Korea Times

Zara’s Korea chief attacked for ridiculing anti-Park protesters

Lee Bong-jin's comments go viral, but he insists he didn't mean to attack protesters

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 11:10am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 11:16am

By Park Si-soo

Multinational fashion house Zara’s Korean office chief has come under fire for criticising people who rose up against scandal-plagued President Park Geun-hye.

According to reports, Lee Bong-jin, chief of ZARA Korea, said during a recent public lecture: “When you took to streets (to protest), 49 million people who didn’t join the rally were doing something for themselves,” referring to the mass anti-Park rally in Seoul on November 12 that drew a million people out of the country’s 50 million population.

“Your future will be shaped based upon what you do now,” he said. “Political events such as Donald Trump’s election as US President don’t affect your lives. What you need to do now is just study.”

His comments can be interpreted to mean anti-president protesters were wasting their time on the streets and, rather than joining the rally, sitting at a desk to study would be a better option for students who want to have good future.

His comments have gone viral on social media, sparking huge public fury against Lee and his company. There are signs of a boycott of Zara products.

Amid controversy, Lee said he did not intend to attack anti-Park protesters.

“My intention was, that in this chaotic situation, we should be more dedicated to what we are supposed to do - studying for students and working for workers,” Lee said. “I agree that we are in a very unfortunate situation.”