Discrimination Op/Ed

Homophobic attack in Seoul: the victim’s reply

Written by Nick Neon

June1: I was physically and verbally attacked on a subway train in Seoul. This is the first time that I have been physically attacked within the context of being a gay man. I want to believe in the good of Korea. In its progress and in

June 1: I was physically and verbally attacked on a subway train in Seoul. This is the first time that I have been physically attacked within the context of being a gay man.

I want to believe in the good of Korea. In its progress and in hope. But last night when I walked through my door I could not shake away the feelings.

Only one thought crossed my mind: ‘I experienced homophobia within my first few days of being in Korea.’

This was back in 2008. And now here I am in 2015 and someone has attacked me on the basis of reading an article about something relating to gay rights issues.

“In his heart he was willing to bet I was something worth attacking. Whether it was gay or ethnically foreign.”
For all he knew, I could have been some straight man checking the news. But in his heart he was willing to bet I was something worth attacking. Whether it was gay or ethnically foreign.

We often say that this is an isolated incident. That the man was insane and that it’s not how everyone else thinks. But I question if there is ANY thinking happening on the topic of equal human rights in Korea at the moment besides those who are directly impacted by the lack of said rights.

A recent poll suggests that 39 percent of Koreans are more open to the idea of homosexuality. 39 percent of WHAT PORTION OF THE POPULATION? And of that ridiculous and flailing number, what percent is open to it as long as no one in their family is gay? And of the percent that is still open, how many care enough to actually help us fight?

I don’t believe in the 39 percent. Seeing everyone on the train. Seeing their looks of confusion at the man and then at me as if they had to figure out who was MORE WRONG for causing the situation in the first place. Korea has a lot of global growing up to do. A country so obsessed with gaining global recognition and making global profits yet so allergic to global social progress.

Racism, classism, sexism and homophobia all run rampant here – I have learnt to just put up with it. I put up with my students referring to black people as too dark or scary. I put up with watching females think their place is in the kitchen and to get married and be a housewife. I put up with all the Koreans who choose NOT to sit next to me on a bus or a train or tell me to be quiet but keep their mouth shut when other Koreans are laughing and joking loudly nearby.

But I will not put up with a man telling me to go back to my country because I am gay. I will not put up with being physically harmed for any REASON. Would he call my mother a disgusting traitor for fully supporting her gay son. Would he call her dirty for marrying outside of Korea and for having a child with an American man? A gay child at that? I question how many others I encounter on my daily commute feel the same. Maybe most don’t have any opinion on the topic. And yet this is almost worse in that it suggests that I just don’t exist.

I am not going to blame Korea or the ignorance that I have encountered while living here. There is ignorance everywhere. This is bigger than a country. This is a human issue when we sit here and we assume that the only point of life is to procreate. That family is one man and one woman with their offspring. That two men can’t possibly love each other as much as Romeo and Juliet did. That two women can’t both be powerful breadwinners and raise a family. That children in our communities and families are too young to understand gay relationships so let’s shelter them until they are older. That a man who was once a woman somehow means that he is now a lesser human being.

When are we going to grow up? When do we start putting our biases aside and see truth through rationale?

I was told to go to the police. I have dealt with the Korean Police before. They did nothing to help me in the past when I was the victim of a very traumatic xenophobic attack. Plus, after seeing the way they have brazenly joined opposition in denying permits for the Queer Pride Prade, I have no faith they will truly help.

Beyond this, I am sure with all the CCTVs in Korea I could, if I wanted, eventually find him. I could shame him like he humiliated me on that train. But I don’t want that for him. I know he is probably a father and a husband. I presume he is terrible at being both but I do not want to shame him. I want to be bigger and fight the bigger battle. He is one cell in a body of cancer. We have to keep looking at the bigger picture. We have to keep creating change on our local levels. With our communities, through our social media, through our friends and families.

We have to break misconceptions and misperceptions with our activism and our compassion.

June 1 was not my day. But as I have become more and more vocal about my life and my gay identity, I see this not as a curse but as a sign that I am on the right path.

I was embarrassed to make a video talking about the incident. I felt like it was going to be attention seeking and dramatic because there was no blood spilled.

Now I see that this is what the opposition wants. They want me or “my kind” to believe that we are not worth discussing. But it becomes clearer everyday that, not only do we need to continue voicing our struggles, but the recent increase in aggressive homophobia in Korea means we are being heard.

Korea, speak out against hatred and intolerance. Be better than that man on the train who tried to rob me of my pride and spirit.

I thank him. He has made me stronger.

A Detailed Account of The Incident:

I was sitting on the edge seat of a train car when new passengers got on board. I noticed no one would sit next to me. In fact, one came close and looked at me but then chose to stand instead. So a drunk older Korean man took his seat next to me. He first looked at my tatted arms and made sure to grunt with dissatisfaction. We made brief eye contact and I chose to ignore him and kept using my phone. I had clicked on this article detailing how the Seoul police and Christian Extremist groups are prohibiting the Queer Festival from taking place. I assume he had been watching my phone because after only 10 seconds of having opened the article he exploded. He elbowed me and got up and screamed, “If you gay, go your f***ing country!”

I was in a lot of shock. I asked him what he meant even though I knew exactly what he meant. I just had nothing else to respond with. He then continued to scream at me. Finally he turned to the other passengers and began to tell them about me. I heard broken korean phrases like “Man” “Gay” “Korea” and a lot of swearing. He was not your typical drunkard. He looked well educated and he clearly spoke English well enough to know what I was reading. This was not some dumb drunk, I’ve encountered many of those in Korea. No, this was a man with a lot of hatred in his head and his heart.

I felt very humiliated to stay seated in front of everyone. So I got up and left the train car. Before I knew it, he had not only followed me but he very aggressively hit my arm and grabbed me, spinning me around. He grabbed at my chest with a lot of force and continued to scream at me. So I pushed him back and luckily some younger man from the previous car grabbed him as he was swinging a fist at me. They got into a struggle and it took me a while to realize I should take his picture. By the time I got my phone ready, he had run off the train.

The man who helped me apologized to me in Korean on the bigot’s behalf and returned to his car. As I stood in the new train car, everyone was watching me. I wasn’t sure what to feel. All I could sense were the eyes of a hundred passengers just dissecting me. Everything on my surface. Everything underneath. I never thought in a million years I would be the victim of a hate crime in Seoul. I believed it was possible in America.

