Men’s magazine Maxim Korea has been under fire for the past couple of weeks after it revealed its September issue that featured actor Kim Byung Ok in a photo shoot centered on crime. Specifically, its back cover image portrayed the actor smoking next to a car that has its trunk open and a woman’s tied up legs falling out of it.
With the photo, Maxim Korea also included the caption: “So girls like the ‘bad guy’ type? Here’s a true bad guy. It’s to die for, isn’t it?”
Korean netizens first voiced anger over the September issue, saying it glorified violence against women. Maxim Korea tried to explain that it was only aiming to express crime in a stylized way, not beautify sexual assault.
Despite the magazine’s explanation, the controversy continued and the international community took notice as well, with Cosmopolitan UK and Maxim U.S., condemning Maxim Korea’s September issue. Additionally, a petition through Avaaz.org has collected over 10,000 signatures in support of recall and a cease of circulation of the the issue.
In response to the growing criticism, Maxim Korea has issued an apology through an official statement, today, September 4, and has promised to recall the September issue. In the statement, Maxim Korea reaffirmed that it wasn’t the magazine’s intent to beautify violence, but it takes full responsibility for the inappropriate photo and caption. It also stated the revenue already generated from the sale of the September issue will be donated to women’s rights groups and used to help prevent sexual violence.