Stanford Magazine Writes About the Korean Netizens Persecution of Tablo

I write about Korean entertainment, and it’s almost always glossy and with excitement. Of course the reality is nowhere near the veneer of Hallyu fervor that is fed to us. I neither discount that the underbelly of entertainment in any country can be pretty seedy, nor do I have to devote my writings to exposing the dirt rather than celebrating the successes. But sometimes the two converge and become personal. Over a year ago, a young, hot, and successful rap star in Korea by the stage name of Tablo, nee Daniel Lee, came under anonymous netizen attacks on his credentials. What credentials would a rap star need, you may ask? None really, except Tablo just happened to be a bona fide Stanford University graduate (class of ’02) with both a BA and a MA in English (courtesy of the Stanford co-term program).

The anonymous netizens grew and grew, and the attacks on Tablo’s credibility about his schooling reached an unprecedented level of vitriol and shocking level of hate. A year’s worth of fighting these cyberspace attackers nearly destroyed Tablo, and this month’s Stanford Magazine recounts his ordeal and the attacks in details. It’s absolutely horrifying to read. I let my Stanford Magazine sit on my nightstand for a few weeks until a few college friends emailed me asking if I read this month’s article on Tablo. After reading it I started to cry, because no one can justify what they did to him, and no one deserves to suffer such mental anguish for doing absolutely nothing other than something worth being commended for. I really urge everyone to read the article, and perhaps gain a better understanding of the power of the anonymous pen, and how to wield it with justifiable dignity.

Daniel Lee went back to Stanford last August with a MBC film crew in tow to document his visit to his alma mater. Only then did the attacks on him finally stop. But the toll it took on him and his family can never be erased. Click here to read “The Persecution of Daniel Lee”.

A few quotes really stand out for me:

The conspiracy theorists online dismissed all this as simply part of the conspiracy. They argued that the reporter had been paid to defend Lee and didn’t believe that the error in David’s rΓ©sumΓ© was accidental. Lee’s efforts to answer their questions were turned into evidence of how far he was willing to go to defend his false identity.

Lee was vindicated, but all he could feel was numbness.Β “The people who are doing this to me will never stop,” he said. “They just won’t believe me no matter what I do.”

He’s still afraid to go out in public and doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to perform for an audience again. This May, he returned to Stanford to give a speech to the Asian American Students’ Association. It was his first public appearance since the controversy erupted and even though it was a friendly crowd, Lee was paralyzed by stage fright, something he’d never experienced before. He felt nauseated throughout the talk and periodically had to pause to catch his breath. It reinforced his fear that he’d never be able to dominate a stage as he once did.Β “Honestly, I’m damaged,” he says. “And I don’t know if I’ll ever be better.”

It’s easy to join a lynch mob when you can hide behind the shield of online anonymity. It takes a strong man to fight to clear his name the way Daniel Lee did. I applaud him, as his college sunbae, and as a fellow human being. I hope time heals his wounds, and that we’ll once again be gifted with his talented song-writing inspirations once more.

[Credit: picture and quotes from Stanford Magazine]

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Stanford Magazine Writes About the Korean Netizens Persecution of Tablo — 89 Comments

  1. I am appalled at the way he was accused over and over again, when if he had fabricated his credentials, it would have been discovered almost immediately. My heart broke to read that he was afraid to go out in public, what would happen to his family and that he couldn’t do the thing he loved to do – perform. I hope that the accusers in question have real action taken against them so this never ever happens to anyone else. Best wishes for him and his family.

  2. sometimes korean people are really crazy……I love Korea but sincerely some of them are very strange people……ony crazy people do this things

  3. Netizens are cowards. They simply sit behind a computer and make ignorant and prejudice remarks without regard for another person’s feelings. Not just Tablo’s ordeal, but I thought the whole situation with JaeBum(formerly of 2PM) was way overblown and once again, that can be credited to netizens.

  4. Omg, I wasn’t aware of that story. I am socked. I read the whole article, and I am shocked.
    Are those people crazy? Even if he was lying, what the fack are they doing? Threaten someone’s life over that?
    In Greece (my country) lately we have a ”scandal” about a singer, lying about her heritage (says she is part Mexican when she is Albanian).
    People just bashing her about being a liar, sometimes mock her (online or in TV) about lying, but that’s the end. She still sings and is popular, and noone’s threatening.
    I mean, if you don’t like something that a celebrities does or says, just don’t bother yourself.

    I feel sorry for that guy, Tablo. And I feel so much anger for those online losers.

  5. I am a long time fan of Epik High, and I can remember when this all started, and Tablo was active on twitter. You could see it all spiraling out of control. The whole thing was insane – the conspiracy theories were simply vicious. I will never understand the need some people have to hate.

    I hope Tablo’s family and friends stay strong and keep supporting him. With time and grace, we’ll be blessed with his talents some more.

