The “Dior Bag Scandal”: South Korea’s Presidential Race


In the final stretch before South Korea’s parliamentary election, a purported video featuring First Lady Kim Keon Hee accepting a Dior bag as a gift has ignited a political firestorm for President Yoon Suk Yeol and his People Power Party (PPP). The controversy, now widely known as the “Dior Bag Scandal,” has divided PPP members, with some urging apologies from the president and his wife, while others vehemently claim it was a setup and a smear campaign.

At the heart of the matter is the alleged footage capturing Ms. Kim Keon Hee receiving a Dior bag valued at $2,250, a clear violation of South Korean law that restricts public officials and their spouses from accepting gifts exceeding 1 million Won at once or a cumulative total of 3 million Won within a fiscal year.

Analysts are raising concerns that this incident may run afoul of anti-bribery laws, further complicating the situation for President Yoon’s administration. Supporters of the president, however, contend that it is a politically motivated setup designed to tarnish his reputation.

About “Dior Bag Scandal”:

The scandal unfolded in November when a video clip recorded by Korean-American pastor Reverend Abraham Choi surfaced. Reverend Choi, who met with Kim Keon Hee to discuss concerns about President Yoon’s North Korea policy, alleged that luxury gifts were the only means to secure an audience with the First Lady, according to a Reuters report.

The Opposition Democratic Party swiftly seized upon the controversy to criticize President Yoon and the PPP. Opposition leader Hong Ik-pyo argued that overlooking the matter was untenable for the presidential office and the ruling party. He emphasized that a mere apology would not be sufficient to address the gravity of the situation.

PPP leader Kim Kyung-Yul added fuel to the fire by drawing parallels between the First Lady and Marie Antoinette, the infamous French queen known for her extravagant lifestyle. Such comparisons further intensify the public scrutiny surrounding the scandal, contributing to the challenges faced by the PPP in the lead-up to the parliamentary election.

As the “Dior Bag Scandal” continues to unfold, its impact on public perception, the political landscape, and the impending election remains uncertain. The coming weeks will likely see heightened tensions, as both sides grapple with the fallout and attempt to sway public opinion in their favor.


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