South Korean Garlic Video Ad Roasted For Alleged Obscenity| News Today
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A rural South Korean town is getting roasted over its garlic video ad, which some farmers say reeks of obscenity and even sexually objectified the agricultural product.
The controversy surrounds a 30-second video that had been posted on a YouTube channel for Hongseong County, a small south-central South Korean city of about 100,000 people known for its local “Hongsan” garlic, for about two year.
The video shows a woman touching the thigh of a man named “Hongsan” with a full garlic mask and uttering words like “very thick” and “hard” to apparently describe the quality of local garlic. It’s also a parody of a famous scene from a 2004 hit Korean movie called “Once Upon a Time in High School.”
The spicy ad, which reportedly generated around 190,000 views, had remained largely underground, but began to take hold in the mainstream when it was shown on electronic billboards at an express bus terminal in Seoul and a street in downtown Daejeon. months before the garlic comes out.
A farmer who saw the video informed some farmer groups, while South Korean media also started reporting on it, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths.
“We cannot suppress our astonishment,” said a joint statement issued by the local branches of two major farmers’ organizations – the Korean Peasant League and the Korean Peasant Women’s Association. “The video offended those who watched it and dealt a severe blow to the image of the agricultural product that farmers have painstakingly grown.”
Calling the video “suggestive” and “inappropriate”, the statement says it “sexually objectifies” the garlic.
Farmer groups called on Hongseong to apologize, punish those responsible for the video production and formulate measures to prevent similar incidents. Shin Ji Youn, head of the Korean Farmer’s Women’s Association, said farmer groups had asked Hongseong to respond to their demands by Aug. 10.
Hongseong officials said on Wednesday they removed the video from their YouTube channel and stopped posting it on billboards last week. The county has released no official statement on the matter, and officials said they are discussing how to respond to farmers’ requests.
County officials said they officially changed the name of their local garlic to “Hongseong” after their county’s name in January.
Garlic, one of the essential ingredients in Korean cuisine, is believed by many South Koreans to boost stamina. Some believe that it can also improve the sexual functions of men.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the country’s women’s curling team was given the nickname “Garlic Girls” – four of the five team members were from another rural town known for its famous garlic – for they had a fairy tale run to win the silver medal.
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