AP

S. Korean garlic video ad roasted over purported obscenity

Aug 2, 2022, 9:24 AM | Updated: Aug 3, 2022, 4:30 am

Bulbs of garlic are displayed at a shop in a traditional market in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, A...

Bulbs of garlic are displayed at a shop in a traditional market in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. A rural South Korean town is hot water over its video ad on garlic that some farmers say is obscene and has even sexually objectified the agricultural product. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A rural South Korean town is getting roasted over its video ad on garlic that some farmers say stinks of obscenity and has even sexually objectified the agricultural product.

The controversy surrounds a 30-second video that had been posted on a YouTube channel for Hongseong County, a small central-west South Korean town of about 100,000 people known for its local “Hongsan” garlic, for about two years.

The video shows a woman touching the thigh of a man named “Hongsan” with a full garlic head mask and saying words like “very thick” and “hard” to apparently describe the quality of the local garlic. It’s also a parody of a famous scene from a 2004 hit Korean movie titled “Once Upon a Time in High School.”

The spicy ad, which reportedly generated about 190,000 views, had been largely kept underground, but began to take root in the larger public when it was aired on electronic billboards at a Seoul express bus terminal and a downtown street in the central city of Daejeon last month ahead of the garlic’s release.

One farmer who saw the video notified some farmers’ groups, while South Korean media also began reporting about it, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths.

“We can’t repress our astonishment,” said a joint statement issued by the local branches of two major farmers’ organizations — the Korean Peasants League and the Korean Women Peasants Association. “The video offended the people who watched it and dealt a big blow to the image of the agricultural product that farmers have laboriously grown.”

Calling the video “suggestive” and “inappropriate,” the statement said it “sexually objectified” garlic.

The farmers’ groups asked Hongseong to apologize, punish those responsible for the video production and formulate steps on how to prevent similar incidents. Shin Ji Youn, an official at the Korean Women Peasants Association, said the farmers’ groups asked Hongseong to respond to their requests by Aug. 10.

Hongseong officials said Wednesday they’ve withdrawn the video from their YouTube channel and had stopped airing it on the billboards last week. The county hasn’t issued any official statement on the issue, and officials said they are discussing how to respond to the farmers’ requests.

County officials said they formally changed the name of their local garlic to “Hongseong” after their county name in January.

Many South Koreans believe garlic, one of the essential ingredients in Korean cuisine, boost stamina. Some think it can improve men’s sexual functions as well.

During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the country’s women’s curling team earned the nickname of “Garlic Girls” — four of the team’s five members came from another rural town known for its own famed garlic — as they had a fairy-tale run to win the silver medal.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

1 day ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

1 day ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

2 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

4 days ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

5 days ago

S. Korean garlic video ad roasted over purported obscenity