  6. Miss koala
    Thank you for sharing this story. I have to admit, I cried towards the end of the article when Tablo arrived in Stanford for the MBC filming and was hugged by Judy Candell, and later when Black verified his credentials – finally he was with people who supported him. This story made me feel so sad that an innocent human being was “destroyed” emotionally and mentally because of this inhuman online attack.

    I have read about this news in passing, but did not really know who Tablo was nor the detailed content. This article gave a human face to the whole story. I am glad I read it, because Tablo’s story should be told too all so that same horrible attack do not happen again.

    It’s appalls me that netizens in Korea has such insane “power” to bring a public figure down. And from what I see, the attacks seem to stem from jealousy due to Tablo’s seemingly easy success in life (studies, career, family). Not sure if I am correct, but it seems to be things like this happens a lot more in Korean e-circle than others (eg. Mainland, HK or Taiwan) as I have read quite a number of news where Korean artistes are driven to despair and even suicide due to netizens attacks. Hope and pray this will change….

    I also pray that Tablo (and his family) will eventually recover from this and stand on stage proudly again.

    Did this MBC news finally clear Tablo’s reputation in Korea? Did it get enough coverage in other media too?

    I also wonder, will it be good to publish this article in other sites (eg. Asianfanatics)? This news should be spread to as many people as possible, esp among netizens with interest in entertainment, as it’s good learning for all. If you don’t mind, I would like to post it at Asianfanatics news section.

    sytwo

    • sytwo,

      Please feel free to repost my article, or the Stanford article directly, or anything else you want, to allow people to understand the truth of what happened to Tablo.

      • OK, thanks! Will post the Stanford article in the news section at Asianfanatics.

      • Idk if anyone will read this but Tablo got some due justice the korean netziens got punished all with jail time and permanent records ev’ry will know the crime and pain they inflicted on Tablo & his family. It’s sad that his father passed away before he could see justice for his son. The criminals got their judgements this past spring 2012. Tablo ‘fighting’!

  7. Thanks Koola for posting this. I heard briefly about Tablo’s Controversy, but I never really read into it. It’s horrifying reading about all the things he and his family had to go through. Its unbelievable how hateful and cruel people can be on the internet. It really breaks my heart to even scroll up and look at Tablo’s photo. He looks so hurt and worn out from everything. I’m glad the truth finally came out and I just hope that everything goes well for him and his family. God Bless.

  8. I sincerely love Koreans but news like this, I feel a little dumb for admiring them. Why is it that netizens are always like this to their countrymen? They are most of the times judgemental of someone’s looks, weight, education, wealth, etc. It almost makes me want to knock their full of air heads off. Wouldn’t it be better if we don’t ruin another person’s life because of nonsense made-up gossips?

  9. Thanks Koala! I had heard about this when it was happening and I was just appalled. It just seems like a rapper would have NO reason to lie about something like that. I can’t believe those people wouldn’t think it’s true. It’s just really crazy the type of people out there. I totally believe that these people are out there and even me, a complete nobody, has been accused of a few conspiracies myself by none other than my sister’s ridiculous irrational and insane in laws. These people must be really crazy to accuse Tablo. The fact that Koreans, and asians in general in the US, are super smart and can do a lot of things is not unusual at all. I hardly think it’s shocking that he went to a top US school. I think it’s super amazing and wonderful that he went to Stanford and graduate with those degrees πŸ™‚ Good for him.

    I really hope that he can recover from the emotional turmoil, especially being a dad and stuff. I hope he can show them all that he’s better than that and these haters – screw them. He deserves so much better. While I didn’t go to Stanford, I hope he can be a proud alumni. Btw – I don’t attend or participate in all those alumni activities at my alma mater but I don’t think that in any way makes me any less of a proud alumni and graduate. And also – don’t those alumni groups have you on some sort of hundreds of listservs and what not – couldn’t it have been quite easy to confirm if he was an alumni (I mean for the alumni association to confirm it)? I know I get tons of emails from my alma mater and it’s associated alumni associations. I don’t know… I think the Stanford alumni group should have helped out a fellow alumnus. But ultimately, it’s not their fault, it’s the crazy netizens. Don’t people have a heart?

  10. πŸ™ I can’t imagine how he felt during the attack, me a bystander, felts so much rage, anguish, sadness for him… And to top it off the attacker escaped with nothing??!! Jealous people are scary bunch….

  11. The person who’s behind it, even when identified, could not be brought to court for deframing another knowingly??? That’s sheer ugliness. And shame, shame, shame, on those who merely went on rumours without just cause.

    That’s got to be a saddest case of lynch-mob internet style that’s been seen. Have read briefly about this case when it happened, but the extent of it, I just got it in the article.

    Thanks Ms K for this. And really sorry, he went through this.

