A college student is in hot water as her televised statement that "short men are losers" is spreading all over the internet community and has even triggered a lawsuit.
Lee Do-kyung, a Hongik University student, appeared on a popular KBS TV show "Misuda," or "Chatting with Beauties" on Monday and said, "I don`t like short men. Height is competitiveness these days, and I think short men are losers. Men should at least be 180 cm tall."
Hurt and angry, Korean internet users began to criticize her online immediately, and decided to take another step: "googling" her.
Before noon the next day, all her personal information including her homepage address, graduation photos, and her frequently used internet ID were posted on numerous websites.
Internet users tracked down the trails of her internet ID. Her past activities online such as the questions she posted on her university`s website about scholarships, the ones she posted on luxury brand shopping websites and plastic surgery websites were all quickly disclosed.
Internet users made a caricature of her words by creating parodied photos. For instance, "Who is Lee Do-kyung?" is written on top of a poster of the movie "The Lord of the Rings" where hobbits pose holding swords, and also on top of a portrait of Napoleon.
Some even wrote that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who happens to be short, got furious about Lee`s "loser" statement and ordered Tuesdays` naval clash between the two Koreas.
New words appeared as well, such as "Tom Closer," "Loserleon," or "Wayne Loser," each referring to Tom Cruise, Napoleon and Wayne Rooney, celebrities or historical figures who are shorter than 180 cm.
Later on the same day, Lee`s every action started to be broadcast live over the internet. Students at her university seemed to be keeping a close eye on her as websites were flooded with anonymous eye witness accounts on Lee. Anonymous rumors about her and even comments about the situation from some self-claimed friends of hers quickly spread online.
In the latest development, Lee apologized on her school website yesterday as did "Misuda" producers, who said that the statement was not meant to hurt and asked the public to stop a "witch hunt" on Lee. On the other hand, a man in his 30s filed a complaint with the Press Arbitration Commission against KBS and is asking for 10 million won in compensation for "mental distress" caused from the "loser" statement. The man is reportedly 162 centimeters tall. Many internet users, meanwhile, have also started to reflect on their behavior, saying that they do not have the right to carry out surveillance on other people, and that they should stop.
"Internet users themselves are feeling burdened as the situation becomes uncontrollable," said Jeong Hyun-min, a researcher at the National Information Society Agency.
Meanwhile, a weird consequence of her comments is that some celebrities were suddenly praised on the internet for their past comments about men`s height. Attention is especially focused on Hyun-ah, a member of the girl group "Four Minute," whose recent appearance on a radio show where she talked about her ideal boyfriend is spreading online.
"I hope he is shorter than 173 cm. About 170 cm would be great," she said.
By Park Min-young