But no place is free from hatred and fear.

First published by Nicky Neon on his blog. Reproduced and edited with the permission of Mr Neon.

About the author

Nick Neon

Nick Neon is a gay filmmaker and writer living in Seoul. He runs a blog and Youtube channel exploring LGBT issues including media portrayals and human rights activism.

  • Christopher Palasz

    I’m glad the writer of this piece is okay, and I’m happy the younger Korean man stepped in to help. Hatred exists everywhere, but so does love and kindness. In my experience, Korean people are quick to help someone in that sort of situation… the ones who aren’t afraid, anyways. But most aren’t like that drunk man.

  • JMS

    There is not one single country or city in the world that this does not occur. Sounds more like an agenda on the part of this writer trying to draw some attention.

    • Michael Aronson

      So because it occurs everywhere, that means it’s worth ignoring?

      • JMS

        You were dropped on your head as a child right? Go back to your mommy’s basement apartment clown.

        • Michael Aronson

          What a compelling argument.

          • JMS

            How can I argue with someone that was dropped on their head as a child, that would not be very nice of me would it?

          • Michael Aronson

            Why strain yourself? Because bad things happen everywhere, nobody should do anything about them. Sound logic.

    • Anonymous_Joe

      JMS: “There is not one single country or city in the world that this does not occur. Sounds more like an agenda on the part of this writer trying to draw some attention.”

      That’s true. The reason this is a story, and commenters are commending OP for posting his experience is that it requires courage here. In other countries where this occurs, victims have recourse and need not fear writing about their experience.

      How many of these stories do you see in Korea and do you think the paucity of stories is because it doesn’t occur?

  • smithington

    are we supposed to be buying this? This is a new low Korea observer.

    are we supposed to believe that the mysterious “drunk” anonymous middle aged Korean man both recognized this guy and was good enough at English that he picked up what he was reading over his shoulder and somehow immediately jumped to the conclusion that that this guy was a gay advocate?

    This pathetic leap of logic is a bit much even for you. Yes, I’m sure guy with 50 youtube subscribers that only makes videos in English, that drunk guy on the subway totally recognized you and called you out. I’m also totally sure he exists.

    • Alex

      If you really think things like this don’t happen on the subway in Seoul, you live under a rock. And nowhere, but nowhere does this guy claim to have been “recognized.” You, however, should be recognized everywhere for your heartlessness and ignorance.

      • smithington

        I already said that sometimes people go off in Korea, but not for the reasons the author is claiming. His connections are too far fetched. and when I was going through links on this yesterday I was sure I’d seen it mentioned somewhere that he thought the guy recognized him or someone commenting on it thought he’d been recognized as an activist. Anyway, even without that, it doesn’t ring true.

  • Untrue

    Wow! what a coincidence. On the same day that news of the gay parade being cancelled came out. Total lie. attention seeking filled with typical SJW lying and obvious lies. Easy to prove if you want to though. Of course, you won’t cause it didn’t happen.

    • Michael Aronson

      I’m going to ignore the baseless accusations that Nick was lying and instead ask, what exactly do you have against social justice? Social justice is the reason women can vote, the reason interracial marriages are legal, and the reason gay marriage is rapidly being legalized across the globe.

      • smithington

        I’m going to take your baseless defense of this completely implausible story and ask what do you have against reason and logic?

        This guy lying to garner attention has nothing to do with gay marriage being legalized. The accusation isn’t baseless. It’s based on the giant holes in the story this guy is spinning.

        • Michael Aronson

          “The accusation isn’t baseless.”

          Where’s your evidence proving his story false?

          “It’s based on giant holes”

          I’m sorry, but the fact you lack information is not evidence of anything.

          • smithington

            Where’s the evidence proving it’s true?

            An activist spouting a bullshit story at a convenient time is not evidence that’s its true.

          • Michael Aronson

            I broke my arm when I was 4 years old.

            What evidence do you think exists that allows me to prove that claim?

            What difference does it make to you whether it’s true or false?

            And why do you believe anyone owes you shit?

          • Untrue

            If you were making a claim about how badly Korea treated people with broken arms and how your own experience as a person with a broken arm gave you authority to speak on the truth of that statement, then yes it would matter if you had had a broken arm or not. Otherwise, you would just be embellishing to make it seem like your point had more credence than it actually did.

          • Michael Aronson

            “If you were making a claim about how badly Korea treated people with broken arms”

            Except he didn’t do anything comparable. He talked about a single experience.

          • smithington

            Hospital records? Testimonials by unrelated third parties? Photos of you in a cast? You aren’t using the story about your broken arm to garner attention on the internet for your cause. If you were, then it would make a difference if it was true or not.

          • Michael Aronson

            “Hospital records?”

            Could be faked.

            “Testimonials by unrelated third parties?”

            Obviously paid off.

            “Photos of you in a cast?”

            Easily faked.

            Again, why do you believe a gay man owes you proof of his claims?

  • Naw

    ” I never thought in a million years I would be the victim of a hate crime in Seoul. I believed it was possible in America.” Have you lived in Korea for 2 days or what? This sounds so made up and you sound like you really would be better off just going back to wherever you came from.

    • Matthew Scott Alspaugh

      I agree with his sentiment. I know when I was living in Seoul that people would not like that I am gay but never imagined I would face physical violence/threatening in Korea.

  • wow

    The writer is just another riled-up gay man complaining about his life. I’m sorry for the reason that you were treated like shit, but I’m not sorry that you were treated like shit. “I believed it was possible in America.” Oh, yeah right, man. Go down to the south to the country and see if rednecks won’t yell at you for being a faggot. The world hasn’t progressed to fully accept gays, and sorry, but you’ll be dead before it happens. There’s no need to bash Korea for being “anti-gay” because they’re not anti-gay. Korea’s a very conservative country that was nurtured by the US after the Korean War. There are ideas that stick from pre-war. I’m not trying to hate on the writer, but go somewhere like San Francisco if you want to be that openly gay. I’m not ashamed to admit that I thought gay people were weird when I was young due to the environment I was raised in. But now, through progress, I have multiple gay friends and have an entirely different view on gays. And guess what, that took 10 fucking years for 1 person, so let’s guess how long it’ll take for a couple billion people to accept gays. The guy that was an asshole to you was out of line, yes, but one person doesn’t represent Korea. Even you said that he was drunk, and alcohol can lead to stupid things.

