Seoul Philharmonic’s President Accused of Sexual Harassment

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

Park Hyun-jung, the first female president of South Korea’s most renowned orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, is under public scrutiny after her employees accused her of sexual harassment, verbal abuse and unethical hiring decisions, according to reports.

Seventeen of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s employees testified in the petition that Park has constantly abused them since taking the prestigious position early last year. Of those testimonies, one included a murky incident at a public dinner gathering in October last year at which Park, after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, allegedly tried to touch a male employee’s genital area by pulling him by his necktie.

The petition also said that Park, 52, once told a female employee during a meeting that she would “do well as a hostess” at a bar. She has also told two other female employees at the same meeting to sit next to important male guests and accommodate them like “bar girls.”

In addition, Park repeatedly used profanities to her employees and threatened to make deductions from their paychecks when and if the company suffers a fiscal loss. She also hired and promoted select individuals, such as her friends’ children and former students.

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is a city-funded organization, which was founded in 1948. Park became its first female president in February of last year when she vowed to serve the organization with “transparency and reasonable measures for a meaningful social cause,” according to South Korea’s Newsis.

Park, who received her doctorate degree in sociology from Harvard, had no previous experience in working for performing arts agencies or organizations as she spent the majority of her professional career in customer service and marketing departments of South Korea’s conglomerate Samsung’s financial and insurance institutions.