From the start, Taeyong‘s career has been fraught with controversy, either through allegations of scamming or bullying in his past. He’s certainly deserved some criticism for some aspects, and he’s admitted as much, but at other times people just seemed to use those past instances to read too much into situations that didn’t exist.
The most recent case essentially revolved around the school bullying controversy, and while I’ve been trying to keep myself sane during the pandemic I’ve slacked off on keeping up with news, but apparently things have gotten messy.
Pannatic has covered the recent revelations in this, which are worth reading if you want the whole picture (1/2/3/4), and now SM Entertainment has announced that they will be taking legal action against the informant.
The individual who has been posting online about Taeyong’s past words and actions during middle school has stated that they are an informant stepping up for the victim, and they have been continuously posting unconfirmed one-sided claims and distorted facts. Taeyong has already sincerely apologized to the victim and provided compensation regarding his faults of the past. However, the informant continued to make one-sided claims using distorted and exaggerated facts to attack Taeyong. We have been aware of this, but as the informant is a former classmate of Taeyong’s, there were concerns that secondary damage could be inflicted on his friends from middle school and any related people. Taeyong himself has patiently endured the situation out of the concern that his middle school classmates may potentially be harmed. However, the distorted claims continued to surface and spread, leading to serious damage in the form of invasion of privacy, insults, and defamation of not only Taeyong, but also his family. The situation has reached a point in which we cannot continue to show tolerance to protect our artist. Therefore, if malicious posts about Taeyong continue to surface, we will no longer overlook them and take strong legal action for defamation against the informant. Moreover, we will take strong action without lenience regarding the dissemination and expansive reproduction of related unconfirmed content as well as other clearly unlawful acts such as leaving malicious comments about Taeyong and his family.
To avoid any further damage, we ask everyone to halt any illegal acts such as posting or spreading rumors, leaving malicious comments, or invading the privacy of all individuals related to Taeyong’s middle school days, including the informant.
As you know, I frequently remind people that in many cases legal action in Korea for anything regarding rumors doesn’t mean a whole lot. Truth isn’t even a defense, after all. However, in this case, after reading everything that has come out, I feel like further information has cleared the fog of war, so to speak.
From what I can tell, the situation is basically that Taeyong does appear to have posted some insensitive comments back when he was a teenager, for which he has apologized for as the company admits, just like other wrongdoings in the past. However, to me the informant does indeed essentially come off as a bad-faith actor, using the pain of the victim(s) to further her personal agenda against Taeyong rather than to seek any sort of justice as she claims. The nail in the coffin is that she essentially does not appear to give a shit about the feelings of the victims and whether they accepted Taeyong’s apology or even wanted his actions to be made public, which goes to the heart of what she’s about.
My mea culpa on this is not regarding me arguing with fans over whether Taeyong had done any wrong in the past, because as I’ve been saying, both he and the company admit as much and continue to do so. However, because of the admitted wrongdoing, I placed too much faith in a third-party to all this in terms of credibility. Thankfully, the informant appears to have been exposed and this erases most of the new stuff that has emerged.
Going forward, assuming nothing further comes out, I do think this does Taeyong a great deal of good in terms of perception. Because before it was easy to believe he was still getting away without having really been accountable for his wrongdoings, but now it’s like he just made mistakes in the past and owned up to them and is trying to move forward. While it’s obviously still up to the individual to take his past however they want, it’s now a lot easier for me to believe he’s been sincere in taking accountability since then.
The informant is apparently even worst than the recent revelations display, at least according to Dispatch’s reporting. The outlet has found that the text exchanges used by the informant as evidence that Taeyong was not remorseful and the victim wanted more from him was manipulated by her, and that actually Taeyong and the victim had pleasant exchanges and things seemed to be going well. Definitely thinks this clears him of the thing (alleged lack of remorse for past) that made people still have a problem with him, and to the contrary he seems to have followed through thoroughly.