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Yogurt Company Employs Nude Performance To Promote New Product

Yogurt Company Employs Nude Performance To Promote New Product

Posted January. 29, 2003 22:29,   


The prosecution has reportedly questioned employees and staff members of an advertising agency, which hired an erotic promotion strategy for a new product, arousing a heated social debate on definition and scope of obscenity. According to the authorities, the agency had female promotion agents perform activities in nudity. Artists lashed out against the investigation and allege that their freedom of speech is abridged. Many experts, however, consider the event crossed the line and felt more like obscenity, than an artful performance.

Criminal Division 7 of the Seoul District Public Prosecutors` Office has questioned for three days since Monday the agency`s president Kim and artist Lee Mok-il who planned the nude performance. To promote a new yogurt product of a company, according to the division, they arranged and put in practice a nude performance in a studio in Insah Dong, which took place on January 26. Yesterday, the DA`s Office also brought in the staff members of the yogurt company for questioning. The prosecutors interrogated the employees to find out whether they had been informed of the nude performance in advance.

Examining the photo stills of the performance run in Jan. 27th newspapers, the DA`s Office determined that the performance constitutes an act of obscenity. Then, the office ordered the advertising agency to submit all relevant documents and materials including videotapes, stills, and synopsis of the event.

The DA`s office will first determine whether or not the nude performance satisfies all the elements of obscenity, and then, if found so, will decide whether to file a formal charge against the people involved during next week.

What is at issue is the part of the Jan. 26th show where nude models sprayed the new yogurt over each other`s body to demonstrate the function of the new product, which is not for human consumption, but for pasting over the body. The yogurt company confirmed that the show was planned by Lee, and that 7 nude models including the Moos performed it. The show was run for about an hour. But the nude performance lasted for about three minutes, which is the part the prosecution considers that crossed the line.

Upon hearing the news, artists strongly criticized, "With old legal standards, the prosecution is trying to smother creative works of artists."

"The prosecution still seems to think that they could `enlighten` and control the public. It`s silly. They should stop smothering artists` creativity and having them sensor themselves," said Lee Hyun-seh, a comic book writer who was charged with obscenity, but finally found not guilty after five long years` legal battle arising out of his work Legend of Haven.

Art critic Hah Jae-bong said, "I know the show was commercial in part. But we have to look at the performance itself as an artful presentation. This incident clearly demonstrates how far behind the law is and how advanced the general concept of sex in our society."

Dong-Yong Min mindy@donga.com