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One Of Asia's Biggest Alcohol Companies Has Stopped Releasing Pornographic Calendars

HiteJinro has ended the yearslong tradition of publishing a nude calendar, in a presumed reaction to the global #MeToo movement.

Posted on January 4, 2019, at 12:35 p.m. ET

HiteJinro, a South Korean manufacturer of beer and soju, has stopped releasing a nude calendar, in response to the "current social atmosphere" — presumed to mean #MeToo and the global feminism movement.

The 2019 calendar instead shows seasonal food paired with the brand's products.

In October last year, the drinks company said it would stop the nude calendars after a backlash against their depiction of women.

The calendars, which could be ordered online and appear in some South Korean pubs, are made by a number of alcohol brands including HiteJinro. Companies also make a "friendly" calendar featuring either clothed women or other pictures.

Another Asian alcohol brand, OB, also said it will not produce a calendar featuring naked women this year, instead choosing landscapes.

Over the past year, previous calendars have been shared across social media in anger at how they portray women.

서치 걸리라고 다시 올림. 하이트진로 무려 2018년 달력에 여성 성상품화 사진을 내걸고 회장은 장자연 리스트에 오른 사람임. 다들 불매 합시다

In 2018, South Korea grappled with its own #MeToo movement — the year saw protests about the country's spycam problem, beauty standards, and violence against women, as well as individual cases of alleged sexual assault by powerful figures.

솔직히 난 술은 절대 안 마시는 편이지만 민망한 달력은 싫었는데

"I don't drink, but I hate that calendar."

Anna, a 25-year-old activist from Cheongju who asked for her full name not to be shared, said that a lot of women in South Korea have grown up with sexualized nudity and the calendars being normalized.

"When I was a child, I occasionally followed my mother when she had dinner with her colleagues. I saw HiteJinro calendars there," she said. "The picture in the calendar was not just a 'sexy bikini photo,' it was more than that. Women who are nude or semi-nude, barely covering their nipples and their body parts, were shown on those calendars. I still remember feeling shocked seeing those pictures. My mother hid the calendar from me, but adult men near our table watched that calendar from January to December, over and over.

"The shocking part is that the place where I went with my mother wasn't a prostitution house or bar for adults. It was just an ordinary Korean restaurant that serves meals and drinks, where children, family, and lots of people usually go to. It's not that every single restaurant in Korea had that calendar, but most of them do."

While HiteJinro's move has been popular, others have pointed out that brands' tendency to advertise alcohol using women generally is a problem in itself.

#MeToo movement progress in South Korea!

BuzzFeed News has contacted HiteJinro for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.