Idols have always faced cruel and defamatory hate comments, but things could be changing. And, according to two veteran K-Pop lawyers, BTS‘s Suga, Super Junior‘s Heechul, and IU are three of the stars trailblazing the way to peace on the internet.
Ko Seung Woo and Jeong Chong Myeong are two of the most experienced lawyers in the industry, working on cases for Wanna One members, Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji, and more. This week, the pair sat down with AYO on YouTube to talk about malicious comments—including how certain idols are helping to eradicate them.
Back in a 2018 live broadcast, BTS’s Suga noticed that ARMYs would always leave comments pleading him not to look at malicious remarks. Thankfully, Suga reassured fans that he doesn’t even have time to read hate comments. In fact, he told anti-fans to carry on writing if they wanted to, because “someone’s going to sue” if things carry on.
I don’t even get the chance to see malicious comments… You can keep writing more. I don’t read them, you’re going to write them, and someone’s going to sue. There’s nothing good to come out of it.
When an AYO viewer brought up Suga’s iconic quote, lawyer Jeong Chong Myeong praised him for the response. He went on to say that idols like Suga are part of the force driving malicious commenters away for good.
Alongside Suga, Jeong also credited IU and Super Junior’s Heechul as part of the movement. In June this year, IU’s agency EDAM Entertainment told fans they’d won a lawsuit against someone who “continued to write excessively slandering posts with indiscriminate malicious intent” against the talented singer-songwriter. The prosecution charged the commenter with serious slander and defamation, sentencing them to a level higher than usual.
Similarly, Heechul hired six lawyers earlier this year for a lawsuit against someone who made hateful comments. Even when the perpetrators asked for leniency, Heechul didn’t back down.
From my own experience, many people go through a hard time trying to catch the culprits. I’ve already received a lot of support, so I won’t stop my battle against the malicious commenters.
Lawyer Jeong explained that it’s best to react to the malicious commenters “aggressively“, not letting them get away with it. According to him, the idols ensuring these anti-fans are punished to the fullest extent are helping to “make a clean idol fan culture”.
Ko Seung Woo agreed, comparing the situation today to the fan culture in back in the first and second generations of K-Pop. Then, if a celebrity threatened to sue a malicious commenter, the public would accuse them of kicking up a fuss.
Now, however, Ko says that the public is starting to see online hatred as a serious issue—all thanks to the strong penalties they’re facing at the hands of entertainment companies.
Nowadays, I think people support you if you say, “‘I’m suing”.
— Ko Seung Woo