  12. Hello Koala,

    I am one of your avid followers and although I have browsed and read through hundreds of your wonderful posts I have never felt the need to comment…until now. This is simply heartbreaking. I can never understand why people love putting other people down, especially if its your own race. What upset me the most was how his fellow alumnis didn’t want to help him…that is just ridiculous! As lovedramas said, it is not surprising that Asians (particularly Koreans) graduate from top schools in the Western world. I should know, my kidney specialist is Korean and he is the smartest doctor I know…don’t people from Korea know that their fellow koreans in America, Australia and other Western countries are looked up to because they are so smart? I dunno…it just pains me so much to think about how much Daniel and his family has suffered because of people’s jealousy. Really very cowardly indeed for these people to attack him, yet when given facts they still turn a blind eye. Never can understand people sometimes…but hopefully this will be a lesson for all. Maybe someday in the not too distant future we will again be able to witness the talent that is Daniel Lee. For now, I wish him and his family all the best as they go through, I guess, a healing process after everything πŸ™‚

  13. Oh, yeah this kind of hatred has been fermenting online for a while. Check any youtube comments for any video and you’ll see hate and filth. I scour favorite online news and blogs, I see the same thing. I don’t know what to say except that if you are not going to say something rude to a person to their face, then the same rule applies to internet. Do not post hateful comments. You can have a different opinion but it can be done in a civilized manner. I applaud Tablo for standing up to such hatred and bigotry. Seriously, people pointing fingers at his credibility are stupid. Graduating from Stanford is a great thing and you do not need to come from a ghetto to tell a good story/message through your music. Infact, there are people who come from hard lives who end up having post secondary education. Gosh, sorry for the long comment but I am so mad.

  14. the truth is I got into korean music because of Epik High, tablo lyrics touch the heart of many souls like me. The fact that he is afraid to stand on stage and get nervous it makes me terrify. I am terrify that we might lose a great artist like Tablo. Epik high is not epik high without their leader their master mind tablo. The fact that netizens attack his family is by far the worst part for me. I feel helpless as a fan I can only read news through the internet and send message to a twitter that he had abandoned. I can only write message to an entertainment that he left because they did not protect. The only last thing I can do right now is pray….pray for tablo to regain his confidence, pray for his family to be healthy and nothing goes wrong, pray for epik high members to get out of the army safely and be by tablo side. I might be a kpop fan but I wouldn’t be in this kpop fanatic if it wasn’t for tablo and his interaction with idols.

  15. Tears just started flowing as i read this. So saddened that another human being could be so cruel and thoughtless. What did these netizens gain in the end? I do hope and pray that the scars that Tablo and his family have from this witch hunt will be healed. It will take time but we are rooting for them.

  16. This is really a very sad story. I don’t understand why there are people who seemed to have made it their mission to pull successful people down. Smear and hate campaigns – I just don’t get them. Actually it’s the same with dramas… there are individuals who just love to criticize and douse others’ enthusiasm. And doing it over the web – it’s sheer cowardice because you are virtually anonymous. I don’t know Tablo and this is the first time I read about his story. My heart bleeds for him and his family. I pray for them strength, comfort and peace.

  17. Pheeeew. I wanted to cry reading the article. I mean how-could they do it to Tablo after all those support confirming his identity.
    I guess it’ll never be enough for them to torture him and fam.
    Hope everything will be better for him. And hope he reads ur blog and feels the strenght of support u’ve given him. I hope there’s some law in korea dealing with cyber crime to protect those who’s being wronged.
    Is there anything I can do to let Tablo know that people like us exist..the ones that refuse to do what the antis do.
    I fell sorry and just want to do something to defend him:)

  18. Thank you madam K for sharing this story with us… My heart goes to Tablo and his family for their painful ordeal… I know it will take a lot of time to heal and get over this and I pray that they become stronger soon enough… For us netizens, let this also be a reminder to everyone that we have the responsibility to every word that comes out of our fingers as we type… A person’s life could be at risk just because we said something reckless… I don’t think this only happens in SK, it happens everywhere… and a persecution of any kind is never a good thing… Let us not forget, if we can’t say/type something good or uplifting (regardless if that person deserves it or not), we better not say/type anything at all… God bless… πŸ™‚

  19. Thank you so much for providing us the link to the article Koala…though I had heard about the controversies I had never thought that the crazy had extended this far…..Himne Table and KHJ!!!!

  20. I just don’t understand how people could willingly and knowingly try to bring someone down with false claims. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps they were just expressing skepticism at first, but even if that were the case, the scandal shouldn’t have spiraled out of control. Tablo gave evidence whenever necessary, so why didn’t they stop? Stanford gave evidence as well. Is that not enough? I just can’t grasp why the netizens could have let it get so far when the truth was right there.

  21. I read the article and I cried! Right after I wish I could find his email or his official website to tell him I’m sorry he went through something so horrible. I love his rap. It has depth and meaning. I just hope he gets encouragement from the world to get back on his feet. Those cowards behind the computer just plain hate themselves because there is this man who is talented, smart, and genuine. Apparently, they just can’t handle that.

    Thanks Madam Koala for this post. Truly, your blog keeps me entertained and informed.

  22. OMG! I heard about this but I didn’t think it had blown this big. I’m still tearing after reading the Stanford article. These netizens are really crazy! Tablo is a very talented guy, it would be a waste to lose him.

