Professor Resigns after Criticizing Sewol Victims’ Families

The backlash to a professor’s controversial Facebook comments has been the most controversial news story on the Korean internet for days. Professor Kim Ho-wol at Hongdae University criticized the behavior of the families of victims in the Sewol sinking, who have joined protests and criticized official management of the disaster.

While the professor’s case seems to have ended with his resignation, police also investigated internet comments on Ilbe in the days after the disaster for insulting the victims.

Article from Hankyoreh:

‘The families act so entitled’ Professor Resigns over Incendiary Comments

(Reported by Hong Seok-jae) The Hongdae University adjunct professor who harshly criticized the families of Sewol victims submitted a letter of resignation on May 13th, considered to be an apology for his actions.

Professor Kim uploaded the following post to his Facebook on the 13th, ‘I submitted my letter of resignation today to the dean of the graduate school. I would like to let you know that from now on I will not be a university professor…I would like to voice my sincere apology once again to the families of the deceased. As I put myself and my affairs in order, I will make sure to go to the temple I attend and pray that the victims will quickly be returned to their families’ embrace.’ He added, ‘I ask you to please stop calling the university with messages of protest. I ask you to please stop threatening me and my family. I ask you also to please stop denigrating me, my family, my students, and many other students who are not related to me.”

On May 9th and earlier on April 29th, Kim controversially stated the following on his Facebook,”What is with these victims’ families acting so damn entitled? This is why they are called uncivilized.”, “Why should the government support a bunch of rude animals? Their favorite political party and civic groups should be helping them with every problem.”

The professor's posts on Facebook

The professor’s posts on Facebook

A flood of criticism followed, most of it through social media. On the day before Professor Kim submitted his letter of resignation, Hongdae University students called an all-university meeting attended by student groups, where they issued a public demand that, ‘this inhuman and immoral educator should no longer teach or lead Hongdae students. We demand that Professor Kim issue an immediate and sincere apology with no room for doubt and that he resign.’

On the day before his resignation, Professor Kim also stated on his Facebook, ‘I am deeply remorseful for having hurt the families of the victims with my ignorant and thoughtless remarks, I have destroyed my true purpose as a teacher of students, and am sorry that I wrote something that should never have been written…I have been punished for my actions and promise to not write or act in any way that would cause this to happen again.’ When his apologies could not satisfy critical public opinion, Professor Kim submitted his resignation.

Comments from Daum:


You say that you value the respect and reputation of your family, then what about the families of the victims and their pain? Are you saying they shouldn’t care about respect for their children? You are definitely a problem, but reading some of the hateful comments here, it looks like this message board has become a second Ilbe.


I expect to soon see an article about this guy joining the Saenuri Party


Don’t let him get retirement compensation, fire him. Garbage like you should have been on that boat when it sank.

미스터 해피:

This professor has no brains…says bullshit about the families… This bitch has no right to be a professor…


The professor is well on his way to the Blue House‘s press department… Will they scout him directly from the minor leagues?


He looks like a fool, trying to make a big deal out of his resignation. Aren’t you sorry to the students and school you humiliated? He acts like a certain Chicken president…and her Saenuri party…


Think about your children dying an unfair death, would you be polite? Civilized? Seriously. You’re the uncivilized freak here who doesn’t know what he’s doing.


I’m curious what temple would let you in to pray…


An adjunct professor is just someone who lectures for a year. He thought too much of himself and went too far. Apologize and live quietly. You’ve got to know what you did wrong.


I bet my left ball that this bastard is a Saenuri party member and an Ilbe user.


He’s bound for freaking Saenuri. [transl: using an insulting misspelling of Saenuri]


Why is he asking people to not treat him the same way he treated those families? Don’t you know that you have to treat others the way you want to be treated?

참죠 경제:

I don’t think you can call yourself an adjunct professor. You’re just like a day laborer. Go back to your real job.

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