    • Matthew Scott Alspaugh

      The author specifically said he does not blame Korea. And you’re just blaming the victim and saying the exact same sentiment that the a-hole on the train said. No where is the author complaining about his life. He is describing a situation that happened to him in detail and how he felt during it. Once incident does not equal life – just as how saying that an atmosphere of hateful conservatism in Korea does not mean Korea as a whole is to blame.

    • confused

      why are you so mad? and did you even read over what you typed before hitting submit or am i just not understanding what you’re trying to say?

      “There’s no need to bash Korea for being “anti-gay” because they’re not anti-gay. Korea’s a very conservative country that was nurtured by the US after the Korean War. There are ideas that stick from pre-war.”– please explain this in further detail. because i’m trying to figure out what these ideas from pre-war are and the correlation between the Korean War and Korea not being “anti-gay”….also can you define conservatism?

  • Jenny Jackson-Smith

    As someone who has been yelled at by an older Korean woman on the subway (not for being gay… I’m really not sure what she was yelling about… she just kept pointing at me and yelling something to the other people on the train… they just sat their looking embarrassed — no one said or did anything, until I got to my stop and someone got off at the same stop and gave me an apologetic look and then walked on)… I’m really not sure why people are having such a hard time believing this happened… it’s not like I get yelled at on the subway every day, but it has happened to me once, and so I can totally see how this can happen.

    As far as the guy seeing his phone, I can’t even count how many times I’ve caught people looking over my shoulder to see what I’m doing on my phone (I’ve even had a few be quite open about it and exclaim in shock “oooh, English phone!”, or “oh! Kakao is English!”)… and articles about gay issues often have big rainbow flags on them, so yeah… it doesn’t take English skill to be able to understand what the article was likely about. In fact, a lack of english would be more likely, as a person who could read the title of the article would likely just recognize that it was a news article, not just a rainbow “gay” label on his phone.

    Anyway…all of this to say that I have no way of knowing whether or not this happened, but it is entirely plausible to me.

    • smithington

      Because what the author describes as happening doesn’t happen in Korea.

      Do you sometimes meet an old guy who got drunk and yells at a foreigner? Yes.
      But targeting that foreigner for being gay because he recognized him and read some article in English over his shoulder? No. Not even a little bit. You’re stretching hard to try and make this scenario work, but it just doesn’t.

      This is 100% grade A BS.

      • n

        but what the author describes as happening….does happen in korea. because any drunk asshole who’s feeling a little feisty will target anyone for anything, and it’s unfortunate because foreigners are an easy target.

        i hope you are aware that there are many verbal and physical attacks against homosexuals in korea (both koreans and foreigners), but not everyone is willing to share their stories because of the backlash they’ll get from their community and for a lot of different reasons which is a whole other discussion.

        • smithington

          Again, read the article and read what I wrote. He might have had a drunk guy yell at him on a subway, but the claim that he was targeted because the guy recognized him for being a gay activist and somehow picked that up by reading an article about gay people over his shoulder in English is 100% BS.

          This is such a contrived story.

          1. The guy never recognized him. Sorry buddy, but you’re not that famous.

          2. No matter how drunk he is, he isn’t going to assume you’re gay because you’re reading the news in another language.

          3. Chased him through the train with no provocation? Had this been his only claim I might have believed it, but even that is a stretch.

          4. Physically assaulted him? Another stretch. Most Koreans, even when drunk, are careful not to get too physical and often just yell at each other. They know as soon as it gets physical, they can be a out a lot of money.

          5. and the guy just happened to run off before he could take a picture.. oh darn..

          Question remains why is he making eye contact with a guy sitting beside him? It seems like that was much more likely the trigger than anything else. In certain situations making eye contact like that is considered a “challenge” and if the guy was drunk he may have taken it as a challenge.

          Let’s also go to his “I heard broken Korean…like..gay” uhhuh..a common insult and part of a swear word in Korean is the word for Dog which sounds like “Gay”.

          So what I really think happened?

          Mr. Neon was in a mood, challenged some drunk sitting beside him (intentionally or unintentionally, who knows), the guy obliged, Neon bit off more than he could chew, and basically made up some story to fit his narrative.

          • Alex

            The author never claimed to have been “recognized” (the word never appears in this article, only in your comments), but, like all good trolls, you’ll never allow reality to make its way through your thick skull. The barbarism of your myopic worldview will stand as your shame.

      • Hi There

        You’re saying that it is bs. in that it didn’t happen or is very shocking? Hardly.

        What? The writer is lying, you claim? Now that’s a fantasy.

        This is a very racist, xenophobic country–as are other countries–but Korea has a special brand of that hate.

        When I came here I had a bit of a gut (due to sitting while finishing my degree and writing a novel). My progress toward gaining my health back was excruciating because numerous Koreans would laugh openly upon seeing me. Even people you would consider “friendly” would joke about it, blind to their own physical flaws–because different features than theirs that are seen as “not attractive” are a hilarious joke. It’s the same as supposed friends who refer to one friend as “pig”. No wonder plastic surgery, low self esteem, and suicide are common here.

        And due to feeling like an ugly animal, even after I’ve gotten healthy physically, I basically gave up looking for a girlfriend. I happened to date a girl from September until April and nearly every time I would meet her I would get brutal, hateful stares from young Korean men and old people. If we would be in a traditional type of restaurant, often the whole place would be filled with people turning their heads, openly voicing their dislike (which she could, of course, understand). It was a further (very sharp) decline in my sense of place here–and it has filled me with hate.

        Just because there are nice people here too doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. If you live in a neverland, have nice coworkers, consider yourself lucky.

        We live in a liberal age in which we are compelled to label all cultures as wonderful. There are wonderful people here–OK… that doesn’t wash over the fact that overall it’s a very ignorant, judgmental and shallow place.

        You may get the chills in trying to get the courage to admit it, maybe because you haven’t experienced it, but compare it to people of another shallow, empty place. I’m from Southern California. Orange County and LA and so many other little yuppie and hillbilly communities are horrible. No PC, liberal sub-intellectual wash over of an assessment can make the reality that those foul people are foul.

