BTS’s label BigHit Music is asking fans to help protect the group from “malicious postings” online.
According to Billboard, the label released a note on the social networking platform Weverse, stating it had collected information through the BTS Army and had recently filed “additional criminal complaints against postings with personal attacks and defamation” against BTS.
BigHit claimed one person had uploaded posts containing “insults against [BTS]” using dozens of different IP addresses on DC Inside, a South Korean internet forum.
“We have been monitoring these types of malicious postings and filed criminal complaints against the poster for all the postings with malicious comments,” the label shared.
It said it had begun legal proceedings against the posters in question after finding other “extremely malicious and delusional content”: “The complaint we have filed includes platforms not mentioned in this notice and we would also like to inform you that we cannot reveal every detail of the content of the complaint to ensure a proper investigation.
“Our company regularly initiates legal proceedings against perpetrators of malicious activities related to BTS, including defamation, personal attacks, sexual harassment, the spread of groundless information, and ill-intentioned criticism,” the company went on.
BigHit added that “the accused of an ongoing investigation recently attempted to settle the case but there will be no settlement nor leniency…. Our policy of no settlement and no leniency remains in effect,” urging fans to use a hotline to report any cases of abuse.
Billboard stated that in South Korea, defamation is a criminal charge and spreading “openly false facts” could result in up to seven years in prison.
If a person made true statements with the “intent to commit defamation” and not out of “public interest,” then they could still be sentenced up to three years in jail or face a fine.
K-pop stars Sulli and Cho Jang-mi are among those to have committed suicide in recent years, reportedly after suffering online abuse.
BTS recently announced they were going on hiatus to focus on solo projects. However, their rep has since clarified in a statement: “They are not on hiatus but will take time to explore some solo projects at this time and remain active in various different formats.”