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By Kwon Jin-woo – Sun-Gur Lee, Korea Herald-Korea A luxury spa magazine in the United States has been forced to shut down after it was accused of sexual harassment by one of its stars.
Luxury Spa magazine, based in San Diego, was run by Korean-American model Kim Soh-seok who is a former model and was previously an agent for luxury brand Bulgari.
Soh-soh-nim was also the director of marketing at Bulgari and the magazine had been featured in the upcoming book The Beauty of Being a Woman in Korean Fashion, by British writer Sarah Hill.
But when she complained to the magazine’s owner, Soh said, he asked her to “get the hell out of my office”.
The incident came to light when an editor at the magazine complained to a female employee.
“He was saying, ‘We’ve heard you are a lesbian,’ ‘You have no idea what we are,’ ‘I don’t want you here,’ ‘There is no place for you in our office’,” she said.
Sophia Kim, the magazine editor, said she was “embarrassed” by the behaviour and asked the magazine to “go back to the drawing board”.
“He then told me that he could never be fired, and that he was sorry if this was an inappropriate comment,” she said, adding that she has “lost confidence in him”.
“I had no idea that he had been so abusive.
He’s a wonderful person and a good person, but he’s not my friend.””
I was very uncomfortable and upset that my colleague and friend was being made to feel that way,” Kim said.”
I think he was just doing this because he was in a relationship, and it wasn’t a big deal.”
Kim said she and other colleagues were “horrified” at the behaviour of the magazine and the “disgusting” way it was being handled.
“We are just outraged,” she told reporters.
“If you are working with me, I think it’s very important that you know that you are welcome in the workplace.
You don’t have to say anything, or you can’t be an agent, or they don’t hire you.””
It’s like a joke.
You work with me and I have to work with you,” Kim added.”
There’s no other way out.
I am in the same boat.
We were really shocked to learn of this and our first reaction was disbelief.
We’re very disappointed.
We were really trying to work it out together, and the staff didn’t have a clue what to do.”
Luxure magazine spokeswoman Jennifer Rennie told the South Korean press that it was a “misunderstanding” and that the magazine would continue to publish content from “our partners in the U.S.”
“The editorial staff has learned of the allegations and are working to address them, and we will continue to work closely with our partners in Korea,” Rennies said.
The incident was not the first time a Korean model had accused her former employer of sexual assault.
In 2016, a model in the luxury lifestyle magazine Kim Jin-yeon accused a top fashion executive of sexually assaulting her at a party.
“In 2015, a young model in luxury magazine Kim Jun-young had accused the company of sexual misconduct,” a statement from the magazine said at the time.
“After her complaints to management, Kim Jun said that the company changed its policy on sexual harassment, and has since worked to ensure that sexual harassment is never tolerated at our business.”
Kim Jun-sung, a Korean-born model, said that she believes that all women are equal, and is looking forward to returning to the modeling industry and taking her work home to raise her daughter.