South Korean ambassador to France Mo Chul-min, who is suspected of being involved with the blacklisting of artists, enters the independent counsel team’s office in southern Seoul for questioning on Thursday. Photo: Seo Jae-hoon

South Korea Investigates Alleged Artist Blacklist

South Korean officials are investigating allegations that impeached president Park Geun-hye’s administration created a blacklist of nine thousand artists who were denied support from the government due to their political beliefs, Kim Tong-Hyung of the Washington Times reports.

Among those on the blacklist are film director Park Chan-wook—Oldboy (2003)—and poet Ko Un, along with actors, theater directors, painters, and musicians. Artists on the list were considered ineligible for government programs and were denied access to state facilities.

Park, who was impeached on December 9 for extorting money and favors from companies, has been accused of censorship on several occasions. The mayor of Gwangju recently admitted to being pressured by the government to remove a painting of Park from a 2014 art fair.

South Korea’s ambassador to France, Mo Chul-min, who served as senior secretary for education and culture in 2013 and 2014, was brought in for questioning today. Former culture minister Yoo Jinryong, who resigned in 2014, confirmed that the blacklist was passed to the ministry through Mo and another presidential secretary.

Cho Yoon-sun, the current culture minister who worked as Park’s senior secretary for political affairs from June 2014 to May 2015, said that she was not involved in making the list and has never seen such a document.