North Korean state media answered a damning United Nations report on the country's human rights record by issuing a homophobic attack on the UN's lead investigator, Michael Kirby.
The statement, published on state news agency KCNA's English-language website, first condemns the UN investigation as "peppered with fabrications" and created for a "political purpose of the U.S." before taking aim at Kirby:
.. he is a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality. He is now over seventy, but he is still anxious to get married to his homosexual partner.
This practice can never be found in the DPRK boasting of the sound mentality and good morals, and homosexuality has become a target of public criticism even in Western countries, too. In fact, it is ridiculous for such gay to sponsor dealing with others' human rights issue.
Beyond the statement's flippant dismissal of the nation's abhorrent record of abuse and torture, the personal attack on Kirby, Australia's longest serving judge and a venerated authority on human rights, stands out as particularly venomous.
However, as Adam Taylor at The Washington Post notes, the statement is also a rare public comment out of the Hermit Kingdom on homosexuality. Taylor finds that the release is possibly "the first time the agency has used the word "homosexual" since the agency went online," adding that from an official standpoint "homosexuality doesn't exist in North Korea."
In their 400-page report, UN investigators exposed horrors in North Korea that drew comparisons to Nazi atrocities, and a horrific prison camp systems that researchers likened to Stalin's gulags. North Korea has attempted to downplay the findings of the report since its release.
It should be noted that though the homophobic accusations are an anomaly, slanderous personal attacks and denouncements are nothing new for North Korea's press agency, to the point where they've even inspired a press release generator that mocks their bombastic style.