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Celebrities want rumormongers rooted out

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Published : 2013-12-23 19:15
Updated : 2013-12-23 19:15

Lee Da-hae. (Twitter)
Actresses who have vowed legal action against rumormongers for alleging that they were involved in prostitution confirmed on Monday that they would continue the war even after the prosecution has declared the information circulating on the Internet to be false, in a move to root out malignant gossip.

According to the agent of actress Lee Da-hae, the star of TV dramas including “My Girl,” “Green Rose,” “The Slave Hunters” and “Miss Reply,” decided to retain her complaints with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, urging for an investigation into Internet users who reportedly circulated rumors that she had sold sexual services to politically and economically influential people. The rumors mushroomed after a vernacular newspaper reported earlier this month that prosecutors are questioning more than 30 high-profile female entertainers who have provided sex to businessmen and other powerful figures. 

Jo Hye-ryeon. (KOEN Entertainment)
Soon after, the names of 12 celebrities were spread online. Those singled out included actresses Lee Da-hae, Kim Sa-rang, Kwon Min-jung and Yoon Eun-hye; singers Shin Ji and Sol bi; and comedienne Jo Hye-ryeon. Lee, Kwon, Shin Ji and Jo filed complaints with the police saying that they had suffered severe damage to their reputation, career and, moreover, their dignity.

The prosecution held a press briefing on Dec. 13 affirming that the entertainers on the circulated list are not the ones being actually called in for investigation. Investigators at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office said that the case concluded with two entertainers questioned being cleared of charges and another being fined.

The unusually swift response from the investigation, however, did not manage to satisfy the victims of the rumors.

“We have tried to ignore them because we are aware that Lee is an entertainer, a sort of public figure. But the rumors on instant messaging services and gossip newsletters listed the amounts of money being paid and even detailed sexual matters. Things got out of control,” Lee’s agent said.

“Shin has recently released a single but the gossip has played a major role in the rather disappointing outcome,” Shin’s agent said.

“Jo, a respectful mother of two, has been deeply shocked by the rumors that she arranged prostitution. For her and her family’s honor, Jo will fight till the end,” Jo’s agent said, asking for the police to track down the creator of the rumor.

Groundless rumors spread on the Internet have become a serious problem, tarnishing the dignity of many public figures, especially entertainers.

Actresses Jeong Da-bin and Choi Jin-sil as well as songstress U;Nee took their own lives in 2007, 2008 and 2008, respectively, after being tormented by false rumors spread about them. The prosecutors have promised strict measures against the rumormongers. So far, though, they have seen little success due to the anonymity of the Internet world.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)

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