Female Flight Attendants Accuse Asiana CEO Of Sexual Harassment

Filed Under: Asiana

Asiana Airlines’ CEO, Park Sam-koo, is in hot water after allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced from female flight attendants. This comes as the #MeToo movement is growing globally, including in South Korea, causing more people to speak out. This all surfaced from online posts alleging his inappropriate behavior around female flight attendants.

Since first appearing online, many flight attendants have come forward to share their experiences with him. Here are just a few examples of what he has allegedly done, per The Korea Bizwire (obviously it’s important to keep in mind the cultural context here):

Park travels to the headquarters of Asiana Airlines in Seoul on the first Thursday of every month to cheer on flight attendants, according to the airline.

Standing in a circle in the lobby, Asiana flight attendants clap their hands with Park as part of the monthly corporate ritual, during which Park exchanges greetings with his workers, offers advice, and encourages female workers back on the job after maternity leave.

Park now faces a series of allegations of sexual harassment during a routine that many would expect from the North Korean regime, with many employees accusing the CEO of treating them like his personal cheering squad, as well some feeling pressured to shake hands with him.

Kim has reportedly said openly that he comes to meet female flight attendants to receive ‘energy’, according to the Hankyoreh, which cited a source close to the airline.

Following criticism over some of the female employees at Asiana Airlines having to perform a traditional New Year’s bow clothed in hanbok, traditional Korean attire, Park also began receiving bows from male workers.

I’ll be curious to see what comes of this.

(Tip of the hat to @ITSmartTours)

  1. Thanks for covering this. We need a global attention and pressure on the company before they take a meaningful action. I am not Asiana employee nor related to the company whatsoever, but still this is unacceptable.

  2. So, ahm, some “felt” pressured to… ahm, shake his … hand? Is that it or did I miss something?

    Wouldnt the term “sexual harassment” imply that the harassment would need to be a bit beyond shaking hands? Otherwise, wouldnt that mean we all have at least a dozen of sexual encouters every day, e.g. by shaking someone´s hand?

  3. The US should stop exporting their culturally-degenerated feminist propaganda to other countries. This is getting out of hands! Respect the local culture in other places.

  4. I’m all on board dismantling the patriarchy, but this story almost sounds like a nothing burger here? Favoring attractive flight attendants over less attractive ones is probably a near universal (albeit sexist) practice that everyone engages in. Feeling pressured into a hug is different from being forced into a hug, and the entire relationship between a boss and their workers is constantly pressuring the workers to do things they don’t want to in order to make the boss happy. This is in the same vein as the Nunes memo today, a non story with no evidence and a sensationalist headline.

  5. Ummm ok. So I’m trying to understand and not be mean….where is the sexual harassment. Was it the “feeling of forced to handshake with him”? His declaration of needing their ‘energy’? The report needs to clarify …. I’m certain they didn’t bring up these allegations light hearted so there must be more than what was simply reported….

  6. The CEO of Kumho Asiana group (parent company of Asiana airlines) can’t even run his company properly. He’s made lots of not-so-bright decisions that lead to financial troubles Asiana is going through right now… And now he got his company into this…

  7. “Feeling pressured to shake hands with him”. Maybe I am misinterpreting Korean culture (I know in Islamic culture opposite genders shaking hands can be looked down upon) but I fail to see how any of this is sexual harassment. More like a clinical narcissistic.

  8. @Speedbird How about reading the linked article before victim blaming? The first paragraph clearly says “inappropriate behavior in the workplace, including a ‘forced hug’ and a ritual ‘lining up pretty flight attendants.”

  9. Are we, as passengers harassed and tortured when we fly airlines where the FAs are terrible in every way? (poor service, body odor, ugly, obese, nasty attitude)

  10. Forced handshakes? When is this nonsense going to stop? Next month it will be I didn’t get the raise I wanted so it must be sexual harassment!

  11. The politically correct brigade will be having a field day. IMO much of this so-called movement is completely out of control, fuelled and encouraged by the media. While no one likes harassment we shouldn’t be tolerating this naming and shaming either. What happened to natural justice? Pathetic.

  12. If this is all there is, ‘SO WHAT’…. It’s not like he grabbed their pussies.

    Some women will complain about anything just to get publicity & attention. Look at all the Hollywood types. One after another…. When will it end ?? And the media just keeps on publishing this crap.

