Recently, controversy has arisen over a YouTuber filming Korean Americans on the streets of Koreatown without their permission.
The YouTuber has been filming Korean Americans’ faces and even their license plates, posting these reactions on YouTube.
In particular, he has filmed Koreans at locations such as the LA Consulate General, the Korean American Federation, Zion Market, Western Discount Department Store, Kim’s Home Center, A-ju Realty, Inc., Ariana Hair Boutique, and Ssooniestyle hair shop. He even filmed Koreans in line at the LA Consulate General and disrupted the business of Chef Kang Korean Taco on Wilshire Boulevard by filming Koreans eating at the restaurant without permission.
Despite protests from the staff and customers he filmed, he remained undeterred. LAPD officers, responding to calls, took no action. “I have the right to film in public,” the YouTuber told the officers.
He cites his First Amendment right to film in public, aligning with his channel’s name, which emphasizes freedom of expression. For instance, he persisted in filming an official from A-ju Realty, Inc. near 6th Street. The man in the video inquired, “Who are you?” and “What are you filming?”
The YouTuber chuckled, remarking, “Now this person wants to know who I am.” He retorted, “What’s wrong, are you on drugs?”
At Arianna Hair Boutique on Wilshire Boulevard, he deceived a questioner. When asked, “What are you filming?” he responded, “I’m an investigator. Get six feet away from me.”
Male employees at a hair salon near 6th Street were also recorded. “They were filming not only our business that day but also Korean Americans walking down the street,” Kyumin Cho, a manager at the hair salon, told the Korea Daily. He added, “We didn’t even realize the video was posted on YouTube.” Western Department Store also features in the video.
“He filmed not only Koreans passing by outside the parking lot with their faces covered by masks, but also their license plates,” said Peter Yoo, a representative of Yoo Western Jewelry. “Even as the Korean Americans asked him not to film, he kept laughing and asserting his right,” he explained.
The YouTuber has been active across Los Angeles, filming people in public without consent and posting their reactions on YouTube.
Disturbingly, his videos of Korean Americans often include derogatory comments, with examples like “Keep up the good work, educate these clowns. Good work Silenceboy (ID-Brian Sanchez)”, “Asians submit to white power (Hardcold-alquan)”, and “Pyongyang Pete can’t help himself… (MrElaboy)” among others.
Lawyers suggest a civil suit against the YouTuber might be viable. “Filming in public is legal, but unauthorized filming of certain public figures can be problematic,” said Won Gi Lee, a lawyer specializing in criminal law. Keith Kim, another lawyer in the same field, added that while freedom of expression exists and there’s generally no expectation of privacy in public, prosecuting under criminal law might be challenging. However, civil lawsuits, like class actions relating to publicity rights, could be pursued.
A Reddit post warns locals about the YouTuber in Koreatown, advising, “If you encounter this man, don’t engage; he merely seeks a reaction.”
BY YEOL JANG [Yeol email@example.com]