Seven years ago, a 23-year-old Samsung employee was killed while working at a Samsung chip factory. Fast forward to today and Samsung has finally apologized and paid out promised compensation to the former employee’s family. The family claimed that he died of cancer that was linked to chemical exposure at the chip factory.
In a bit of a surprise move, Samsung also promised compensation to other chip factory employees who suffered cancers linked to chemical exposure. Samsung also admitted in a statement that they should have sought a solution to the controversy sooner.
Of course, like all big companies that apologize and admit to screwing up, Samsung still asserts that the apology still does not mean that it concedes a link between the chemicals used in its chip factories and cancer and other diseases.
The Samsung statement comes a month after a South Korean politician reported that 114 of 243 workers who had fallen ill since the 1990s were former Samsung semiconductor employees.
Last year, the story of Hwang Yu-mi, who died aged 23 from leukemia in 2007, and her father’s legal battles was made into a film funded by donations and brought more attention to the possible link between conditions at Samsung’s older factories and cancer in workers.
In February, the film’s production crew claimed that Samsung tired to suppress the film by keeping it out of one of the country’s largest cinema chains and also interfered with domestic press coverage. The controversy is a reflection of how deeply entrenched Samsung is in the daily life of South Korea, where it makes up about 20 percent of the country’s total GDP.