    Tablo-ssi, hang in there. Don’t let this get you down or give you crazy thoughts. Think of your family, especially your son and find the strength to live on, okay? It may seem like millions hate you, but be assured that your fans and believers far outnumber the haters. Your attackers are just jealous of what you’ve accomplished. And if Korea (the cowardly netizens who hide behind anonymity, at least) would still insist on destroying you, remember that there is a much bigger world stage that will embrace you.

    The truth is on your side. Tablo-ssi, hwaiting!

    • oh my gosh this is disgusting. the sufferings of this young man.
      and to think they might get away with it.how can people believed them.how can they be so easy manipulated by lies.
      are those people responsible can be punish to the fullest extent of the law?that korean guy in the states sue him here.
      thank you ms. koala for the informations.
      i hope tablo can fully recover.God bless you.
      momche
      momche

  23. ockoala, thank you so much for sharing this with us. this is truly heartbreaking. it scares me how internet anonymity can spur people to spread so much hate. i feel like this kind of netizen craziness is especially prevalent in korea (jaebum kicked out of 2pm, choi jin shil’s suicide); my guess is that it has to do with korea being the most wired nation in the world. but as the article points out, i think lee’s canadian citizenship made his credentials that much more suspicious to the netizens’ eyes. it’s interesting, but also disturbing how contentious the issue of national identity is in korea, and how much it can play into public sentiments regarding a celebrity figure. i feel for tablo and his family, and i hope he can recover one day. i was never a big fan of epik high, but i really respected their music and creativity. one day, when tukutz and mithra return from military duty, they WILL reunite and show them haters. tablo, fighting!!
    also, i’ll be re-posting this onto my fb. hope you don’t mind, ockoala!

  24. I am a big fan of Epik High n love all the songs they’ve produced. Their songs always lifted up my mood, until.. this crazy defamation of character/name movement by netizens/anti-fans happened.

    After that tragedy happened to him, to date~ I can’t listen to Epik High song without feeling his pain n sheding tears.. Any songs always reminds me of what happen to a genius artist named Tablo.

    I follow his twitter.. Now I can’t read it since it was sooo sad to read.

    I wish I could shout outloud and tell him this: ‘We all feel the pain you’re suffering by this.. But please, don’t be afraid of the cowards.. Keep moving on w/ what you love doing.. Many fans across the globe are still and forever will support you to get through this difficult times.. Love you Tablo! Fighting!”

    –Now, I’m back crying for lovely n talented Tablo

  25. You just reminded me why I find myself hesitant to consider returning to Korea and building a life there.

    Koreans and the premium they place on saving face, on hearsay reputation… Of their tendency to send out the sacrificial lamb all too readily.

    Where is the law on this? Why won’t they go after the netizens for slander? Tablo isn’t their only victim. From what I gather, other actors/actresses have succumbed to their pressure in the past few years. If the Law with capital L in Korea doesn’t pursue legal action to the fullest extent possible, netizens will continue to wield their egregious power. These pathetic losers (I don’t care how accomplished they may be, for they are major losers if they’re spending their energies trying to take down a musician.) will keep on with their malicious ways until the Law makes an example of them in a big way. I hope they’re made to pay for the lives they’ve destroyed with such utter disregard.

    • Just to clarify since I see in my post a potential for misreading – I read the Stanford article and saw that the Law has begun prosecuting, but why haven’t they simply arrested the 57-year-old Chicagoan businessman? Why wait for him to respond to the summons? If it is truly an international warrant, valid even in Chicago, why not simply get local assistance in having him be extradited?

  26. I read this on the Stanford Magazine and was very happy to hear that Stanford supported Tablo and helped him clear his name. I’m disappointed that he was pushed to his limits to prove something like his education.

  27. This is just so ridiculous. Honestly, who cares if an artist has gotten their masters or not, it has absolutely no effect on the music they produce. People can still be effected and moved by their music. For netizens to have the nerve to publicly stone an artist is just so absurd, and I will never understand what triggers them to act this way. The sad thing is, even though I hope this will be the last of all scandals involving netizens, I know that this cruel cycle will only repeat itself over and over again.

  28. I read your post, and your link. I did not even know who Tablo was until your post, nor heard any of his songs, but my God, my tears just flowed. What a shame! This is something no one, regardless of race, sex, religion or what not should experience. I did not realize people can be this malicious. I pray that wounds inflicted on him and his family and friends would heal quickly. Those who are guilty should pay their dues. Thank you for posting this koala. The impact of words should be consider before we write anything impulsively in the web. With tremendous power comes tremendous responsibility.

  29. Hi ms. K, this news bothered me a lot. I am a K ent follower, and noticed that netizens could be harsh on their celebrities. Famous stars, I noticed are restricted on their actions. They are not even free to have an open romantic relationship with someone they like. As like in the case of Kwon Sang Woo.

    It is disheartening the suffering of Tablo. Hopefully netizens be more open minded.

