The president of a South Korean cable television company has resigned in the wake of a public outcry over his 10-year-old daughter’s verbal abuse and threats aimed at her chauffeur.
Bang Jung-oh, head of the TV Chosun network, issued a statement through the company saying he would resign to take responsibility for his daughter’s behaviour.
“I express deep regret for causing the public trouble related to my child”, Mr Bang said in the statement. “I apologise sincerely to the chauffeur for his distress”.
An audio file of the girl’s threats was released by the rival MBC TV channel and is understood to have been recorded by the driver as he drove her to a private after-school lesson. It is believed that the driver recorded similar tirades on at least seven occasions. He was fired the day after he reported her comments to her parents.
At one point, the girl – who has not been named because she is a minor – shouts at the driver, “Hey, you! I’ll speak to my mother today to make you lose your job.
“You’re fired”, she adds. “You’re really insane. Hey, I’m speaking to you. I told you don’t want to [sit down]. Why should I sit down? This is my car, not yours”.
After a prolonged silence, the driver can be heard replying, “Fire me if you want”.
The girl yells back, “Do you think I would be embarrassed? You’re crippled. Crippled without arms, legs, face, ears or a mouth. You’re insane. Your parents taught you wrong.
“I really hate you. I want you to die. That’s my wish”.
The driver reported the girl’s comments to her parents and her mother made her apologise, before becoming hostile and demanding that he delete the recordings. Sacked the following day, he was given no reason for the decision.
Interviewed by MBC, the tearful chauffeur said, “I expected that [the mother] would console me with an apology and warm words, but that was not the case”.
The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with commentators saying the heads of the nation’s “chaebol” business groups and their families are “living in the Dark Ages” and that they consider anyone in the service industries to be their “personal slaves”.
In December 2014, the vice president of Korean Air and daughter of the president of the national flag carrier was roundly criticised for flying into a rage at the way an attendant served her a bag of nuts as their aircraft prepared to take off from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Heather Cho was accused of assaulting the flight attendant, before ordering the aircraft to return to the terminal and delaying the flight by 20 minutes.
She later resigned a number of her duties at the airline and served three months of a 12-month term for endangering aviation safety, although she has since returned to many of her posts.