Jang Wonyoung of the K-pop group IVE and her agency, Starship Entertainment, have successfully won a defamation lawsuit against YouTuber Park who ran the notorious channel “Sojang.” The Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on December 21st in their 100 million won (approximately 84,000 USD) lawsuit against Park.
The court ordered Park to pay 100 million won and an additional annual 12% interest until full payment is made. Park is also responsible for covering the legal expenses incurred during the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by Jang Wonyoung in October last year, came after the YouTuber posted content defaming her character. Her lawyer argued that the videos uploaded on the “Sojang” channel were full of false information and insults, constituting a clear illegal act and a criminal offense of defamation and insult.
The “Sojang” channel had been disseminating malicious rumors about Jang Wonyoung, including false allegations of her fighting with another girl group member, being involved in a romantic scandal with a male celebrity, and having a problematic personality.
In addition to the compensation claim, Jang Wonyoung and Starship Entertainment filed criminal charges against Park for defamation and insult. The case, initially investigated by the Gangnam Police Station, has recently been transferred to the prosecution for further action. Separate lawsuits are also underway concerning the defamation of Starship Entertainment and the spread of false information about Jang Wonyoung, which has hindered the agency’s operations.
Park, in both the civil lawsuit and the criminal case, claimed ignorance of the falsity of the information and argued for the public’s “right to know.” However, Jang Wonyoung’s legal team emphasized the psychological distress and impact on the entertainer’s career caused by her videos, which also involved other celebrities.
Today, Starship Entertainment released a statement regarding the case: “We will inform you through an official position once all legal judgments are concluded. Starship operates a constant monitoring system to protect the rights, including the honor, privacy, and personality, of our artists. We will continue to take all possible legal measures without settlement for defamation of our artists and any additional damages.”
Previously, Starship Entertainment obtained Park’s personal information from a U.S. court and filed a complaint. Park deleted the “Sojang” account and issued an apology, but Starship continued with the lawsuit. With Jang Wonyoung’s victory, YouTubers using foreign platforms to defame celebrities can no longer evade the law.