A video of a "morale-boosting performance" involving a skimpily-clad fitness model dancing and posing on stage in front of South Korean soldiers has caused an online uproar, leading to Korea's Capital Defense Command (CDC) to issue an official apology on Monday (Aug 20).
Several netizens were angered at the performance as they saw it as a sexual objectification of women.
In the video that was uploaded onto YouTube on Aug 15, the woman is seen making suggestive poses to K-pop music, which elicited deafening roars from the soldiers.
The fitness model, who was also a gym coach, told the host that she was 21 years old, and more screams were heard from the audience.
The video has garnered 185,308 views as of 12.57pm on Aug 21, accompanied with several comments criticising the performance and how "horrible" it is to think that "your future husband would have done something like this in the army".
Another netizen questioned if this is right and said that "it's really shocking".
According to The Korea Herald, by 5pm on Monday, more than 15,000 signatures were obtained in an online petition asking for the presidential office to ban future military performances.
However, another petition opposed it and asked the government to "not be swayed by feminist groups and restore Army to its natural state." The latter had garnered less than 10 signatories.
The presidential office is required to issue a formal response if the online petition posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website garners more than 200,000 signatures within 30 days.
After the public's furore, the CDC issued an official apology on Monday, claiming that the controversial performance was planned and hosted by a private organisation which the Army had no previous knowledge of.
According to the CDC, the fitness model’s performance was merely a part of a package that included traditional Korean music, a magic show, and singing.
They also vowed to thoroughly examine future performances in advance to prevent a repeat of a similar incident.