Archer An San competes in women's individual archery of the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. (Yonhap)
A group of progressive lawmakers have condemned misogynistic attacks being leveled at a female South Korean archer now competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
An San, the double gold medalist who will vie for her third gold in women's individual archery on Friday, has recently become a target of misogynistic attacks for her short haircut.
Some male internet users flooded An's social media account with hate speech, taking issue with her past use of online slang terms, deemed misandrist by anti-feminist groups. They also made a flood of calls to the Korea Archery Association, demanding An's medals be returned.
"Unilaterally defining (another person's) thoughts based on (his or her) appearance or origin and targeting certain thoughts for indiscriminate criticism constitute an extreme case of senselessness and is tantamount to a hate crime," Rep. Woo Won-shik of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) wrote on his social media account a day earlier.
Kwon Ji-woong, a spokesman for DP presidential contender Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, also condemned the online attacks in a news release the previous day. "Having a short haircut and being a woman cannot be a basis for criticism. (An San) should be protected from these unfair attacks."
Rep. Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive minor Justice Party also joined in, uploading an image of her with short hair on her social media account.
"I will root for archer An San and stand with her on the 'short cut line,'" Sim said, urging the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee to sternly respond to any "unfair pressure" on athletes.
As the controversy continued, thousands of posts were uploaded on the online bulletin of the Korea Archery Association, calling on the organization to provide protection to An. (Yonhap)