        Therefore, to judge Koreans, it’s not completely a race issue. People get scared of that idea–of seeming like a racist. It’s an outline of dirt on Earth just like any other country is–and there are millions of people who live there. They are people and should be judged just as you would judge people from some place in the US or UK that has a lot of homophobic, racist, xenophobic people residing there.

        It’s brutal–that’s all I can say.

        • Commenter1234

          It’s funny how you are displaying here the same hatred towards a race you accuse Koreans of. So what if Koreans talked about your physical appearance? That’s part of their culture, which does not care as much about being politically correct in those areas and often views perceived ugliness as funny. I think that’s just sort of common there… and not because they are all shallow people, but just because. I’ve had plenty of instances where I was offended by family and friends in Korea, and at first I was like you, but seriously I think you’re taking it more seriously than any Korean ever did. Koreans even laugh at themselves. I think you’re blowing it a bit out of proportion, but maybe you should try to understand them a little more?

          That being said, if what is described in this article really happened, that’s really bad for the author.

          • Christopher Tjaart McLea

            Laugh at themselves and jump from the 12th floor.

      • Jenny Jackson-Smith

        Well, if you really think this wouldn’t happen, then I say you are living in a fantasy. It is far too easy for me to see how this could happen. Again, I have no proof… but there is nothing in this story that doesn’t seem highly plausible.

        I don’t think the old guy recognized him, (that would be stretching it…) I think he recognized a rainbow in an picture attached to an article on his phone.

      • KyleKC

        Where in the article does it say he recognized him? It says he sat next to him and saw the article on the phone. He didn’t have to have read anything on the phone, he very likely could have seen pictures from the article or at the very least just the headline which really is not too hard to imagine happening.

        I think you need a little work on your reading comprehension.

  • Matthew Scott Alspaugh

    Reading all of these hateful comments is super bumming me out.

    • RegisterToPost

      Yeah it sucks having to do those pesky things like ‘fact finding’ and ‘due diligence’. Let’s just ignore those and have another UVA rape hoax.

      • Michael Aronson

        The article, if you read it, is about one man’s experience.

        Nobody in the comments has provided any facts, or “facts,” disproving what he claims to have experienced.

        • RegisterToPost

          This is religious-tier logic. It’s like saying “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist!”

          If you make a claim, YOU are the one that has the burden of proof. That’s how logic works. Otherwise all you have is a contrived narrative.

          • Michael Aronson

            Actually, what you’re engaging in is victim blaming. “I don’t believe your victim story, so you have to prove it happened.”

            If you don’t believe him, feel free to fuck off. This is a conversation that can be safely had without your participation.

          • smithington

            To “victim blame” we’d need a victim first. There is no evidence there is one here. If you want to crawl so far up his ass with no proof, ask him out on a date. Cheerleading without proof won’t make this true.

          • Michael Aronson

            You seem to be thoroughly up your own ass under the impression that Nick owes you something. He doesn’t. He’s given his story. No one is forcing you to take him at his word, or to keep coming back to this page.

            Yet you keep doing so out of the bigoted joy in stroking your own ego.

          • smithington

            You seem to be under the impression that the commentators here owe you something. That they should follow what you say or get the fuck out. This isn’t your personal page, perhaps you’re confused about where you are.

            Yet here you are, you keep coming back and insulting everyone like they need your permission to exist.

            Methinks you’re projecting a little.

          • Michael Aronson

            Pot, here’s a kettle that is also black. And hilarious.

    • Lucas Lee

      Yeah agree with you. The amount of cunts commenting on this article is pissing me off.

  • farawayplace

    Very much doubt this actually happened. This website is known to create news and sensationalize it.

    • Michael Aronson

      What exactly do you gain by doubting it? What does Nick gain by fabricating it?

      • farawayplace

        Website hits. That equates to income through advertisement. You really don’t understand the web,do you?

        • Michael Aronson

          Nick doesn’t work for the Korea Observer. They allow anyone to write for them.

          • smithington

            the traffic filters back to his site moron. If you don’t understand how the internet works, come back after you hit web marketing 101, and until then Kindly fuck off.

            There is a link to his site up there. He gets exposure for his name, because there is no end to the amount of clueless sheep who will share and click on links from this horrible blog.

  • Emma M.

    It’s far too easy to say nasty things anonamously on the Internet. I believe your story, and I think that it’s shocking, but not really suprising or far fetched. I’ve known foreign guys who’ve been assaulted on the subway for being with their Korean girlfriends, and I’ve been bullied by strangers in public for no reason. How can anyone be arrogant enough to assume that because they haven’t personally seen or experienced something, it couldn’t possibly happen to anyone, at least not in Korea? Ha!

    • smithington

      It’s also far too easy to spin a sob story on the internet, especially by an activist. We have zero proof and this story just doesn’t ring true.

      • Emma E.

        I disagree, I think the story is believable. It’s fine to be skeptical of something that you read on the Internet, but you also have no proof that it didn’t happen, so maybe you could be a but more diplomatic in your replys. It seems like a normal reaction would be to give the victim the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like the writer is getting anything out of this. You come across as a Korean apologist or homophobe, probably both.

        • smithington

          There is also no proof that it did happen.

          Why would we give the victim the benefit of the doubt when activists have a history of lying? The writer is getting attention out of this. You come across like a clueless halfwit or a friend of the author or possibly even the author. Wouldn’t be the first time someone associated with this rag used a fake account to make it look like someone supported them.

          the leaps of logic are far too great. What is much more likely is what I wrote above:

          The drunk guy sat down, the author “challenged” him by making unnecessary eye contact, and being drunk he went off on him. The author, being clueless, mistook a common Korean swear word “dog” which is pronounced like “gay” as calling him gay.

          This is far more likely than the author’s claims. The fact that some random drunk guy went off on him specifically because he thought he was gay from him reading some article on his phone? Really? Are you that stupid?

          • Emma M.

            I met the author one time several years ago, but we’re not friends. I just looked at several of your 100s of replies on this website, and they were all inflamatory. You repetitively criticise the newspaper as being unrepeatable and insult people’s inteligence rather than debate their ideas. You obviously just come on here for drama. Maybe you should consider doing something positive with your time.

