Mad About the Cow
Spearheaded by about 50 of their fellow countrymen from the Los Angeles area, 1,020 Korean Americans have filed a $735 million lawsuit against Seoul TV broadcast company MBC. The suit claims that, by sounding a new alarm about mad cow disease and U.S. beef, which has been banned in South Korea since 2003, MBC caused the Korean Americans to be “humiliated . . . and subjected them to mockery in the United States.” A spokesman for the plaintiffs claims that MBC implied that anyone eating American beef would contract the disease, and that Koreans living in the U.S. were held in low regard as consumers of the beef.
MBC's announcement in April, 2008, helped ignite nationwide civil unrest just as South Korea's new president, Lee Myung-bak, had taken office. News of the lawsuit, most of whose plaintiffs come from L.A., New York and Chicago, was reported by the subscription-only service Asia Pulse and picked up by other outlets.