Men’s magazine Maxim Korea is facing a backlash of controversy following the publication of their latest issue. Actor Kim Byung Ok, infamous for his ‘bad guy’ roles, featured on the cover of the September issue. The photo shoot involved an image of woman’s lifeless legs tied together in the boot of a car. Maxim is renowned for its racy, risqué content but have they gone too far?
Cosmopolitan UK commented, expressing sheer disbelief and outrage that the editors of the magazine allowed this to be published. ‘The cover line reads “The Real Bad Guy”, with the words underneath reportedly translating as: “So girls like ‘bad guys’? This is what a bad guy looks like. Dying for him, right?”‘ (Cosmo UK)
The additional photos from the pictorial include Kim Byung Ok dragging what appears to be a body in a bin bag.
In the wake of publication, Korean netizens were outraged that the magazine was glorifying violence against women. The controversial cover has sparked outrage globally as it seemingly romanticises sexual violence. Cosmopolitan UK voiced their anger stating: “The cover line even seems to have victim-blaming undertones, seeming to suggest that if a woman falls for the former, she can expect the latter – if you think you like a ‘bad guy’, this is what you could be in for.” . Claire Hodgson of Cosmopolitan UK called it “the worse cover idea of all time.”
An online petition was created to pull the magazine from the shelves. It has already collated over 12,000 signatures and includes statistics of violence crimes against women in South Korea.
In response, Maxim Korea issued an apology in an official statement, taking full responsibility for the content and recalling the September issue:
“Maxim Korea’s recent September 2015 issue made the mistake of including inappropriate photos and words in the article and back cover. We also think that we have caused disappointment to those who have loved Maxim.
Although we had no intention of romanticizing a criminal act in the process of conveying a crime scene in the magazine, whatever our intention was, we admit that this is completely our fault. Once more, we express our deepest apologies. We are currently reflecting on mistake and will voluntarily take action to recall all sales of the September issue in the country.
Also, we will donate the total profits that have already come from the September issue towards the prevention of sexual assault and to advocates of women’s rights issues. We deeply apologize once again.”
(translation via: allkpop)