          • smithington

            and? That has what to do with this discussion? Because I hold people accountable for the BS they write online, that makes the author reliable?

            I would believe someone who gets into the discussion and can’t carry the debate is the one here for the drama. I put a point to you and you can’t seem to refute it.

            What’s more likely? A drunk guy who can apparently read English and can correctly deduce from a passing glance at a news article on a phone (that we have no idea even happened) vs the author admittedly challenging the guy (making eye contact when the guy sat down) and the guy just going off on him because he challenged him, he was drunk, and then the author misunderstanding the common Korean swear word “dog” for the English word Gay, in what he admits is “broken Korean”?

            we have no proof either way, but I know which one sounds a lot more likely.

          • Emma M

            You’re right, neither of us were there, the only one who really knows what happened is the writer. That makes his version of the story more likely than your specilation. And unlike you, the writer backs up what he says with his name and photo.

          • smithington

            Assuming anything actually happened. And even if something happened, the writer is giving his interpretation, without any proof to support it. The other guy might have a completely different version of events. The writer gives his name and photo because he’s seeking attention. That’s the entire reason for this story ,and why it’s so suspect. Thank you for proving my point.

          • Michael Aronson

            Guess what? You have no obligation to believe him, or to take part in this discussion at all. Kindly fuck off.

          • smithington

            Neither do you. Take your own advice and fuck off. It’s becoming increasingly clear from the way people are defending this and the complete lack of evidence to support it, that this is another invented situation.

          • Michael Aronson

            I’m sorry, but I am actually here to discuss the ramifications of this issue.

            All you are interested in is calling Nick a liar – with no evidence of your own, by the way. You have not once discussed what it would mean to you if his account were, in fact, true, or what would be the consequence if it weren’t. You’re here to stroke your own ego at the expense of a victim.

            Again, do fuck off.

          • smithington

            No you’re not. You’re here to make sure people follow your point of view and run them off with vulgarity if they hold a differeing view point.

            I’m also here to discuss the ramifications of the issue. The ramifications of activists who make things up to garner support for their cause. I haven’t seen you discussing what the it would mean if the story were false. So really, climb down off your high horse little child.

            You came in swinging, it was a poor attempt full of bluster and bullshit and nothing of substance. Your entire argument is “believe him because…reasons”. At least those who don’t believe him have shown that his story doesn’t quite make sense. They’ve brought up reasonable alternatives and parts of the story that don’t make sense. You’ve brought up..”it must be true, if you don’t believe it, get the fuck out!” amazing argument.

            The people here capable of logic and reason don’t believe it, and some sheep desperately seeking his next 15 minutes can’t wait to lap it up.

          • Michael Aronson

            “You’re here to make sure people follow your point of view”

            There is no other point of view, because there is no evidence to suggest he’s lying.

            Out of homophobic paranoia, you don’t believe him. Fine. You can kindly fuck off.

          • smithington

            See you keep going to the fuck off because you have no argument. Homoephobic paranoia? Nothing of the sort. It has nothing to do with him being gay it has to do with him making shit up. The evidence is in his story, because it doesn’t add up.

          • Michael Aronson

            “See you keep going to the fuck off because you have no argument”

            I keep going to the fuck off because you don’t.

            “The evidence is in his story, because it doesn’t add up.”

            Lack of evidence =/= evidence, sorry spanky.

          • smithington

            That’s right, lack of evidence is not evidence, thanks for admitting that. Doubt is what makes the evidence necessary and it’s lacking. Unless you’ve got any to support your position, take your own advice and fuck off.

          • Michael Aronson

            You’ve already claimed he is lying. Prove your claim with evidence.

          • smithington

            He’s provided nothing to support it. The onus is on him making the initial claim. I know critical thinking is a hard thing for your wrap your little brain around, but that’s what tells me, and others, that this is false.

          • Michael Aronson

            “The onus is on him making the initial claim.”

            See, that’s where you actually contact him and request more information, rather than whining over and over on a news article.

  • Jay Pak

    Stop whining. You will experience much worse in other developed countries, of course more frequently I bet. They probably stare at you but it’s the last thing to happen in Korea that you will get physically assaulted in public especially when you’re a foreigner. So either enjoy your safe time in Seoul or get your gay ass out of this country, Okay?

    • Michael Aronson

      Which DEVELOPED countries would treat him worse?

      • Jay Pak

        How about the United Sates of America, the country represents freedom?

        you think it’s a cherry picked experiment? you haven’t got such experience when walking in NYC? wow same story. I’m not a gay ass but I’ve never seen someone got assaulted within the context of being gay during my 20 more years of Seoul life.

        It’s funny that you think rest of world is homophob-free lol

  • akona

    First, I want to commend this writer for being brave enough to share his experience of a hate crime, and for the one person who tapped into his humanity to assist the writer.

    Second, what is wrong with those of you who blatantly discredit and minimize someone else’s experience of a traumatic event?? This individual had the courage to speak out after being assaulted. To make matters worse, he was left feeling helpless in a system, of many, where traditional gender roles are more acceptable. This is one medium where he can speak out against homophobia, or the idea that he is somehow less valuable as a human because of his orientation, not because of his character. As for those who take on the role of speaking for all of Korea, assuming that you have such omnipotence to confidently say what does or doesn’t happen in every second of the day throughout a nation – just because one doesn’t witness an event doesn’t mean it has not occurred. I’m guessing murder, rape and other violent acts you have never witnessed must never occur either? How foolish!

  • right on t rex

    You guys are unbelievable. Of course it happened. Absolutely people start fights in Korea over ridiculous things. Yes there is blatant racism, homophobia, xenophobia, narrow-mindedness and disrespect. There is also kindness and acceptance and goodness and a lot of love. The author was sharing a traumatic event. Who are you to say it didn’t happen and belittle his experience? It did happen and it shouldn’t have. Why is it okay to call out people in America but not Korea? Why can’t we encourage change to happen all over the world? Bite your tongue, have compassion, and be better.