    May I also repost this on my blog ms. K? I want to help dessiminate this info and at least help the situation get a bit better. Thanks πŸ™‚

  30. What they did to Tablo is the highest form of envy. They wanted that achievement so badly for themselves but unfortunately for them, they cannot. Shame on this people. They’re psychos. That’s why these days, koreans are so obsessed with how they look externally to the point of undergoing cosmetic surgery. And even parents would gift their kids money for the surgery. My goodness! What has the world turned into? This cyber nitpicking have created a monster nightmare — if you don’t have double eye-lids, you’re ugly, if you don’t have straight legs, you’re ugly, if you have crow’s feet, crooked teeth, you’re ugly. If you’re not flawlessly fair-skinned, you’re ugly, if you’re already old, you’re ugly. Get a life! I hope their conscience will not let them have a peaceful sleep at night. What’s wrong with being smart and musically talented? Grow up! I am based in North America and an Asian at that and even though Asians are still being treated by some as second class citizens, people who discriminates Asians cannot deny the fact that we’re smart, talented and a lot more human and the every essence of the word.

    Tablo, that’s the spirit. And should be a mantra to us all. We don’t let people bring us down. Respect should be given where it is due. Envy is the downfall of all.

  31. I have reposted the Stanford article at Asianfanatics news :

    http://asianfanatics.net/forum/topic/755667-stanford-magazine-writes-about-the-korean-netizens-persecution-of-tablo/

    Hope that this will be a good wake-up call and reminder for everyone (including myself) who post opinions online.

    But even as I write this, I already see a post (at AF) which did not seem to see focal point of this article but instead questioned that Stanford should publish this article. Must say it was disappointing to read that. But hope this will just be the exception and that many more will understand why Stanford stood up for Daniel Lee.

  32. wow. i’ve only heard of tablo’s story in passing and never knew it was this bad. persecuted for being smart, and his entire family suffered for it too. i really hope they completely recover from this.

    funny that the main aggressor is now saying he is “angry they are treating me like a suspect when they have not confirmed I am a criminal”. didn’t they treat tablo the same way?

  33. Oh my! This is bad. No wonder a lot of Korean celebs took the easy way out, meaning committing suicide. It is not only confine to SK but happening around the world & a lot of celebrities suffered from this too but I think it is more rampant in there & every celebs experienced it.

  34. this news is really shocking, heartbreaking and maddenning…my heart goes out in salute to Tablo’s courage in fighting this one out….Hope he and his family be able to feel secured and comfortable in his own country again…

  35. I knew Tablo from Xman era, i loved him as the one of the male chosen by YEH as her partner in some of the episodes. I know he is a rapper, but never know he is that good that many people in Korea loved his songs. I’m too glued to YEH. However, i found him so charming cause he was so funny back then. I know bout ‘this news’ really just now.

    I love South Korea so much; the drama, the artists, the language, the manner and attitude…. but after reading your post, Koala, it seems that ‘the manner and attitude’ downgrade my judge to a BIG QUESTION MARK.
    I learnt the Korean manners, of course, from the celebrity… the dramas, the interviews, reality shows, their songs, etc… Judging from all of that, i’m instantly in love with how the way they talk to the ones older or younger, how they always bow to show their respect, the way they cover their mouth or face when they laugh. Its SIMPLY make me fall in love of their manner and attitude for sure!

    After reading the news, now i’m questioning “are these manners are not applied to the real people of netizen of Korea?” I’m sorry if these words offended you, but i’m not meant to. I’m not Korean but still an Asian, but the celebrity’s life of their past, present, and future is not THAT IMPORTANT to be our worried in my country. Yes, we happy for their achievement, their life of marriage, etc. We condolence for their lost circumtance. But we rarely try to do something like these kind of pple in the news. Those ppl seems like really have a mission to destroy Tablo.

    The truth of Tablo story is already there in front of their eyes, but just like the Stanford Registrar’s office, Black stated, ‘they don’t want the truth. They dismiss everything that doesn’t align with what they already believe’. I don’t know what leads these kind of people could turn to be so evil to one human. Digging bout hist past, bad mounthing him, even threatening his family… whats the advantage for them doing that?? and after all of those nightmare they given, are they feel sorry after humiliating Tablo whom now proven all he said was TRUE. Nah, they’re disappear just that instant. Hah, ashame of a coward.

    My deepest pray goes for Tablo and his big family. I believe God must be love him so much. Tablo could pass His test and not given up. Tablo still surrounding by true friends supporting him. Let these warm of love and friendship heal his wound till the main time he ready to stand again. Thus, also let God handle ‘the rest’ (those kind of people. GAH! I hate those coward ppl so much).

  36. My heart goes out to him and his family. I only discovered Epik High this past year, at the tail end of that witch hunt, and they quickly became my favorite playlist… What happened to Tablo is so disturbing and surreal. I hope he is able to get his confidence and faith back to be at ease in his daily life and to get back to music and performing.

