Some of her liberal fans linked Moon's exemplary deeds to her grandfather, a teacher-turned-political prisoner. Ryu Nak-jin, who died of old age in 2005, was a pro-North Korea guerrilla fighter operating around Gwangju, a traditional progressive stronghold, before he was jailed at the end of the Korean War. He was released but imprisoned again on charges of spying for North Korea in 1971 when then authoritarian government of Park Chung-hee apprehended more than 150 such suspected spies. He was released on a special amnesty in 1999.
Moon rarely speaks of her grandfather, but once asked by reporters of her donations, she said: "My parents are troubled that I am making a lot of money at a young age. And they say we shouldn't use it haplessly. I am following my father's and mother's will."
Some critics suspect a masked ideological campaign behind the donations. Ji Man-won, an ultra conservative military critic, wrote in his blog (www.systemclub.co.kr) that Moon serves as partisan propaganda material for leftists.
"Not only do they beautify the deeds with videos and messages on the Internet, but they are also playing at a kind of conspiracy. There is a hidden message to sublimate a non-converted Communist prisoner into a unification activist," Jin wrote.
Jin's blog fanned vicious comments on the Web, such as, "It is only an image-making stunt to raise her pay," or, "She pretends to donate anonymously as the only good girl."
Robert has added some more information on Ji and some context for his comments in a comment to my earlier post. Gusts of Popular Feeling put up a post of its own on the topic this morning, as did Ask a Korean!, so give them both a look.
Anyway, this all brings up a really good point raised in earlier articles; what kind of organization is The Community Chest that it would divulge the identity of an anonymous donor, especially when that donor is that charity's largest? And even when it knew the kinds of problems the revelation would cause?
The Community Chest said Moon's mother had personally called and asked her daughter's name be withheld, anticipating that good deeds can draw verbal attacks when publicized. As phones kept ringing and other stars were wrongfully targeted online, however, the organization decided to identify Moon, said Yu Soo-kyung, its spokesperson.
"She did it out of good will, but some people don't see it as it is but twist it," Yu said. "We are embarrassed."
Classless. Time to cross that organization off my list, then.
I'm curious if anyone knows any examples of celebrities hitting back against out-of-control netizens. We know the destructive power of these cyberbullies, sure, about how they can put people out of business and ruin careers, and how they all-too-frequently lead people to suicide. But you'd have to think enough people hate these internet whack-jobs to provoke somebody to play the hero and put the spotlight on these hateful, malicious cowards. I think my publicist would be frustrated with my lack of restraint if stuff like this started happening. And Christ, don't even get me started on the paparazzi. Thing is, somebody who went after netizens would probably come under some fire for threatening the hallowed institution of "citizen journalism" so cherished around here.