By Cho Jae-hyon
A remark deriding short men by a female student guest on KBS2 TV's talk show, ''Misuda,'' (Beauties' Chatterbox), is creating a stir on the Internet.
Lee Do-kyung of Hongik University, one of the 12 students invited to the program broadcast on Monday night, dropped a bombshell, saying a short man is a ''loser.''
Asked whether she would go out with a short male, she said, ''I won't. Height is a measure of competitiveness. I think a man who is short is a loser.'' She said a dating partner for her should stand at least 180 centimeters tall.
Right after her ''bold'' remark was aired, not only the student but also KBS homepage were bombarded with ruthless criticisms from netizens.
The following day, she posted a note on her mini-homepage on Cyworld that she just read the script.
''Script writers wanted me to follow the script and the word 'loser' was in the script and I just read it as told,'' she said.
KBS staff also posted a note on its website denying that it demanded guests to speak as written in the script, saying that the script was the opinion of the guests. But it removed the note one hour after it was posted.
Her explanation did not work to muffle the noise.
Some Internet users traced her school life and went as far as posting her personal information and other private data on the Internet, triggering another dispute about infringements on her privacy.
Calling her the ''loser nyeo'' (girl), they also posted numerous harsh comments and parodies taking a stab at her, including a photo of actor Tom Cruise with a caption ''Tomc Loser.''
On Thursday, she posted a long letter on her school's community site apologizing for her remark.
''I really want to say sorry for those who are damaged and infuriated about what I said. I was reckless,'' she said.
She reaffirmed that she just read what was written in the script, including the word, ''loser.''
''The controversial word 'loser' was written by Misuda script writers. I was not obliged to follow the script. But the female students, including myself, were so nervous and mostly spoke as written in the script,'' she said.
She said that she is having a hard time because of the dissemination of her personal information and harsh comments about her. ''My family and friends are having a really difficult time because of me,'' she said.
KBS has also been under attack for days.
Netizens slammed KBS for failing to edit the controversial part before airing the previously-taped program. They complained that the nation's largest broadcasting firm is using guests for its ''noise marketing'' and intentionally broadcasting sensational contents for higher viewer ratings and publicity.
In the meantime, an official of the Press Arbitration Commission told a local daily that one of the guests on the Misuda program has filed a complaint with the commission, demanding that KBS pay 10 million won ($8,300) to compensate the psychological damage she sustained.
The official declined to identify her, but said the complaint was about the remark involving ''height.''
Misuda features a panel of foreign women residing in Korea who discuss their experiences and cultures in a talk show format in Korean.