  37. I’ve read about Tablo case on Allkpop and I feel so sorry for him. Hope that those responsible for his suffering will not get away with it. It’s simply horrifying that some netizens will go to that kind of extent to ruin other people’s lives.

  38. After reading this post, I really have nothing to say. It’s remarkable at how speechless I am at these netizens. I don’t know if I’ve been living in a bubble all my life, but seriously? There’s really no other word for this besides pure malice and the desire to tear apart another human being. After reading the article, the only word I can use to describe the feeling welling up inside was outrage. What the hell, netizens? Here’s a man who worked hard to create music to entertain YOU, and you try to destroy the man for having graduated from a prestigious university? I actually understood the initial intentions, having grown up seeing the fervor Korean students and parents work themselves into, trying to earn the best credentials, but to continue to be stubborn up to the point where it’s purely IDIOTIC upon the face of evidence after evidence of his diploma’s authenticity?
    I’m Korean-American, so I had heard about their investigations and suspicions about his graduation but had no idea about the extent these netizens worked themselves into. This is really just embarrassing for those netizens, and I never want to see something like this again.

  39. I don’t understand what does it matter to people where he graduated in the first place. Like why do they think they have the right to accuse someone in the first place? Doesn’t all it matters for them is how well he sings. His credentials may show how knowledgeable he is, but doesn’t that show through the way he present himself in interviews, and to people and fans? I can get how one person can be skeptical, but what about all those thousands of people that joined in? And whats this whole thing of his family suffering too because of that? It is heartbreaking enough that he needed to proof himself time and time again, but getting a stage fright? Its like those people destroyed a person career, and maybe his life, by sitting behind the computer and being insensitive, mean and selfish!

  40. I wanted to let you know Ms Koala that I am grateful to you for sharing this article. I read your blog because you cover entertainment and not the entertainment industry. I feel sad that this young man was put through hell but I hope people can learn the power of the internet. I don’t like criticizing another country or race but before I started watching Korean dramas, I did not know what an anti was. The fact that suicides are more common in Korean entertainment also says a lot. I will say what I have said before, that the Korean agencies have a lot to do with this anti thing and that here in the US we are more tolerant so we don’t ruin someone’s career just because we don’t like him. Netizens are crazy to threaten a life.
    Thank you for allowing this troll to voice her opinion.

  41. The most vocal attacker is complaining that he’s being treated like a suspect without proof??? That is absolutely hilarious. I really hope he is punished in some way. I understand the initial skepticism (wow how’d he do it so fast etc) but given proof, just accept it and be happy for him, not jealous!

    These kinds of incidents are really embarrassing for SK, I’m sad to say. It tarnishes the world’s view of the country when people can be so irrationally cruel and downright stupid. So what if he has Canadian citizenship? It’s a Citizenship! Please Netizens, let’s try to not be so pathetic, okay? Get a life.

  42. I read K-showbiz-oriented websites so I know Epik High but I am not a fan of K-Pop so I don’t know the members and its music until now. I never heard of this controversy until now and it’s odd that the last article I read about them, about 3 years ago, I think, was about Epik High’s world tour concert and now, I just read how netizens could destroy a peron’s life who did nothing but just rap and enjoywhat he does the best.

    I love Korea because of its wonderful dramas but I am not blind to the fact, since my mom always told me, that some Koreans, emphasize on the ‘some’, have the tendency to become crazy and do inhumane things. This just proves it. What amuses me is that the haters, especially their 59-y/o leader, actually spent a lot of their time doing all the research just to prove Tablo’s a liar. I mean, what do they get from it? Will destroying a successful rapper’s star make them greater than they were before? They’re sick. Really sick.

    I couldn’t imagine just how Tablo feels with all the depression this controversy caused him to the extent that his family got involved with it which is the most painful part. Realizing the achievements Tablo reached prior to this, he must’ve been really great. I pity Korea for losing someone like him. I hope Tablo and his family recovers from the trauma though I am sure their lives could never be the same again. I actually look up to them for being so strong, enduring all those pointless hatred and not going to the extent of committing suicide (since it’s not new to our knowledge that some actors in Korea had committed suicide after encountering scandals or such).

  43. When I first got wind of what Tablo was going through I was sooo LIVID. Like I was disgusted from the recesses of my very soul. I shook when I read about what these netizen’s were doing. Itw as horrible. Even if he had made it up what then? What is it to other people. I seriously can not understand what makes people think that its ok to do things like this. I still feel it for tablo. I wish he had just stuck his middle finger up to the haters, but that still wouldnt do anything to calm his nerves, especially about the safety of his family. It was all just soo ridiculous. Im spewing complete anger here, but I still cant get over it. Thats why you have to look to god and ask him to help, because when the world turns on you (as it is wont to do) god will always be there.

