|KBS Courtesy of KBS|
By Park Ji-won
The police are investigating a KBS comedian for his alleged involvement in the installation of a hidden camera disguised as a mobile phone charger in a women's bathroom of the broadcaster. His name has not been made public due to privacy concerns.
He has been working for KBS as a comedian since 2018 mainly for its flagship stand-up comedy show "Gag Concert." He debuted as a comedian in 2018 and signed a one-year contract with KBS as a freelance comedian back then.
KBS claimed he is not a full-time employee, threatening to take legal action against any media outlets that identify the suspect as a KBS employee.
Feeling pressure, the comedian made his Instagram account private on Tuesday.
He also voluntarily appeared for police questioning over the charges of violating the special law on sexual violence on Monday. He did not reply to questions asking for confirmation of the case.
He was questioned days after police started their investigation after a KBS producer found the illegal device on May 28. The building where the device was installed has been used by production staff of the show and many celebrities.
Criticism surged against the suspect and KBS as the country is facing a series of sexual violence cases such as sex exploitation cases with encrypted Telegram group chats collectively called the "Nth Room" and hidden cameras in women's restrooms. In the Nth Room case, a group of men extorted women and girls into making sexually exploitive videos and distributed them through the online messaging app. Police and prosecutors have been investigating the cases, arresting key members of the group.
A women's rights group criticized KBS for distancing itself from the comedian to avoid responsibility.
"The company should take responsibility to resolve the problem that occurred within their facilities even if it was not conducted by a worker under their supervision," Womenlink said in a statement.
Experts claimed the suspect may have wanted to get attention from the public or raise money from selling voyeur videos of female celebrities.
"In (hidden) websites like the dark web or Nth Room, there has been a new category called 'hidden cam in restroom'…. This means there is a certain subculture of people who enjoy voyeur videos as part of entertainment or humor… If the person is a comedian who found it interesting as humor, he may have wanted to get attention by uploading voyeur videos," Lee Soo-jung, a renowned criminal psychology professor at Kyonggi University, said during a radio interview, Wednesday.
She added that the suspect, if he were suffering financial difficulties, may have aimed to blackmail female celebrities to sell their footage online or through the Nth Room.