There shall be no Web trolls in heaven. Relaxation in peace.
This message, left by Fb person Jin Baek in response to information in regards to the loss of life of Okay-pop star Goo Hara of lady band Kara, factors to the crux of the issue.
Tortured by hate feedback on-line and unable to drag herself out of despair regardless of a smooth-sailing solo profession, Goo ended her life on Nov 24. She was 28.
The information was a double shock for Okay-pop followers, coming simply six weeks after Goo’s shut buddy, Sulli of lady group f(x), had dedicated suicide.
Their premature deaths have now prompted soul-searching in South Korea over the prevalence of misogyny in a glamorous leisure world, the place stunning younger girls are thrust into stardom with out sufficient psychological preparation in regards to the darkish facet of fame.
Sulli, who died at age 25, was mentioned to be depressed. Like Goo, she was additionally a goal of cyber bullying and cruel feedback.
Observers mentioned such feedback are exhausting to disregard for celebrities who’re used to being adored by followers, and whose lives have revolved round showbiz from a younger age. Many audition as teenagers for Korea’s manicured music business and keep as trainees for years earlier than they get their breaks.
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Ms Vivian Lee, a veteran within the leisure business with expertise producing idol reveals, advised The Sunday Occasions the quantity of humiliation will not be one thing a traditional individual can endure.
“Celebrities have much less social expertise and so they’ve solely lived a life within the limelight, so their thoughts is as fragile as a glass ball,” she famous.
“Hate feedback are too darkish for them, nearly prison. They cannot deal with these feedback calmly.”
For Okay-pop idols certain by the strict guidelines set by their administration businesses and their time dominated by gruelling coaching schedules, the Web is their window to their followers – and the surface world. However it’s also the place hazard lurks within the type of nameless trolls.
Each Goo and Sulli stood out for daring to problem the norms within the cookie-cutter world of Okay-pop. And each paid a heavy worth for it.
Sulli, for one, supported the worldwide no-bra motion deemed too feminist in South Korea, and co-hosted a present known as Night time Of Hate Feedback, geared toward elevating consciousness of cyber bullying.
She was labelled as a “nationwide prostitute” and “nice porn star”, and one netizen claimed to have seen her “rolling in her personal poop” in an airplane rest room.
Goo, in the meantime, had fought a authorized battle towards her abusive former boyfriend Choi Jong-bum, who threatened to launch a spycam intercourse video of her.
In August, a Seoul courtroom handed him a suspended sentence of 1 yr and 6 months over expenses together with assault and blackmail. However he was acquitted of filming her with out consent – a judgment Goo reportedly couldn’t settle for.
Regardless of being technologically superior, South Korea continues to be a largely patriarchal society the place abuse towards girls usually escapes extreme punishment.
Greater than 11,200 spycam instances have been reported to the police up to now two years, with a lot of the victims being girls. Offenders can resist 5 years in jail, however most discovered responsible have been solely fined.
Ms Lee Na-young, a sociologist at Chung-Ang College, mentioned victims of sexual crimes usually find yourself being stigmatised. “She is dirty, a slut, a rag,” she advised BBC. “As soon as labelled as dirty, she is a slut for the remainder of her life. How can a person carry this burden?”
For Goo, the ache was exacerbated by a torrent of hate feedback on-line. Netizens accused her of “figuring out no disgrace”, “costume-playing as a sufferer”, and “splurging cash on media manipulation”.
Ms Vivian Lee, who has labored within the leisure business for 25 years, mentioned feminine celebrities develop into a simple goal when their non-public life is uncovered to the general public.
“The assault towards a feminine superstar is persistent and barely ends,” she mentioned. “You can find yourself breaking down mentally, and within the worst-case situation, commit suicide.”
The 2 current deaths have triggered public motion towards the evident injustice.
A web based petition towards cyber bullying filed to the presidential Blue Home after Sulli’s loss of life drew greater than 23,000 signatures, whereas one other one calling for harsher punishment for cyber crime and hate feedback, triggered by Goo’s loss of life, garnered greater than 20,000 signatures in lower than a day.
Two Payments geared toward eradicating on-line abuse – one requiring on-line customers to make use of their actual names and the opposite, calling for portals to filter out malicious feedback – have been submitted to Parliament on Oct 25.
The Korean Singers Affiliation has additionally urged the federal government to “set up and implement real looking measures to guard the nation’s asset of pop singers”.
Specialists mentioned extra will be finished to assist younger Okay-pop idols put together mentally for the stress that comes with stardom, particularly in a rustic the place girls are scrutinised for the smallest imperfections.
Ms Vivian Lee famous that not all administration firms will take excellent care of their artists’ psychological well being.
“Artists be taught many issues like dance and singing, however I doubt they learn to handle stress and learn how to deal with on-line feedback,” she mentioned. “They race to debut, after which work more durable to develop into widespread. However their dream will be shattered by on-line feedback. That’s past unhappiness, it is a violation of human rights.”