An issue many have with Anti-English Spectrum is its past use of racist language, such as referring to foreigners as "Black pigs," saying that foreigners engage in "sexual molestation," and that they "target children."to get Naver to remove offensive from the AES website. I've already given my opinion on this effort, but for the sake of brevity I'll just say that it's akin to having the sirens go full blast on the way to a raid.
Another AES action that has gone further than your friendly neighborhood watch involves them engaging in types of vigilantism. The group's administrator admits to stalking foreigners. "Whenever I have to prepare a policy report or embark on the pursuit of an illegal foreign lecturer, then I end up working until dawn because I throw myself into it, braving fire and water. Then because I have to be at work in the morning, I don't get any sleep, and therefore am physically very tired." They have also stored information and photographs on their website of non-Koreans they have followed.
As for charges of racism, Anti-English Spectrum's host Naver.com, said they have received no complaints. The PR department for Korea's biggest portal stated that even though the cafe is rather large -- having 17,000 members -- prior to being contacted by The Korea Herald a representative said she was unaware of the group. When asked about the "black pig" comment, the representative stated that "in this case 'black pig' is definitely a racist comment."
"It is hard to detect all offensive comments. What's more important here is the measure we take against such actions ... If anyone reports to us about wrongdoings that are going on in this cafe, we will take measures and give sanctions to them."
As I've stated here and here, Ms Vandom and ATEK in particular should be using their clout to go to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to get AES investigated as a hate group in order to erode their clout with lazy legislators and sloppy journalists.
Anyway, here's an excerpt from the KT piece:
Andrea Vandom sent a letter to the company's CEO claiming that the online community, which is also called the "Citizen's Movement to Expel Illegal Teachers of Foreign Languages" with over 17,000 members, violates Korean Law and Naver blog's operating principles.One thing I don't like about the Korea Herald article is the way the author subtly makes the jump from talking about "illegal English teachers" to English teachers in general, a blurring that is reflected even in the materials of the anti-AES posts on various blogs. This is ironic because the conflation of "illegal" English teachers with English teachers in general is one of the complaints about AES.
"Considering NHN's obvious commitment to being an international and diverse corporation, it is very difficult to understand how NHN can offer its services as a communications network to a racial hate group," she said in the letter. Vandom has already filed a petition with the Constitutional Court against E-2 visa regulations that require native English teacher applicants to undergo AIDS/HIV and drug tests.
In the letter, she requested the NHN to remove articles saying foreigners are targeting Korean children in order to molest them and that some foreigners are seeking to infect Koreans with AIDS or other diseases.
She also called for deletion of content that involves vigilante activities such as the tracking or stalking of foreigners and those promoting racial hatred.
And frankly, I don't like the way this is all getting muddier and muddier. On the one hand we have lazy journalists apparently reprinting wholesale the claims of AES founder Mr Lee (I say "apparently" because it's possible AES and the lazy journalists are both getting their "information" from a third source), and now on the other side we have journalists in a different camp parroting blog posts opposed to AES.
Sigh. This is all the more reason to take it to the NHRCK and have them make a judgement: It will have weight, it will be authoritatively conclusive, and it will be clear.