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Maxim Korea apologizes over controversial cover

Yonhap News
Written by Yonhap News

Maxim Korea on Friday apologized over its September issue, whose cover has been widely accused of portraying sexual violence in a positive light.

The South Korean edition of the U.S.-based magazine said it will recall and discard all issues following a controversy that has drawn flak from international media.

The cover in question features Kim Byeong-ok, an actor from “Old Boy” and “Sympathy for My Lady Vengeance,” who stands next to a car, smoking a cigarette. Protruding from the car’s trunk are a woman’s legs bound with duct tape. The headline reads “The Real Bad Guy.”

The controversial cover of Maxim Korea's September issue which critics say portrays sexual violence in a positive light. (Yonhap)The controversial cover of Maxim Korea’s September issue which critics say portrays sexual violence in a positive light. (Yonhap)

Inside the magazine, there are more photos in which he acts as a murderer trying to cover up his crime. In one photo, Kim is carrying a black plastic bag apparently filled with a large object. Kim has been widely acclaimed for his villain roles in movies.

Maxim Korea had previously denied wrongdoing, saying it had no intentions of glamorizing sexual assault. However, on Friday, two weeks after the issue was released, the publication said it was offering an unconditional apology.

“We made a mistake of publishing inappropriate photos and a headline in our September 2015 issue,” Lee Young-bi, the editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “We never intended on idealizing criminal activities, but whatever our intentions, we were completely wrong.”

Lee added that proceeds from the issues already sold will be donated to non-profit organizations working with women’s rights and sexual violence prevention.

A spokesperson for Maxim’s U.S. edition had also condemned the cover.

“The cover and corresponding feature published by Maxim Korea is deeply troubling,” the spokesperson told The Huffington Post. “We condemn it in the strongest terms.”



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Yonhap News is South Korea's largest news agency based in Seoul.

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