    ‘In hot water’ ?? Ha !! He’s the boss, so let him enjoy his bath…..

  13. More BS PC nonsense. Shaking hands, hugging is rape/”Sexual inappropriatenss?

    Please please please do NOT take after the failed us corporations and institutions with their histrionic-men hating attitudes.

  14. “Pressured to shake hands with him”? “Treated them like his personal cheerleading squad”? And this is sexual harassment? What has our world come to? This politically correct infection has caused the overuse of the term harassment. This is the furthest thing from harassment, and whoever is making the claims should be ashamed. Of course, it is possible we don’t know all the details yet, but taking this article at face value, there is absolutely no reason for him to be accused of ANYTHING. This is outrageous. In 2018, men can’t even say hello to a woman without being accused of sexual harassment. This is the work of the mentally deranged / feminazis

  15. So a boss getting a handshake from his employee is now considered sexual harassment. I guess my dealerships service department sexually harassed me today after they serviced my car.

  16. I agree with a lot of the comments. This is nonsense news from pathetic female flight attendants. They are just crying out for attention. If the accusation is that they don’t get reasonable raises or get passed for promotions for refusing handshakes, that would be more valid and plausible. What is wrong with a handshake from anyone? Isn’t that considered mutual respect and courtesy?

  17. “I’ll be curious to see what comes of this.”

    They will be looking for new jobs soon.

    I remember not long ago South Korean flight attendants use to run a prostitution network for pilots until this guy intervened and stopped them, now he is sexint lol…..

  18. These ceremonies might be awkward and maybe demeaning, and I think the FAs have a right to complain about it. To label it as sexual harassment is nonsense, if nothing else than the described happened.

  19. A Korean native here. I read the original Korean article and this interpretation is toned down too much. I understand the comments – just that what commenters read is a wrong (probably on purpose) interpretation of article.
    It is not handshake – it’s not mentioned in the original article at all. It’s forced hug (note: if a man hugs a woman without her consent it constitutes a sexual harassment by Korean criminal law – and it is considered very inappropriate to hug someone of opposite gender who is not girl/boyfriend in Korea) and being forced to act as if the flight attendents were CEO’s girlfriend.
    Cheering team -it is basically the flight attendents acting as CEO’s personal cheerleading team (and doing something similar to what American cheerleaders in football games would do). The article does not specify it, but it is very likely that all these cheerleading (and rehearsal) is done during FA’s off-duty hours – which is actually not uncommon practice in Korea.

  20. This #MeToo crap has gone way over. At some point, it is going to make women unemployable if the boss is a man because hiring a woman would open the company up to endless sexual harassment acquisitions. This will end up hurting women more than it helps. As it is the case for many leftist movements, it ends up hurting the group of people they intend to help.

  21. @james @Erin @Bruce Seitanides @Jackie @Stanley and others, I wonder if you even realize that you are looking at all this using your values for your society and passing judgement on a very different society with completely different values? So whatever is OK for us and our society should be fine for the rest of the world, is that the assumption you are going with?

  22. Another Korean native here. As Jay said, this article translated the original Korean article completely wrong. FA were forces to hug, and this guy did not hand shake. It was more like grabbing, which is very inappropriate act. He even asked FAs dance like K-pop girl groups…. I am a bit confused by comments like ‘come on’ attitudes here. If you are CEO of the company, do you line up female employees, grab their hands, ans hug regularly to cheer them?

  23. @Sayeed I wonder if you even realized handshake is about the most absurd thing to label as sexual harassment seeing as it’s used in all sorts of international events, not just in the Western world. Even in South Korea, handshakes are completely normal.

    Jays comment shines new light as to what actually transpired, but it has nothing to do with handshakes. You are dillusional if you think the comments regarding handshakes are ethnocentric.

  24. A male CEO forces his female employees to be part of a cheering squat, favours attractive females and pressures them to have physical contact and yet there are people here denying that’s sexual harassment.

  25. @Jay Thank you. Unfortunately it feels that there are no resonable people left in this world. It’s feminazis vs incels.

  26. The metoo movement has become a witch-hunt and is losing credibility when something this STUPID comes to light! This makes the legitimate cases of sexual harassment have less credibility.

  27. Well, if nothing else let’s give the FAs credit for having the courage to speak out. After the “Nutgate” incident on KE JFK-ICN in 2014 I was under the impression that Korean employees of all walks of life were terrified to criticize their employers. If their complaints are valid then this is a step in the right direction, and good for them.

