Photo: Protesters in front of Moon Jae-in's residence. Credit: Yonhap.
After his term, former president Moon Jae-in 문재인 said he wished to be a “forgotten man.” Unfortunately, the far-right Youtubers have not forgotten him.
Ever since Moon retired to his residence in the small rural village of Pyeongsan, Gyeongsangnam-do Province 경상남도 평산, hundreds of right wing online brownshirts had occupied the street in front of his house, using high-powered speakers to play incredibly loud music and a stream of swear words. After one of them threatened the former president and the First Lady Kim Jeong-suk 김정숙 and pulled a knife on their staff, the Presidential Security Service 대통령 경호처 expanded the protective zone for Moon’s residence on August 25, allowing protests but without the loudspeakers or vulgarity.
Journalists from Hankook Ilbo 한국일보 observed these protests for a month. The Youtubers broadcast their activities live for six hours a day, every day - usually from 9 a.m. to noon, then from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The noise from their loudspeakers reached up to 105 decibels, similar to the noise level of a running train which is far above the noise ordinance limit of 65 decibels.
In addition to the stream of insults (“Sell your wife, Moon Jae-in. We will buy her for KRW 50k” was one of the few that could be printed in a newspaper article), the Youtubers would grab and harass the passers-by, calling them “communists” if they refused to agree that Moon was a communist spy.
Many of the Youtubers were people in the margins, relying on Youtube superchat to earn money. The Hankook Ilbo report noted that several of them were living off welfare payments until they began taking money from their Youtube viewers - typically between KRW 8m to 15m (USD 6.5k to 11k) a month.
But not everyone in front of Moon’s residence is downtrodden: An Jeong-kwon 안정권 used to run his far-right Youtube channel with his sister An Su-gyeong 안수경, who later became a presidential staffer for Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열. (An Su-gyeong resigned after her employment at the presidential office was revealed.) Several of the Youtubers flashed their invitations to the inauguration.