Big Hit says it used an email hotline and internal monitoring initiatives to track down a collection of posts from the first half of 2019 that are now being used as evidence. In the statement, the company claims that law enforcement agencies have already launched investigations related to those posts. "Please understand that we had to delay providing you with an update due to the need to maintain confidentiality while identifying and initiating legal proceedings against these perpetrators," the statement continues.
Unlike in the U.S., where truth is an absolute defense against defamation charges, people in South Korea may be criminally punished in some cases for even a true statement. Big Hit also references South Korea's Criminal Act, which sanctions imprisonment or a fine for insulting another person in public.
It's not the first time Big Hit has taken legal action to defend the blockbuster band: Earlier this summer, the company called for court authorization to seize and destroy bootleg merchandise being sold outside BTS concerts. Meanwhile, BTS is currently taking an "extended period of rest and relaxation."
Read Big Hit's full update to fans, below.
This is Big Hit Entertainment.
We would like to provide an update on the legal proceedings against malicious online postings related to BTS.
Big Hit regularly initiates legal proceedings against malicious activities related to BTS including ill-intentioned criticism, the spread of groundless information, personal attacks and defamation, following our internal procedures.
Legal proceedings are currently underway with postings collected during the first half of this year as evidence. We have filed complaints with the Seoul Namdaemun Police Station on charges of defamation (Article 70 of the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, Etc.) and criminal insult (Article 311 of the Criminal Act) against netizens who have repeatedly uploaded malicious comments and postings in online communities, portals and social media that exceed the reasonable and accepted boundaries of expression and personal commentary.
Materials for evidence were collected via our own monitoring initiatives as well as through the Big Hit hotline (firstname.lastname@example.org) and submitted to the police, and law enforcement agencies have launched investigations against the perpetrations based on this evidence. Please understand that we had to delay providing you with an update due to the need to maintain confidentiality while identifying and initiating legal proceedings against these perpetrators.
We have responded with zero tolerance against insults and defamation against our artists, and our stance will remain unchanged as long as these acts occur. We emphasize that there is, and will be, no leniency or settlement with the perpetrators of these acts.
We ask for your continued attention and cooperation.
We will continue to work to ensure that the rights of our artists are fully protected. Thank you.