Kolmar apologizes for playing controversial YouTube clip

Lee Han-soo  Published 2019.08.09  16:48  Updated 2019.08.12 15:19


Kolmar Korea, the nation’s largest manufacturer of cosmetic products which has acquired CJ Healthcare, apologized on Friday amid growing criticism from the public against the company’s CEO for sharing a controversial YouTube video with employees.

Kolmar Korea headquarters in Sejong.

The criticism came after Kolmar employees accused their CEO Yoon Dong-han of playing a video made by a far-right YouTube user, which denounced the government’s response to the Japanese decision to remove South Korea from the list of trusted trading partners.

“The video contained controversial comments, including hatred and misogyny,” an employee wrote.

According to the employee, the YouTube video included comments such as “Abe is a great leader because he refrained from punching Moon Jae-in in the face while talking to him,” and “With the current economic status, Korean women will soon have to resort to prostitution to make a living like in Venezuela.”

Another employee accused Yoon of making comments that were offensive to the company’s factory workers.

“During the meeting, Yoon said that he believed in the intelligence of his white-collar employees and would never show the video to factory workers,” the employee said.

Expecting a backlash, the company swiftly released a statement and apologized for the controversy caused by YouTube video.

“The company would like to apologize to the public for the controversy caused by the particular YouTube video used during the recent employee meeting,” the company said. “The event was aimed to realize the gravity of external economic conditions, such as the deterioration of Korea-Japan relations and the U.S.-China trade war, which have had a great influence on management.”

The company wanted to emphasize the current crisis and deliver a message that it would actively respond to the crisis with new resolutions, it added.

There were no comments that belittled the stature of women, the company added.

Kolmar Korea also emphasized that its CEO is a “patriot” who loves his country.

“Yoon purchased a historical Buddhism art-piece from a Japanese collector for 2.5 billion won ($2 million) and donated it to the National Museum of Korea,” the company said. “He also runs a ‘Yi Sun-shin school’ to spread the spirit of the Korean naval commander famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the invasion in the Joseon era, to young Koreans.”

Despite the company’s explanation, shares of Kolmar Korea plunged and hit the lowest point of this year. The company’s stock stood at 47,750 won ($39.4) as of 3:30 p.m., a 4.88 percent decrease from the previous trading day.

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