Another ferry ad to run, this time in the Washington Post

May 16, 2014

Less than a week ago, this full-page ad appeared in the New York Times. (Newsis)

By Jane Han

NEW YORK ― Less than a week after a full-page Sewol ad in the New York Times sparked debate in Korea and the U.S., another ad condemning the government of President Park Geun-hye was set to print in the Washington Post Friday.

The follow-up ad may come with some minor changes, but it will stick to the same general message ― that the Park administration handled the sunken ferry Sewol disaster all wrong.

Unlike the New York Times full-pager, details of the second ad have been kept strictly confidential, only among the individuals who participated in the crowd-funding campaign that raised more than $160,000, nearly triple the amount organizers initially set as their goal.

When the organizers ― a group of three Koreans in Los Angeles who remain anonymous ― launched the campaign, their original objective was to run a Sunday ad in the New York Times, which roughly costs around $58,000, to denounce the Korean government’s handling of the ferry tragedy.

But with 4,000-some participants, the fund quickly added up, surpassing the goal and now leaving leftover money for other options.

The Washington Post is their second campaign stop, but it is unclear what other plans these organizers and supporters ― largely married Korean women residing in the U.S. ― have up their sleeve. It’s a secret.

To them, it was unfortunate that the Washington Post ad secret somehow slipped on Facebook, Twitter and, the online site these supporters huddle up to gather and exchange news and information regarding the Sewol ferry disaster.

The news leaked a few hours too early this time, but they stressed that other efforts down the road should and will be kept tightly shut.

“Next time, we need to make sure that the word spreads after the ad prints. We can’t allow any room for interference,’’ wrote one user, whose opinion is echoed by dozens of others.

The reason why these women are being so hush-hush is because of the intense backlash they faced after the first ad printed last week and concerns over political pressure and interference.

A series of political and non-political organizations both in Korea and the U.S. released statements criticizing MissyUSA and the three organizers of the New York Times ad. Many of them labeled the efforts as a “disgrace to the country’’ and urged them to stop their agenda.

Despite criticism, MissyUSA members show no sign of backing down as they continue to express anger over the Sewol accident.

“It’s our responsibility to speak up and take a stand even if we are far away from our mother country,’’ wrote one user. “This can’t be just a one-time campaign, but a continued effort to help set things straight.’’