Angry S. Korean fans launch SNS onslaught on Canadian skater

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-02-14 17:23 Updated : 2018-02-14 17:23
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[This screenshot was captured from Kim Boutin's Instagram]

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Aju News) --  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called for an end to online threats targeting athletes Wednesday as Canadian speed skater Kim Boutin, the bronze medalist in the women's 500-meter short track event, became the target of a concerted onslaught by angry South Korean sports fans.

South Korean favorite Choi Min-jeong finished second in the women's 500-meter short track finals on Tuesday, but she was disqualified after judges said she had touched Boutin's knee while trying to make a move on the inside.

The 23-year-old Quebec athlete became the target of uncontrolled online abuse with her social media account bombarded with thousands of posts from over-enthusiastic South Korean fans, after photographs of Boutin pushing Choi away during the race were released.

[This screenshot was captured from Kim Boutin's Instagram]

The messages left by South Korean fans in English and Korean were very aggressive and threatening. Some made curses and death threats using vulgar words on Boutin's Instagram, forcing the scared woman to turn her social media account private.

IOC recognized the situation on Boutin's Instagram and stressed that everyone should respect athletes and their performances. "We occasionally, unfortunately, do have these issues. It's something we don't approve of," IOC spokesman Marc Adams told reporters, adding such online threats go against the Olympic spirit of friendship and fair sportsmanship.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement that the Speed Skating Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are looking into the threats. "The health, safety and security of all our team members is our top priority and as such we are working closely with Speed Skating Canada, our security personnel and the RCMP."

The online attack on Boutin sparked reasonable criticism at home. "This is an international disgrace," wrote an online user "skywalker9" from South Korea's second-largest web portal Daum. Another user "Amasuki" said, "Do people have heads as their accessories? Stop making threats you idiots!"