  44. I never thought that netizens have such a nasty side. Couldn’t they have resolved this like normal people would do.What a traumatic experience for Tablo, his family and us who read how horribly out of hand this had gotten, to the point where Tablo and his family and any one who vouched for him got death threats . Just thinking about what i’ve just read still gives me the chills.
    Regarding the most vocal attacker of Tablo. Hope they catch him,lock him up and throw away the keys into the deepest abyss. And he’s a 57 yr old businessman. he should have atleast had the decency to act like an adult and stop hiding behind a screen under an anonymous. Shame on him. He disgusts me.

  45. Hello,

    I followed Tablo’s controversies when it occured and was totally appaled to see how citizens can destroy one’s lives just being mindless and noisy. Seriously, what matter is it to you what he did in his life, which school he went to ? To question this OK but to begin a witch hunt like that is totally STUPID. I’m always shocked when I see what korean citizens are capable of, as much as I love korean culture.
    I seriously think that the crazy antics of some of them are really SCARY.

    I hope you don’t mind i shared the story by tipping Allkpop :S I felt so sad for tablo, i wanted to have much more people reading about it and possibly reflect on it..

    I hope Tablo will recovered and korean stars who are constantly under scrutiny from citizens will grow stronger !!
    I can’t believe one of the most active attacker of Tablo is 57. Isn’t a businessman busy ? Why ? And to not recognise his error after that. I just don’t understand.

    • Tipping allkpop!!! Just exactly what i was thinking..everyone should. This should be read and raise the awareness of many on how words can be the sharpest sword.

  46. I heard about this while it was happening, but didn’t know the EXTENT of this modern day witch hunt. I knew about Tablo’s credentials, and simply believed they were true. Why would a rapper bother to make up such amazing credentials? I believed they were real, so didn’t really find the need to follow the news on this event.

    I hope Tablo and his family are taking time to recover from this, and can one day come back confidently. His fellow Epik High members are in the military (I think?), so it must’ve been hard for him. I’m sure having his members would have helped. The almuni that didn’t help out… I understand their fears and concerns, but still, what a shame.

    I also teared up towards the end of the article. Netizens are always called crazy and whatnot, but this case is truly a sign of netizens getting way too out of control.

    Furthermore, the 57 year old man… wow… I can’t imagine why someone living all the way in Chicago and is almost 60 would even care so much about a rapper’s credentials. It’s true that Asians are obsessed with educational success, but that doesn’t mean anyone has the right to go to this extent to defame and attack someone. Denying the truth even when it was in their faces shows just how bored and how swept up by everything these ‘anonymous’ netizens were. It’s a shame that the people responsible for causing Tablo and his family trauma have not be punished.

    I wish Tablo lots of luck and wish he can return to stage one day. I went to an Epik High concert, and it was an amazing experience. Tablo belongs on the stage with his talent. When he returns, I’m sure he’ll have his loyal fans waiting to welcome him back.

    Finally, I hope there will be no more modern day witch hunts. Wanting to know the truth is understandable, but this method is wrong in just about every way.

    Thank you for sharing this article, Ms. Koala. I hope you don’t mind that I will be sharing it with my friends.

  47. I didn’t know how bad it went for Tablo. The entire situation is just surreal with very painful and harmful real-world ramnifications. My eyebrows went up when I got to the point where they were describing how those horrid people were saying that he wasn’t who he was. But the worse thing is how other people reacted to those vicious lies. The network that fired his brother should be sued. The alumni association as a group should be ashamed of themselves ( showed they were a bunch of cowards with inferiority/superiority complex)–their failure to act made them as guilty as the original twisted perpetrators of this crime. Yes, CRIME!!! As for those 20 people, they should be prosecuted and jailed. If the government fails to do so, it shows how inept they are at protecting innocent people. And looking at the big picture, if they can do this to celebrities and get away with it–what more with ordinary folks without power? Random…Dokko Jin should’ve persecuted all those netizens who flamed Gu Aejung!!!

    Having said that, I think that slander and all sorts of nasty things happen in cyber fandom a lot–but of course, it’s not the same level as the attacks on Korean celebs. People just think that since they’re “anonymous” they have the right to hurt other people. I don’t think they can do that if they knew that they weren’t nameless so called “netizens”.

  48. OMG i really cant comprehend this kind of things! why are these netizens are so obsessed with details of celebrities so much and stuff. and i read the article and i am shocked to see that a 57 year old man is one started this. where are the people of this world going?

  49. Can’t he report them to police like Dok Go Jin did? I know DokGo is fictional, but in reality, can’t it be done? I thought that to be able to comment online/use internet it Korea you have to register with true identity such as id number, social security number, etc. The law happened because this very exact reason, the online attack that leads to suicides. If they still cannot be reported till now, what’s the use of that law? It baffles me.

    Sorry to say, but it made me think that Korean ppl are just some barbaric low life creatures. Humans are made with compassion, if they cannot show/feel it, might as well be an animal. Harsh, I know.

  50. keep fighthing Mr.Lee!! go back to the stage n i’ll waiting in line to have ur autograph..
    tq Koala Mam 4 sharing this..

