South Korean Filmmakers Accuse Two Former Presidents of Blacklisting

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South Koreans rally against former President Park Geun-hye in this 2016 file photo.

Local celebrities have requested a prosecution probe into a government blacklist dating as far back as 2009.

Outrage over reports of the existence of an “artist blacklist” had been central to the unprecedented impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Now, local creatives and artists are taking action against Park and another former head of state, Lee Myung-bak, fling complaints against them over censorship allegations.

Top South Korean filmmakers, actors and TV personalities have also filed a case with the Supreme Prosecutors' Office of the Republic of Korea, part of the Ministry of Justice, requesting an investigation into whether the former Lee administration indeed ordered the national spy agency to blackball industryites during the time it was in power from 2008 until 2013. Park is already being probed after her impeachment.

The group of artists filing the complaint includes veteran screen star Moon Sung-keun (National Security), popular actress Kim Gyu-ri (Revivre), TV personality/comedienne Kim Mi-hwa and filmmaker Min Byung-hun (Love Never Fails), among others.

The legal action took place shortly after a task force of Korea's National Intelligence Service announced earlier this month that the spy body was suspected of creating a blacklist during Lee's conservative rule in order to oust left-leaning artists from the arts/entertainment industry.

The list allegedly ordered by Lee featured 82 names, including those of filmmakers, actors, comedians, novelists and singers — similar to the blacklist compiled under the former Park administration, which included the likes of Oldboy helmer Park Chan-wook.

The artists are seeking to take legal action against both Park and Lee, according to their attorney in a press meeting Monday in Seoul.