Heekyong Yang –
A chat app where South Koreans can anonymously dish the dirt on their misbehaving bosses and colleagues is belatedly stirring the country’s #MeToo movement, shedding new light on harassment in the heavily male-dominated corporate culture.
Prompted by a recent wave of complaints about workplace misconduct — including a groping allegation made by a South Korean public prosecutor last month — the app Blind has added a new feature: a message board dedicated to a rising number of #MeToo stories.
“We thought the prosecutor going public would put fresh momentum in the #MeToo movement in South Korea and our #MeToo board was definitely inspired by her action,” Kim Sungkyum, co-founder at Blind’s creator TeamBlind said.
Koreans are wary of being whistleblowers about harassment at family-run conglomerates or chaebol that dominate South Korean business.
Their big fear: the companies will turn on them for rocking the boat and they will be victimized again.
Some 61 per cent of South Korean respondents working at private companies said they would bypass in-house whistleblower hotlines, saying they didn’t trust their organisation to keep complaints confidential, according to a survey by consulting firm EY.
That was significantly higher than the Asia-Pacific average of 37 per cent. Instead, South Koreans are turning to Blind, which now has over a million users in the world’s most wired country.
“Employees are reluctant to use internal bulletins for fear of reprisals which is part of our country’s corporate culture,” said a banker at a South Korean state run bank who uses the app. “I think Blind can make people talk more freely, which can’t be controlled by their companies.”
In less than 24 hours after the launch of the #MeToo board on Blind more than 500 posts were uploaded, making the app intermittently unavailable due to heavy traffic, the app’s operator says.
By Thursday, the board had swelled with more than 1,600 posts, prompting conversations about workplace misconduct ranging from cracking jokes to making unwelcome advances. — Reuters
Heekyong Yang –