Sister of Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress apologises for own tantrum

The scandal-stricken Korean Air has suffered yet another blow to its reputation. (AFP pic)

SEOUL: The sister of the Korean Air “nut rage” heiress apologised on Thursday for throwing her own tantrum at a business meeting after media reports claimed she had hurled water into the face of an employee.

Cho Hyun-min, the second daughter of Korean Air boss Cho Yang-ho, apologised for her “reckless behaviour” after the reported incident at a Seoul advertising firm sparked online outrage.

Cho, 36, is the younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah, who made global headlines and prompted nationwide fury in the South in 2014 for an infamous incident in which she kicked a cabin crew chief off a plane in a row over nuts.

The elder sister erupted into fury when a stewardess served her macadamia nuts in a bag rather than in a bowl on a Seoul-bound flight from New York, before forcing the employee and the cabin crew chief to kneel and beg for forgiveness.

The incident was one of the most infamous cases involving offspring of one of South Korea’s mega-wealthy business elite families, whose arrogance and bad behaviour regularly make headlines.

The latest row over the younger Cho emerged on Thursday when Maeil Business Newspaper, Seoul’s leading business daily, reported that she had thrown water at a worker at an advertising agency during a meeting last month.

Cho, who is a Korean Air marketing executive, reportedly flew into a rage when she did not like one of the worker’s answers, throwing a bottle to the floor and screaming before sending the worker out of the room.

Korean Air partially disputed the report, saying Cho “only threw a cup with water onto the floor” and not toward the worker at the agency, which produces adverts for the South’s flagship carrier.

“I apologise with my head down for my foolish and reckless behaviour,” Cho said on her Facebook page on Thursday, adding she had separately apologised to everyone at the meeting.

“I have no words to say for my action that I should not have done under any circumstances,” she wrote without offering any details on the incident.

South Koreans took to online forums to criticise the family’s latest outburst.

“This whole family is so messed up and classless beyond repair,” said one user.

Another wrote: “The Cho family – the national disgrace as well as international embarrassment.”

The nut rage incident in 2014 renewed criticism over the country’s powerful conglomerates that dominate the world’s 11th-largest economy.

Many founding family members of the conglomerates have been dogged by criticism that they run their global businesses like their personal fiefdom with minimal regulation by officials and shareholders.

The elder Cho apologised for the nut incident as controversy grew, but was eventually sentenced to a year in prison.

She was freed after five months when an appeals court reduced the sentence and made a comeback to management at the head of a Korean Air-owned hotel business last month.