[KOREA DAILY POST=Reporter Sohn JiAe] LG Chem and LG Electronics, both part of the fourth-largest conglomerate LG Corporation in South Korea, have recently suffered a dramatic fall from grace on the global stage.
From deadly accidents caused by the violation of safety regulations to an ill-conceived promotional video of a man taking upskirt photos, the Korean firms are now under global scrutiny.
Back in August 2019, LG Chem faced the biggest crisis when a Ukraine worker in its production facility in Wroclaw, Poland, the company's biggest battery market in Europe, was killed when he got snagged on a machine. Just three months later in November at another battery facility in Poland, a Korean researcher was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and later died of pneumonia.
As it was hit hard by a series of accidents in one of its biggest beachheads in Europe, the conglomerate has become a target for criticism by the local media. There is a growing concern that the firm's efforts to make inroads into European countries came to a dead end.
Its ordeal wasn't over there. On May 7, a deadly gas leak from the LG Polymers factory based in India killed more than a dozen with thousands hospitalized.
The Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced in a statement on the cause of the leak that, "Amid nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company, which in March applied for permission to expand its capacity, was operating its polystyrene plant without the mandatory environmental clearance from the Indian government."
In the meantime, LG Electronics' Poland operation came under harsh criticism after it posted a sexist video on its official TikTok channel in a bid to promote the V60 ThinQ's dual screen accessory. The video featured a man taking photos up the skirt of a woman climbing stairs using the LG smartphone.
Some denounced the add as, "a badly executed add in poor taste."
The ad, instead of promoting the phone and the accessory, promoted its ability to take upskirt shots, leaving many Polish customers in dismay.
"As LG Chem and LG Electronics are in the center of controversy on the global scene, the global image of LG Corporation has been damaged a lot," said an analyst at a Korean security company. "Also, to add insult to injury, the ongoing legal feud between LG Chem and SK Innovation over electric vehicle batteries which is still being reinvestigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), is further tarnishing the brand image of Korea's fourth-largest conglomerate."