Film Director Lee Hyun Joo was found guilty of sexual assault, against another female director. She was sentenced to 3 years probation, with 2 years in prison if she violates this probation and 40 hours of mandatory sexual violence education.
Upon hearing about this, Women in Film Korea has rescinded the award they gave her in 2017, citing a violation of the organization’s goals.
Lee Hyun Joo has since come out and released a statement about the incident, apologizing for inconveniencing everyone around her.
“I have to apologize for the inconvenience caused by this incident against everyone who helped make my movie and took care of it. It was hard for me to speak out about this case during the investigation and trial.”
She revealed that she is a lesbian and how she was unable to reveal the fact to the public due to the negative public stigma.
“I haven’t been able to tell anyone around me about my homosexuality. There are some people who are confident at expressing this but I am not one of them. When looking at the sexual minorities in society, I couldn’t come out. The only thing I could do was show what I believed in, in my movie.”
Even though she has already received her sentence, she still believes she is not guilty.
“The victim was someone who I knew and one of the few people who knew I was a lesbian. We were drinking together back in April 2015 with 3 males and she got drunk.
Even though I was busy with editing Our Love Story, I brought her to a motel to rest and stayed with her at the request of the other 3 men.
After she woke up, she cried a lot and revealed her troubles to me. After comforting her, we naturally progressed to having sexual relations. I thought there was consent because of the situation at the time. She was confused when she woke up the next day and I explained to her what happened.”
Later that day, she received a call from the director’s boyfriend, and told him their sexual relations were consensual. But the next month, she was told the director was suing her.
During her trials, Lee Hyun Joo claimed she faced prejudice due to her sexuality.
“The judge said my claims made sense but then he said things like ‘if you’re ruled to be innocent wouldn’t that make the victim also seem like a homosexual?’, ‘isn’t it nice for a lesbian to see a naked woman?’, and ‘prove that you aren’t a man’. We prepared 40 pages of reasons the result should be appealed and asked for the investigation to occur without prejudice, but that didn’t happen.”
In the end, Lee Hyun Joo accepted the sentence, even though she does not agree with it and apologized for causing a scandal.