  28. @paul wain: I agree that the #meetoo movement has become a witch hunt. But if you read what the Korean speaking posters have written, it seems that this is way over the top. It would seem there is a legitimate gripe here.

  29. There is a big difference between sexual harassment and what is being described here. A simple change in protocol behavior could nip this in the bud. To call this sexual harassment is going way too far but again that wouldn’t make a good headline and fuel the fire of the # me too movement.

  30. Jay and Sam, I appreciate ou both stepping forward with your insight and explanations. It seems you are both due apologies on behalf of American men!
    Right now they are feeling fear and angst as men in power have taken to task over their entitled attitudes. The average man really has nothing to worry about as most are respectful and treat woman they encounter as human beings.
    Then there are those who belong to the Male Me Too movement! Those are the men who believe they are entitled to treat women any way they please. They consider women to be on this earth for their pleasure and entertainment.
    Unfortunately there are others who are feeling very uncomfortable by the Me Too movement because they are not sure whether they have behaved in such a way that might also be interpreted as wrong.
    The male ego is a fragile item.
    Rather than investigate and take the time to follow thru to see what the reports entail, they read the abbreviated form and suddenly their delicate egos are offended and they react like they have in these comments. They do not take into consideration customs of other countries or even religions.
    So while you both attempted to educate them it was to no avail. Facts have no impact on them, they are certainly not interested, they have opinions, they do not want facts.
    But again, thank you for your information and kindly accept an apology on their behalf.

  31. @Anne k Nice way to paint all males with a broad stroke, almost like the sexist misogynist who paint all females with the same broad stroke.

  32. @David Have you read the article and all the details in this post? Clearly handshake is not the only thing at issue here. But you still picked on that, why? Because it helps your argument of course! It seems quite obvious to me that this guy is one of these losers, and I have known a few of them both growing up in Asia and in the latter half of my life here in the US, who tries to get touchy feely with beautiful women under the guise of whatever, in his case “boosting” the morale. Did you notice the mention of forced hugs? Is that normal in Korea? But really, much more important than actual individual actions, it’s really the overall vibe of these situations that matters here and we have no way of knowing that. But I will say, in my opinion, women are generally smarter than men, and they live with “men being men” all their lives, so they tend to pick up on these things very quickly.

  33. @Sayeed I actually did read the comments and acknowledged it. Perhaps if you applied a little reading comprehension you would realise? We have no way of knowing the vibe, but you seem comfortable drawing conclusions already. Also, making statements like women are generally smarter than men are as sexist as making the statement men are generally smarter than women.

  34. @sayeed I get your point, but everything must also be taken with a grain of salt. At least, we should be able to agree that right now it is a he said; she said scenario in the land of the WONs. If anything, there should be an internal investigation.

    It is not passing down judgement based on our own values, but it has been taken too far. Another way to look at it @Anne k and @sayeed is the difference between cultures. Every culture has its own practices and thinking, but having living for years in Korea it is a very male dominated society and where customers are kings and queens to the point of groveling on your knees. #Korean Air nut rage.

    If what they say is true, then it is shameful. If it isn’t, then new light should be shed on their own cultures for allowing something like this to happen. However, if the original article was true, then this movement has taken too far to cry about a handshake. We have yet to see the real article, so I guess we are all speculating.

    @Anne k I think a lot of men and not just women stand by for equality, so do not paint all men like that about egos or what not. If we are all about equality, then what about women holding the door for the men or paying for the first dates or so? What about women buying men presents on Valentine’s?

    If we are really talking about the #me too movement, then it should be fair across all boards. How was it all right for the ladies on The View to talk about how hot Idris Elba was? That is acceptable? No, absolutely not. Yet, Justin Timberlake gets backlash for professing to the world how hot his wife is. All he did was let everyone know he married a beautiful woman and he is truly in love with her. The #me too movement has great ideals, but it has become misguided.

  35. Stanley, I read your articulate reply and applaud you and your response!
    I was by no means classifying all men with my comment regarding egos. Perhaps I should have been more clear. If you read my post carefully you might have noticed that I started by offering the two gentlemen who were familiar with the culture an apology. The comments after that were in regards to those men who feel entitled! The men who have no respect were the target of my reply.
    At any rate Stanley you do not fit that category and kudos to you for a well written response!

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