Following the public uproar for jokingly likening the skin colour of a Nigerian student to charcoal, a Korean politician Kim Moo Sung has apologized. Moo-Sung, a front runner for the 2017 South Korean presidential elections and the leader of the country’s ruling conservative Saenuri Party issued the apology after public criticism over his comment.
“I failed to realise that showing friendliness this way could hurt someone’s feelings,” Moo Sung wrote on his Facebook page on Friday, December 18. “I am really sorry and there is no excuse. I sincerely apologise from the bottom of my heart”
Moo Sung made the comment while delivering coal briquettes to the needy in Seoul alongside a group of foreign exchange students earlier on Friday. The event was part of a charity programme which drew around 40 students from 27 countries as well as 50 young members of the Saenuri Party.
“Your face colour is the same as the briquettes’ colour,” the 64-year-old said to a Nigerian student while laughing.
The 26-year-old Nigerian student who is attending a local university on a South Korean government scholarship, Babalola Joshua Adekunie, said he did not take offence.
“I don’t give any special meaning to it,” Adekunie told local news outlet Focus News. “He said it jokingly. He was laughing. Personally I’m a black man… It’s nothing that I am ashamed of.”
When he was asked if he thought Kim should apologise to him, Adekunie replied in Korean: “Guenchanayo (No problem)”.