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Yoon suffers yet another personnel controversy

Sister of controversial right-wing YouTuber quits presidential office

President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap)
President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap)


A sister of a far-right YouTuber staging abusive protests in front of former President Moon Jae-in’s residence offered to resign from the presidential office, adding yet another controversy to President Yoon Suk-yeol’s personnel management track record.

According to the presidential office on Wednesday, the official, surnamed Ahn, tendered her resignation shortly after her previous experience and connection to a YouTuber were revealed.

She formerly worked on Vellado, a video platform founded by her younger brother and far-right YouTuber Ahn Jung-kwon. She was also in charge of editing videos for Yoon’s presidential campaign last November.

Before offering her resignation, she belonged to a team that recorded Yoon’s movements with photos and videos and was in charge of editing videos.

Her younger brother has been causing a stir by demonstrating in front of former President Moon’s Yangsan residence since May, shouting all kinds of abusive language against Moon and his wife via a car loudspeaker. All the videos posted on Ahn’s channel have been deleted since reports of his sister’s resignation.

The presidential office said Ahn‘s hiring had nothing to do with the conservative YouTube channel, adding that she has no involvement in her brother’s activities. “There‘s nothing we can confirm about the hiring process or anything like that,” a presidential official said on Wednesday.

Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the ruling People Power Party tried to defend Ahn, calling the criticism against her “guilt-by-association.” Ha wrote in a Facebook post on his page on the same day: “A sister is a sister and a brother is a brother. Why should a sister step down because her brother is making a fuss?”

However, the controversy is expected to continue, as the Yoon administration has already been embroiled in several controversies regarding its personnel.

Most recently, Yoon’s second cousin was found to have been working as a senior administrator equivalent to a post held by a grade three civil servant in the new presidential office. Before that, there was controversy around an acquaintance of Yoon and his wife accompanying them on their trip to the NATO summit in Madrid. In addition, many of the ministerial nominees nominated by Yoon were embroiled in personal scandals and allegations.

Whenever there were controversies surrounding personnel affairs, the presidential office has claimed there had been no legal wrongdoing.

Park Jie-won, a former head of the National Intelligence Service, said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning that Yoon’s office is “unaware of the seriousness of the problem.”

“One of the characteristics of Yoon’s government is that it does not distinguish between public and private affairs,” he said, adding the presidential office always says it is fine because it is legally okay.

Rep. Park Yong-jin of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea, also said in a radio interview the same day: “The presidential office asks, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ Even though things that are hard to understand are taking place.” Park attributed Yoon’s falling approval ratings to “people (who) have turned their backs” as a result of this behavior.

Political commentator Park Sang-byoung said Yoon’s personnel problems are a major factor leading to his declining ratings.

“The presidential office is the center of South Korea’s political power, whether the office admits this or not,” Park said, adding it should maintain fairness and transparency when hiring.

“People find it too absurd whenever they see such unfair hiring,” he said. “This, in the end, leads to distrust for the president and a decline in confidence in him.”



By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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