Korean Air Heiress' 'Office Rage' Scandal Deepens

  • By Gwak Rae-geon

    April 16, 2018 12:56

    More revelations are emerging about the fit of "office rage" thrown by Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-min, the airline chairman's younger daughter.

    Cho, who allegedly threw a water bottle in the face of an advertising staffer in a hissy fit last month, has apologized on Facebook and taken a leave of absence, but public outrage continues to mount.

    Cho fled the country last Thursday, when the scandal first broke, only to return early Sunday morning after determining that her prolonged absence would result in an even worse public relations fiasco for the flag carrier. Confronted by reporters, Cho denied throwing the bottle in the staffer's face but added, "I apologize for my foolish and careless behavior."

    Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-min arrives at Incheon International Airport on Sunday, in this TV grab from MBC.

    Matters got worse when an audio file was posted anonymously on the Internet last Saturday which sounds like Cho screaming uncontrollably at another worker for four or five minutes.

    When Korean Air said it cannot confirm whether the voice is Cho's, the person who posted the file published a portion of his Korean Air ID and name card and said, "The audio file is of Cho's voice. This was not just a one-off incident either. She even screamed in rage at her seniors at work."

    Advertising industry insiders also shared their nasty experiences with Cho's temper.

    The continuing revelations prompted Cho to send an e-mail to the airline's staff and said, "Due to my passion for my job, I was unable to control myself and overreacted. I will be responsible for my behavior and subject myself to any form of public criticism."

    This is not the first time that apparently congenital anger management problems in the owner's family have landed the carrier in trouble. In 2014 her sister, Cho Hyun-ah, made worldwide headlines with the "nut rage" scandal, when she assaulted the purser on a flight and forced the plane to turn back to the gate after she had been served nuts in a bag instead of a bowl.

    Police have started investigating Cho Hyun-min for assault. "We plan to question as many people as possible," a police spokesman said. According to police, around a dozen people were present during the incident. The question is whether Cho actually screamed uncontrollably and whether she threw the bottle in the staffer's face, as witnesses claim, or on the floor, as Korean Air insists.

    Police have so far been unable to contact the victim.

    Meanwhile, more than 90 postings on the Cheong Wa Dae website make various accusations against Cho Hyun-min demanding punishment, or calling for the "Korean" to be dropped from the airline's name.

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