  • Acer

    This never happened…

  • BIGGIE2728


  • SJW Epidemic

    This is the article he claims to have been reading when this happened:

    there is a gay flag photo, but sorry, the rainbow flag isn’t
    automatically recognized as a gay symbol in Korea. Yes, some Koreans
    know that it is, but it is widely used in other ways in Korea too.

    to add to the unusual coincidences, he just happened to be reading
    about gay rights in Korea when something happened to him.

    This is so fake its insane anyone can believe it. He’s just another give me attention now product of this current generation.

    his Facebook he was linking his own youtube video (cause they all have
    youtube channels – anything for attention) on june 1st at 6:25 and then
    at 7:16 of June 1st he had his post on FB talking about the “incident”.

    people live to be victims. They love to have something to validate
    their existence and make them feel as if they arn’t worthy of all they
    have been given..

    It’s a convenient excuse to not have evidence
    cause he doesn’t want to provide charges. He knows the time, date,
    location and could easily get video evidence if this did happen.

    Gay and open about it in Korea for the past 5 years. I have met with nothing but kindness. Hate when foreigners or
    their “indoctrinated” Korean friends try to always mark this country
    (or even their home countries) as backwards hellholes filled with hate
    and discrimination when we live in the best and most open era for them
    in any developed country.

    This website is disgusting and I really hope you know about journalism
    registration regulations and defamation laws in Korea cause some of your
    articles and sections seem very much to be in contradiction.

    His post:

    On the train just now an old drunk Korean man looked me up and down. He
    looked at my tatted arms. And then looked at my phone where I was
    reading this fucking article about how they’re aggressively trying to
    shut down the Gay pride festival. He noticed the Gay pride headline I
    am assuming because he then exploded. He got up from his seat next to me
    and screamed in front of everyone, “If you Gay go your fucking country
    now!” I was so thrown off that I was speechless. So I just
    got up and left the car. He followed me into the next car. I told him
    to fuck off and he grabbed my arm. Thankfully another man followed him
    to our car and grabbed the attacker. I tried to take his picture while
    they were struggling. But he ran off the train when the doors opened.
    Now I have nothing but positive things to say about religion. On the
    other hand, those who cowardly stand behind it to promote their hateful,
    violent + closed opinions of the ‪#‎gaycommunican‬
    , or any human being for that matter, can go eat a FULL BOWL OF DICKS.
    that foreigners have brought this sickness into their country. ‪#‎kissmygayass‬ ‪#‎icant‬ ‪#‎lgbt‬ ‪#‎war‬ in ‪#‎Seoul‬ ‪#‎southKorea‬ ‪#‎gayrights‬ ‪#‎standtall‬ in the face ‪#‎homophobia‬

    Let me add one for you #Lies

    • Michael Aronson

      That was an insane effort to show everyone your commitment to stand on the wrong side of history.

      • smithington

        Yet far more effort than Mr Neon made to actually prove his claim. Which was the whole point. You must be James’ long lost brother. Can’t wait to see the epic posts you pen here. You were a one hit wonder and even that was seriously cringe worthy.

        • Michael Aronson

          Wow, criticizng my work really helps your point. Your compelling evidence is overwhelming.

          • smithington

            It’s far more compelling than you showing up with nothing more than buzz words and bullshit and telling people to fuck off because you can’t make a coherent argument.

          • Michael Aronson

            There’s nothing to argue. You don’t believe him. Nobody owes you an explanation, spanky.

          • smithington

            Spanky, incredibly witty. No wonder you were able to come up with that fantastic and amazing little ditty. And yes, when you publicly claim something, you do owe people an explanation.

          • Michael Aronson

            You’re right, because I made a video with over a million hits, my argument must be wrong. What logic.

    • Tinytuba

      The guy obviously spoke English, so perhaps he read the headline. Its not a coincidence that he just happened to be reading an article about gay rights in Korea when the assult happened, it’s the reason it happened. Idiot.

      • smithington

        The guy didn’t obviously speak English. The article claims he heard a couple of words in “broken Korean” including “gay” which sounds like “dog” in Korea and is used as a common swear word.

        Who knows if he was even reading that article. What we do know is that he challenged the guy when he sat down by looking him in the eye and the guy swore at him, then this drama queen misunderstood, intentionally or otherwise, the meaning of “dog” as “Gay” and wrote a post about it, then you wandered in with your head up your ass and believed it.

        • Tinytuba

          Read the article you rube.

          “He elbowed me and got up and screamed, “If you gay, go your f***ing country!”

          Sounds like he spoke English to me.

          • smithington

            That’s the claim, doesn’t make it true. He also relates nothing more than “broken korean” after that point. Amazing how he could form those sentences yet muster nothing else but Broken Korena with a couple english words after that that the guy couldn’t even make out. So convenient.

          • Michael Aronson

            “That’s the claim, doesn’t make it true.”

            Then prove otherwise.

            ‘If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood.”

            Your move, spanky.

          • smithington

            He hasn’t proven it happened in the first place. His story simply isn’t plausible. That’s the indicator it didn’t happen. When you weigh his story vs common sense it doesn’t add up. I could tell you I’m an astronaut, would you believe it in the absence of any proof suggesting that is false? Of course not, because it doesn’t make sense. Why is an astronaut arguing on some shithole blog? I’ve already given a very plausible scenario that might have led the writer to think what happened actually happened for the reasons it did, but in fact didn’t have anything to do with the reasons he thought. That makes far more sense the story he spun.

          • Michael Aronson

            “His story simply isn’t plausible.”

            To you. You are speaking only for yourself.

            “asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood”

            Go for it, spanky. I’ll wait.

          • smithington

            Not on myself. Several others have posted here stating they don’t believe the story either. Lies and vulgarity to defend your position. Again, great argument.

          • Michael Aronson

            You claim he’s lying. Prove your claim. I’ll wait.

          • smithington

            I’ve already proven you’re lying, I’d say you’ve gotten all the rope you’ve earned.

          • Michael Aronson

            You proved I’M lying? What have I lied about, and where did you prove it?

          • smithington

            You claimed I was the only one who didn’t believe it, yet there are several others in these comments who also aren’t buying it. You lied, the proof is right here on this page. Keep spinning your wheels, you’re totally making headway.

          • Michael Aronson

            I didn’t claim you were the only one. That’s not really much of a lie either.

            What’s hilarious is that you claim the whole point of the article was to get people’s attention, which is exactly what you’re giving him by repeating yourself over and over and over.

