Internet bullying distresses K-pop idols

Until a decade ago, writing letters or sending presents might have been the only way to express fans' love and support for their favourite stars. Back then, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were not around to help them directly communicate with their idols.

With social network sites increasingly entrenched in our daily routine, a growing numbers of idols turn to the sites to better interact with their fans, broaden their presence and promote their activities. But the seemingly rosy scenario also has its downsides. Idols often become victims for cyberbullying.

On Monday morning, two female idols called for stern action against online rumours and malicious comments.

One of them was miss A's Suzy.

JYP Entertainment that represents her said Monday that it would sue the netizen who wished her dead.

"Our legal team will look into the situation and take legal action against the netizen," said a JYP official.

The move comes after Suzy left a short tweet on Sunday afternoon: "You wish I could die."

Earlier in the day, a Twitter user cursed Suzy online saying, "Expel Suzy from the showbiz industry! I wish her dead in a car accident!"

Last year, Suzy took legal action against a high school student who distributed an image that described her in an overtly sexual way.

The soon-to-debut girl band Lovelyz member Seo was also victimized by what her agency called groundless online rumours.

Seo's label Woollim Entertainment vowed stern legal action Monday, flatly denying the rumours. It would ask the police to investigate and punish those who began spreading the claims, the agency said. The rumours spiraled out of control after a netizen posted allegations about Seo's past on an online community amid the rising curiosity about the new girl group.

According to the post, Seo used to bully her peers in school, signed a contract with the agency to seduce members of the boy band Infinite, and is a homosexual.

The commenter also accused Seo of sexually harassing her school peers by taking nude photos of them and posting them online. The netizen added that Seo's actions drove some of her victims to quit their jobs or school.

Sulli, member of popular girl group f(x), was also beset by unidentified rumours and comments surrounding her romantic relationship with rapper Choiza of Dynamic Duo.

She finally decided to stay out of the entertainment scene for a while.

Now, the victimized celebrities pledge legal action against the netizens who create and distribute allegations, but it is unrealistic to track down every Internet user to punish them.

It only remains to be seen whether strict action by the stars can bring these notorious practices to an end.