko has denied the allegations against him in a statement to the Guardian, saying he did "nothing which might bring shame on my wife or myself".
Lee apologised for causing "harm" to actresses, saying he was willing to "take any punishment", but denied accusations of rape. Oh has refused to comment.
Women in South Korea have long been reluctant to come forward about sex abuse due to fears of relentless public shaming and bullying.