Sangjinse shuts down
An Internet cafe voluntarily shut down and made a public apology for having led a months-long campaign to cast doubt over the school records of popular singer Tablo.
The website, “Sangjinse,” short for “the world where common sense is the truth” in Korean, is one of two online communities that orchestrated what police called “smear campaigns” against the hip-hop singer for more than three months. Another Tablo-bashing site, “Tajinyo” is still operating.
Sangjinse cafe managers said in a statement that their way of raising questions over Tablo’s academic record was “problematic,” expressing hope that the voluntary shutdown will be seen as a gesture of apology to the singer and his family.
“We have reached the conclusion that we need to make an apology over defamatory remarks against Tablo and his family members,” Sangjinse said in the statement. “We have no other choice but to respect the results of the police investigation. We hope the shutdown of this cafe will help heal their wounds.”
The apology means that the months-long attacks on Tablo, the leader of Epik High whose Korean name is Lee Seon-woong, are winding down after the announcement of the outcome of a police investigation into allegations that he fabricated Stanford University diplomas.
It came about two weeks after police confirmed that Tablo is a graduate of the prestigious U.S. school.
While making its apology, Sangjinse begged the musician to drop his lawsuit against 22 Internet users.
The move also came at a time when an alleged fake fund raising scandal hit the website’s leaders hard. The scandal was brought to the surface after a manager of the site, whose ID was “mooneo” or small octopus in English, posted an article, Tuesday, to launch a fund raising campaign to help the accused bloggers.
The manager asked members to wire money to his private bank account, resulting in a strong backlash from some members. The article was immediately removed, but the manager in question has remained silent over the case.
Few see the apology as whole-hearted.
“It’s no more than just running away,” said one blogger. “They should take proper responsibility. Where is your dauntless attitude?” another posted.
Another blogger wrote, “Don’t run away to avoid being arrested.”
Despite police confirmation, members of another online cafe, Tajinyo, is still attacking Tablo.
“I don’t care about the website shutting down. We will continue to make our way,” a Tablo-bashing blogger said in an article on Tajinyo.
The latest scandal created a great stir in a society where a good academic background is regarded as a surefire ticket to success.
In a recent Cabinet meeting, President Lee Myung-bak described the scandal as a “witch hunt,” asking secretaries to come up with countermeasures to prevent the repetition of such an incident.
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SangJinSe was smaller than the leading Internet community roiling up rumors about Tablo, TaJinYo, or “We Request the Truth from Tablo,” which had roughly 180,000 members before it was shut down earlier this month. The manager of that forum, a 57-year-old ethnic Korean with U.S. citizenship living in Chicago surnamed Kim, has an arrest warrant against him issued by the Seoul police.
However, the spite lives on. Several thousand former TaJinYo members have reconstituted themselves in a second club, known as TaJinYo 2. Yesterday, they posted a notice about SangJinSe’s decision to end membership, saying: “They must have been bribed by Tablo.”
Source: Park Si-soo @ The korea Times & Christine Kim @ JoongAng Daily