Court Awards $18,000 to Korean Air Flight Attendant From 'Nut Rage' Incident
Financial restitution has been granted to the flight attendant who was attacked in the so-called "nut rage" incident of December 2014.
The infamous incident happened four years ago on board a Korean Air flight from New York (JFK) to Seoul (ICN). Heather Cho, one of the daughters of Korean Air's CEO, threatened, hit and shoved a flight attendant for serving her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of a porcelain bowl. Cho also demanded the flight attendant apologize on his knees for the transgression and that the plane be turned around so the offending flight attendant could be removed from the aircraft.
Cho was sentenced to a year in prison for violating aviation safety, coercion and abuse of power and served five months.
Now, a court in Seoul has ordered Korean Air to pay $18,000 to the flight attendant who was abused in the "nut rage." Park Chang-jin was the head flight attendant on the plane that day in December 2014. Park was demoted after the incident, the BBC reports, which he says was retaliation for speaking to the media about what happened.
Earlier in 2018, Park had sued Korean Air for "physical and psychological suffering." The compensation he was awarded was less than he petitioned the court for, and the court also said it found no fault with the airline demoting him.
Heather Cho's sister, Emily Cho, had a similar outburst in March, in which she reportedly insulted an advertising executive and threw water in his face. Both sisters stepped down from their executive posts with the airline after the March incident.
Both of the sisters' scandals drew national ire in South Korea as examples of the widespread corruption and other bad behavior among family-run conglomerates, called chaebol. The family empires are a popular business model in the country, and executives accused of wrongdoing often walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.