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Dispute Arise Over Suit Against Actress Opposing US Beef Import

Politicians and some civic groups are adding fuel to the public dispute over the suit against actress Kim Min-sun, who allegedly "misled the public to boycott U.S. beef consumption."

Conservative politicians accused her of making ignorant comments while liberals defended her for saying what she believed in.


Rep. Chun Yu-ok of the ruling Grand National Party wrote on her Web site that Kim should be held accountable for what she had said. "I respect the diversity of ideas but when a public figure like Kim makes such an open comment, it should be based on facts. She has a social responsibility to those she speaks to."

The conservative civic group "Liberal Progressive Association" urged Kim to make an apology. "This case shows how much a business corporation can be damaged due to the groundless rumors a single person spreads. We hope Kim will step forward and do what she has to do," it stated.

Liberals, on the other hand, said the suit itself is ridiculous and called Kim a scapegoat of the conservatives and businessmen.

Choi Jae-cheon, lawyer and former lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Party, said there is no reason Kim should be accused.

"There were many other people who made similar comments and A-Meat (which filed the suit) said nothing about them. Kim is a scapegoat: they blame her for everything," he wrote on his Web site.


Online World Also Sizzling


The online world is also sizzling over whether Kim is to blame for the sharp fall of U.S. beef sales.

"Celebrities should watch what they are saying because it can always be used against them," online author Bloggerwide said, defending the U.S. beef importer.

Blogger YunseonAppa wrote, "Does A-Meat have enough evidence and statistics to prove that Kim has adversely affected their business? This is just another publicity game for the company."

Another blogger, Hanbameuiyeonyegasection, wrote, "Does A-Meat think the public is foolish enough to turn away from cheap U.S. beef just because an actress said so? A-Meat is just underestimating the public."

On Tuesday, Park Chang-kyu of U.S. beef importer A-Meat said Kim had caused the company to shut down 47 franchise stores nationwide, inflicting more than 2 billion won in losses when the actress wrote on her Web site that she'd "rather drink up potassium cyanide than eat U.S. beef and bones tainted with bovine spongiform encephalopathy virus" in May last year.

Her comments allegedly inspired other celebrities to speak up against the Lee Myung-bak administration's U.S. beef resumption. Park asked for 300 million won in compensation.

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Tags: court / legal issues
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