Public Statement Regarding "The Legend of Mr. Pants" Exhibit & Zine
This is Hyperlink Press’ public statement regarding the exhibition co-produced with STEAK FILM in Seoul, South Korea and our correspondence with WOM DOCS.
As soon as we received communication concerning the misrepresentation of Korean LGBTQ history from the community members on October 10th, we asked STEAK FILM to pause the sales of The Legend of Mr. Pants. During our video call meeting on October 14th, the South Korean lesbian elders, creators, and communities brought to our attention:
The zine had a quoted elder’s name misspelled “Kim Yoon Myung Woo” instead of “Yoon-Kim Myeongwoo”
The citations were incorrectly listed and quoted.
There should have been a cross fact-checking with the lesbian organizers.
After this meeting, on October 22nd, we closed down the show and started working to retrieve the zines to stop spreading potential misinformation about vulnerable communities and really wanted to respect our elder’s wishes and dignity. While closing the exhibition and preparing the public statement, WOM DOCS contacted and accused us that The Legend of Mr. Pants plagiarized their documentary Troublers and demanded an apology statement. Because we did not plagiarize Troublers, we felt the need for professional legal examination regarding this claim rather than responding immediately. The legal examination of both works confirmed that while The Legend of Mr. Pants has few shared subject matters, The Legend of Mr. Pants does not violate any copyrights against Troublers. However, WOM DOCS has been spreading false plagiarism accusations as if it is an established fact; therefore, we are asking WOM DOCS to stop this one-sided slander and harmful defamation without any factual validity.
The Legend of Mr. Pants was independently published as a 25-page small-scale zine/fan-magazine in 2020 as based on Hyperlink Press member’s personal research on queer diaspora networks since 2018. The intent of the zine was to share this inaccessible history with Queer Asian Americans and diasporas with a language barrier and not for personal gains or institutional acclamation. Without any training in historical writing, the creator found public interviews, articles, and blog posts on the internet and despite their best to use, cite, and translate source materials as is; however, this was careless, since it could still severely affect the quality of the historical truth without direct conversations beforehand. Because the materials were a marginalized history, neglecting the possibility of misrepresentation and inaccuracy was an inconsiderate act. We acknowledge that before the exhibition with STEAK FILM happened, there was a lack of rigorous cross-checking and dialogues with the concerned parties, including the organizations and individuals mentioned in the zine. As a result, we failed to supplement the true intention of the zine that meant to uplift those voices and narratives.
We sincerely apologize for our mistake and any unintentional damage this caused to the Korean lesbian community, creators, activists, and especially Yoon-Kim Myeongwoo and Chaeyoon Hahn. From this experience, we will take extreme care and caution to not make this mistake again in our future.