The video is only 78 seconds long, barely enough to establish the nationalities of the two young club-goers in the frame and the third holding the camera. But what it shows is so disturbing, so charged with deeply sensitive issues of gender and race, that in the week since it was posted to Facebook it has generated a growing debate on the Korean Web and even coverage in the South Korean press.
From the very first seconds, it’s clear that the young Korean woman in the frame is in trouble. She’s sitting somewhat limply on a nightclub sofa, where two Western men have clearly set upon her. They don’t seem to know her, but the first man sits and wraps his arm around her while the second stands and films. They begin by describing her body, talking as if she weren’t there. One of the men pulls back her hair to show her chest to the camera. By 14 seconds in, it’s already clear she’s afraid, and she tries to wave them off as the first man puts his hand on her chin to push her face up.
Then, as if bored with merely harassing her, they grow more sadistic. The first man sticks his finger up her nose. She pulls back to resist but he leans in and shouts, “I see a booger.” His friend eggs him on — “Dude, make her eat it,” he says — and the two burst into laughter when he shoves his finger, now smeared with snot, into the back of her throat. They tell her she’s disgusting. When one of them discovers some discoloration on her teeth, pulling her lips back to show to the camera, he starts shoving her, punishing her for displeasing him. He shouts at her to get plastic surgery, “like every other little Korean [girl].” At first, when she tries to resist, he won’t let her go. But, after several thrashes, she’s able to pull herself away, clearly rattled, and walk off. They shout angrily after her, hurling insults, and the video ends.
Maybe even more disturbing than how cruelly the two men treat this Korean woman is the alarming speed with which their words shift, almost without warning, from objectifying her to insulting, and their touch devolves from manhandling to something much more hostile. She is, to them, an object of amusement, a subject of ridicule, a thing to be scorned and humiliated and, finally, a threat to be angrily subdued.
I have not embedded the video because it is too disturbing and profane, but you can view it here.