SEOUL -- Womad, an online community of radical feminists, topped Tuesday's daily trending keyword list on South Korea's biggest search portal Naver after police launched an investigation to identify people who leaked the pictures of a male nude model taken during a college nude sketch class.
A set of photographs showing the model's face and genitalia were uploaded onto Womad's community site on May 1. They were allegedly taken at a nude sketch class at Hongik University's fine arts college in Seoul.
Tons of comments mocking the model followed with many users sexually harassing him or making jokes.
The original post was deleted about a day later, but screenshots and comments were shared through other online communities and online messengers, fanning public anger and calls for legal punishment. Police intervened at the request of faculty members who had tried to secure confession from students in an unsuccessful internal probe.
Hongik University apologized to the model in a statement posted on Facebook and promised to seize all smartphones from students during nude sketch classes. However, it could not soothe the anger of the male model who was shocked for becoming an online mockery.
At a radio talk show on Tuesday, Ha young-eun, who heads the Korea Association of Nude Models, said the male model could not sleep and eat because of an emotional shock and fears that his family or friends may see his nude pictures.
"The model complained the world was being too cruel to him," Ha said, adding he expressed a strong desire to exile.
Womad, an active community known for female chauvinism and misandry, faced widespread criticism as many people think the group's action went far beyond the boundary of an online satire.
"It's a common rule that no photographs should be taken during nude sketch lessons. It's also a common sense that no one should become the target of an online mockery for being a nude model," Jung Goo-jeong, a 35-year-old chef who studied arts throughout her life, told Aju News.
Womad forked off from "Megalia", a radical feminist website that closed down in 2016. It paints itself as a community advocating misandry and feminism, and members have revealed personal information on homosexual individuals or leaked the photographs of naked men.
Womad's cyber bullying is suspected of playing a role in the death of Jonghyun, a boy band SHINee member who killed himself in December last year.
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