For most of her acting career Song Hye Kyo has laughed at the rumors that circulated about her, but a few years ago some of those rumors took an ugly turn. Things got so out of hand that the star of "That Winter The Wind Blows," Worlds Within" and "Full House" was forced earlier this year to file lawsuits against 41 netizens for spreading rumors between Sept. 2008 and Dec. 2011
Of those 41 netizens, the Seoul Central District Court has indicted 24 with fines.
UAA Entertainment, Song Hye Kyo's agency, said they learned they won the case by reading the news. But they were not surprised at their victory since it was obviously the kind of slander that celebrities should be protected against.
Legally, there is a difference between posting gossipy rumors about your favorite star and defaming their character. A netizen can say something negative about a celebrity but he or she cannot make false accusations that can potentially damage their reputation or career. Also, saying something negative to your friends is one thing, but making a public statement by posting that statement on the Internet can be considered defamation.
For the most part celebrities ignore rumors or make a joke out of them. Song Hye Kyo has in the past been good-natured about rumors that match her up with co-stars. When she heard that rumors linked her romantically with "That Winter The Wind Blows" co-star Jo In Sung, she just laughed and said, "When I first heard the rumor of me asking him out to eat, I didn't think it was unfair to me."
But the unfounded rumors in this case were so ugly that the actress felt she had to take a stand. The rumors said the actress was receiving money from a politician in exchange for certain favors, which is plainly false, but such rumors could nevertheless harm her career. Even though she has been a top actress for a decade, the association with a scandal can keep her from getting the best roles.
The court declared that she was right to file a report and in most of the cases, decided in her favor. Three of the people who were found guilty of slandering the actress were fined about $1,000, while the remaining netizens were fined less.
Who were these netizens? Most were young office workers and one was a doctor. Obviously, they were people with a lot of time on their hands and a grudge against the actress.
Song Hye Kyo's agency was not sure if she had heard the news yet and said that they now had to enter into further discussions with their legal representatives.