          • smithington

            “You are speaking only for yourself.”

            No, as I’ve already pointed out, there are multiple people in these comment sections who don’t believe his story. It isn’t just mean that doesn’t find his story plausible. Keeping dancing, you’re doing a great chimp impression.

            Maybe that can be your next video. Dancing chimp on the subway.

          • Michael Aronson

            I don’t recall others asking you to speak for them. Perhaps I missed that memo.

            Anyway, if the purpose of this article was merely to attract attention, you are doing a wonderful job proving its efficacy.

          • smithington

            I’m not speaking for them, I’m pointing out that I’m not the only one who doubts this story, which is what you said implies. I don’t need to speak for them, they’ve already spoken and said they don’t believe, I’m simply repeating it, and reinforcing it since you seem to be having some comprehension issues.

            Yes, thank you for illustrating why it’s relevant that we determine if this story is in fact true or not. Activists have a history of massaging the truth to draw attention to themselves. Something you’re all too willing to swallow.

            I timely story was produced which has all the elements to tug at the heart strings of course “convenience” is another strike against the story. Way too many leaps and coincidences to make this real. but then again I seem to recall you also losing control of yourself over that MBC video and the admins having to boot you from that group because you can’t carry on a civil discussion formed in rational thought. That’s another strike, nothing liked tainted support. Really helps sell this narrative.

          • Michael Aronson

            “I’m not speaking for them”

            Then you agree with my comment that you are only speaking for yourself, thus conceding it wasn’t any sort of lie, and that you proved nothing.

            This is a microcosm of all of your posts.

          • smithington

            No, I don’t agree with what your post implies, that I am a lone voice. I am not a lone voice in doubting this story. Your reply was directly addressing me saying that I didn’t believe this, and you implying I was the only person who didn’t agree. “Speak for yourself” does not just have a literal meaning. Using it also implies no one agrees with you, and that is not the case here. Several agree, both here and other places this story washed up. Another thing people agree on is that you can’t hold your shit together online and go from 0 to cock gobbling fuck face in less than 1 sentence.

          • Michael Aronson

            “No, I don’t agree with what your post implies, that I am a lone voice.”

            That isn’t what I wrote, spankness, but what’s one more paranoid delusional post on top of all these others?

          • smithington

            That is what you implied, or are you too stupid to follow what even you wrote? If you weren’t implying that, what was point of writing it? Several others here doubted it, I simply said it wasn’t plausible. The only reason you write that is if you want to say no one else thinks that, which they do. Otherwise it’s complete nonsense, which given your performance so far, is in fact quite plausible. Keep going though, the longer you do this and no proof appears to support the two drama queens, the more apparent it will become to the masses that this was a made-up situation only to seek attention.

          • Michael Aronson

            “That is what you implied”

            Infer =/= imply. I hope you’re not an English teacher, spankington.

            “the more apparent it will become to the masses”

            Exactly which masses do you think are reading this a week after its publication? And which of the two of us comes off like a paranoid raving lunatic?

          • smithington

            You, as you’ve basically attempted to shout down anyone like a raving lunatic who didn’t follow your point of view. You’re going to have to come up with some actual evidence because the little childish foot stomping and vulgarity doesn’t cut it.

          • Michael Aronson

            Wow, did you just pull a “I know you are but what am I”? Somewhere in the universe, Paul Reubens is pleased.

          • smithington

            wow you are stupid. Yes, I was inferring something. I was inferring from their statements that they held the same view as me, and that I’m not the only one who didn’t believe the story. You were implying that that was not the case. Stupid and a liar, this is going really well for you, do you want to try some more vulgarity? Might really sell it at this point.

          • Michael Aronson

            “You were implying that that was not the case”

            Sorry sweetums, but I didn’t. The fact you inferred such a meaning does not mean it’s actually there. Hence, imply =/= infer.

          • Michael Aronson

            You might be interested to know The KO posted another article today for you to be butthurt about:


    • Jenny Jackson-Smith

      Okay, I actually clicked the link of the article you say he was reading… and yeah, not only is the rainbow flag huge, it also has “Korea Queer Culture Festival” written on it in big KOREAN letters… so regardless of if the man knew the massive rainbow flag was a gay symbol or not (which… yeah, he almost certainly did), he could also probably read the Korean on the flag…

  • Michael Aronson

    Epic post.

  • Elle

    I’m not for attacking gay people, but I’m not for having that sh*t shoved down my throat either. I read about so-called “anti-gay propaganda” all the time, but what about the PRO-GAY PROPAGANDA? And as if by chance when we hear about the LGBT Parade ban? Please, the majority of the world sees that something is wrong with this gay thing. Love the gays, even have a gay friend, but I won’t support their lifestyle. And speaking of rights, this is my right not to like it too. If people are gonna preach tolerance, then tolerate the idea that not everyone is gonna support the gay lifestyle. Goodness I’m so glad this country is not lost yet. I hope that never changes.

    • Michael Aronson

      Nobody is shoving anything down your throat. YOU clicked on this article.

      “What about the pro-gay propaganda?”

      Nobody is telling you to become gay. You’re not the victim here.

      • Elle

        Yes it is. TV shows promote it, the news talk about it, celebs often have to say something to give support, and I clicked on the article because I knew there was a ban in Seoul and this “conveniently” makes the headlines? Whatever.

        • Jenny Jackson-Smith

          Well, Elle, I do have to admit that I understand what you are saying about the media…but I do disagree that it is ‘forced down your throat’. Public opinion is changing on this issue, and that is going to be reflected in the media. Every time they do a poll, the numbers supporting marriage equality go up…and yes, I know that you are going to say it is because the media is promoting it, but that is not something that is provable. I personally think it’s a chicken and egg thing. Public opinion swings one way, the media shifts to catch up, and then feeds public opinion, which swings more so the media shifts more… that’s just what happens. And if you have a different opinion than what is generally the public opinion, then yes, it would be frustrating. BUT there are more than enough alternatives for people who do have differing opinions. As the previous commenter said, you did not have to click this article. You did not have to read anything about the gay pride festival in Korea at all. You do not have to read articles on this website at all, because, well… this website is run by someone whose express purpose is to write about minorities (ie: be a voice for the voiceless), and yeah…that would include sexual minorities as well as racial minorities. While I disagree with your opinion, you are entitled to it. And I have to say, I appreciate people who can say that they disagree with people but don’t wish to stop them from living their lives. That is an entirely reasonable stance.

          I will add though, that I think having a festival/parade is part of living their lives. It doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s just a time to celebrate and feel accepted.

      • Elle

        And no they’re not telling me to become gay, they’re telling me that I’m wrong for not agreeing with their opinion and call it “intolerant”. In that case, there’s just as intolerant of my opinion. I love gay folks, and want to harm to happen to them, I just don’t support their lifestyle but I will not stop them from doing whatever they want, they’re free to do so.

        • Elle

          and want no harm to happen to them*

        • Michael Aronson

          “I love gay folks, I just don’t support their lifestyle”

          Then you don’t actually love them.

    • Jenny Jackson-Smith

      I think what the difference is between the the two sides is that the
      gay community doesn’t try to stop the anti-gay community from living
      their lives.

      And I’m sorry… “lifestyle”?? Is it
      the 80s again? There is no one “gay lifestyle” just like there is no
      “straight lifestyle”… I don’t lump all straight people in Kim
      Kardashian…or, I dunno… Bill Cosby…there is no one “lifestyle” for
      either group. There are people who have an orientation. Saying “I
      have a gay friend, but I won’t support their lifestyle” just doesn’t
      make sense. In general, what people mean when they say this is “sex”…
      it actually amuses me how much the, shall we say, conservative anti-gay
      section of society is obsessed with gay sex. They see two guys holding
      hands and find it gross because they start thinking about the two guys
      having sex instead of just seeing a couple. If we did that for straight
      people we would all be called perverts, but they do it for gay people
      and somehow… it’s just being “righteously indignant”…

      I’ve veered off topic here, but it just so frustrates me. The gay
      community is not asking you to be gay…and yeah, they would like it if
      you changed your mind, but mostly…they just want to be free to be
      themselves. Be free to not have to be careful what pronouns they use when
      they talk about their lives. Be free to not be worried about getting fired because of something they can’t change about themselves. Be free to read an article on the train without getting attacked…

      • Elle

        Umm no, just the holding hands is gross, I don’t even go so far as imagining sex when i see two guys holding hands. They are free to be themselves, they don’t need to impose and parade it to prove how “proud” they are. Lions don’t need to roar to prove that they’re lions. If they were so proud they wouldn’t need to shout it. I love them, but I have the right not to support the “gay pride” movement, I thought the “tolerant” would “tolerate” it? I guess not.

        • Michael Aronson

          “They are free to be themselves, they don’t need to impose and parade it to prove how “proud” they are.”

          Then I hope you never hold hands or kiss your partner in public. You know, just to make things equal.

        • Jenny Jackson-Smith

          Oh man, you are so deceiving yourself… the only reason holding hands could possibly be gross is because you are taking it to another level in your head. In many cultures (middle eastern cultures) men hold hands as a matter of course… the actual act of two men holding hands is no different than two men shaking hands or…i dunno, fist bumping or whatever. In and of itself, it is nothing. You may not be actually imagining (ie: picturing) the sex… but you obviously are thinking about it. Otherwise you wouldn’t care. Any more than you care when you see a man and a woman hold hands.

          And as far as “parading” and being “proud”… I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you are white and grew up in a white culture. You almost certainly have no idea what it is like to be a minority in a majority culture. The urge to “parade” and feel “proud”… I can tell you as a black woman who grew up in a supremely white world… it isn’t to impose anything, it’s to feel a sense of self… to feel that who I am is just as valid as everyone else. And yes, I feel like a parade (or a month of black history or whatever) is necessary, because the rest of the time the world is for white people. Taking a small time out to focus on me and mine that’s just well… it feels necessary. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s pretty close, I feel.

    • criminy

      So, uh, when’s the last time a gay activist walked up to you and started telling you about the wondrous benefits of the LGBT lifestyle; invited you to a LGBT event; asked you out?

      I’ll give you time to think about it.

      OK, good.

      Now, when’s the last time a person involved with X religion came up and tried to tell you about their beliefs; invited you to worship with them; asked you out?

      If neither has happened in a long time, which category happened/happens more frequently?

      • Elle

        The media – all the freaking time – is doing some aggressive gay activism.

        • criminy

          I’m sorry, I must not be having the same experience. Somehow I don’t see the media as being a big gay promotion machine. Care to share some examples?

  • Jay Kaysevend

    I swear…all these dumb ass foreigners in korea bitching about this or that. Newsflash neon faggot….spend some time in the south or midwest in the states and write up a nice tome when some country yokels chain ur faggot ass to their pick up and drive you into the woods to lynch ur whiny azz. Korea…the home of Samsung! How can ppl be so backwards here? Ummmm check ur own ppl first. Thank you cum again ser loras…

    • Michael Aronson

      You do realize nobody lynches in America anymore, yes?

      • Jay Kaysevend
        • Michael Aronson

          Somehow I am skeptical that you’ve lived out any of your psychopathic fantasies.

          • Jay Kaysevend

            Somehow I am skeptical that you are as smart as you try to come across in these forums. 2000 comments? Seriously!? You could have found a cure for aids with that effort and time. You are that plastic professor type….

          • Michael Aronson

            You doubt I’m as smart as I come across? I’ll take that as a compliment.

            I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I’m not quite sure how I would’ve come up with a cure for AIDS in the time not spent responding to your psychosis, especially when actual scientists and doctors have yet to succeed, but I’ll accept that as yet another compliment of your high estimation of my capabilities.

          • Jay Kaysevend

            You omitted “try” when quoting me. Even so it is still a compliment because it must be difficult manning a drive through window while responding 2000+ times. Now….go biggie size my fries, that will be all for now.

          • Michael Aronson

            I didn’t quote you. Reading is fundamental, my psychotic friend.

          • Jay Kaysevend

            Lol….this loser has 2189 posts. Are you virgin, homo or both? Blowing a bunch of hot air and probably male genitals too….Are you that fat guy that was barred from the gay saunas in Seoul?

  • ano nymous

    Don’t worry honey. I got my 6 inch just for your pretty butt. Love is everywhere <3.

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