  51. I’ve come across some negative blogs, comments, articles about Tablo last year n made me cringe, cried, took courage n responded to a few. like majority of us foreigners, we were dumbfounded at the malicious attacks towards this kartist about his education (it’s true he graduated from Stamford), n yes it’s because of some ppls ignorance, pettiness, jealousy to name a few. Not just to Tablo but to other kentertainers as well. how easy for them to pull other ppl down without thought. it’s a terrible terrible shame.

  52. Thanks, Koala…saved the article to send to friends…I had read a little about this modern-day lynch mob situation, but when I read the article I realized the horror of it all. This would make a great movie.

  53. I am grateful to you for sharing this article,
    I’m sure God will heal physical or mental injury suffered by tableaux, behind all the events into learning for all people to appreciate the opinions, talents, abilities of others … If you do not like do not judge let alone hurt.
    For the family tableau may they be given fortitude, beautiful in its time … Thanks to God always be with his family, and those that harm them immediately apologize before God’s punishment comes upon you who have been hurt and their family tableau. Because if God is angry with His sentence over the world to punish you.

  54. What TaJinYo did to Daniel Lee was particularly vicious. Tablo’s achievements are phenomenal, his musical genius is astounding; his rise to fame is meteoric, he broke through the international market and established himself as a hip-hop artist to be reckoned with. Being an alumnus of Stanford was pretty much like icing on the cake and a red flag for the people who are green with envy. As I read through the whole piece, I grew increasingly horrified at what cyber bullying can do. This group behaved more than just like a lynch mob, they acted like they were brain washed, more cult like in behavior. It’s scary to be the target of a deranged group of netizens. Tablo’s fear and paranoia is perfectly understandable. I sincerely hope he and his family can get over this. His talent should be allowed to flourish! I understand that in Korea they have this cyber defamation law that is stuck in congress due to strong opposition from some law-makers. They have been pushing legislation for this since most celebrities in the K-ent industry are vulnerable and some have even committed suicide.

    Thank you Koala for sharing this piece of news. It’s very enlightening.

  55. I read this case on some blogs discussing Korean celebrities a year ago and I didn’t really follow it. I was just very concerned then that a talented & accomplished rapper & musician like Tablo can be entangled in this mess. I’ve never thought this case can be very complicated which involving every one related to him. It just astounded me to know that it made a deep & horrifying impact to everyone around Tablo including his family & friends. It make me sad some people (TanJinYo) were so vicious & irresponsible that they didn’t care how their act can make people’s life suffered. I’m really sorry for Tablo & his family for having to go through this horrible experience. Hoping he can overcome this and can be backed to what he’s good at. Raping & making a good song. Be strong Tablo πŸ™‚

  56. I love Epik high’s music. And i have grown to love and respect Tablo more after watching him on CNN and some Korean variety show. He is one humble guy who speaks with tons of wisdom!
    When this rumour breaks back then, i thought it would be one of those which will fade away just like any other rumours and yet it doesn’t. Instead it have grown so out of control. I seriously do not understand the actions of the netizens to doubt him. Have he convicted any crime or murder with his credential?!have he done any harm?the answer is NO. I really wonder does it cross their mind that their act is so idiotic and ugly looking. Protesting to ask a hip hop rapper to prove his credential. After he did, they doubted and insist it is a fraud. Worse part, even with the University providing letters, they only admit ANOTHER Daniel Lee graduated from Stanford. Do they think Stanford is do dumb to not know who are they asking about? Are they doubting the facts given?! Do they even know what does doubting Stanford means? Maybe they should Google or yahoo about it. Or maybe not since the co founder of both search engine are graduates from Stanford, so the results returned are most probably made up by themselves *roll eyes sarcastically*. I teared while reading “I was doing everything they asked and it was never good enough,” Lee says. “That’s when I realized that they weren’t looking for answers, they just wanted to destroy me.”. I can’t imagine what it is like to have people wanting to destroy you. People who don’t even know you, people who you don’t even know existed. Seriously, k netizens just make a big fool of themselves from this case. Hopefully they are ashamed of their deadly comments now that this is cleared and not just sit and wait for next target (which most probably is). K ent are really entertaining but never the industry.
    I wish Tablo would just leave Korea and go back to Canada or states and resume his music career elsewhere. Start all over and come back with better music to prove what have they missed. This man should just leave that country and live with those who love and appreciate him.

    • amen to that, tablo is amazing and i just wish the other members come back from the army soon, the guy needs some support… i wish him the best of luck in everything, he’s been though to much

  57. This is one clear example of abuse of the freedom of expression. Media specifically the internet facility is used as a very strong tool to malign a person (a not deserving one at that). When do we ever learn to have a mind of our own? Learn how to analyze the importance of any kind of information we get from unconfirmed and even unknown source? Bottom line is the netizens (dunno if this term only applies to Korea) needs to be given a lesson on responsibility in giving and receiving and processing of any information.

    That’s why the net is dangerous – bad elements hide in its anonymity. We have to be vigilant in countering such. . .

  58. I’m kind of aware of this issue before. I felt sad for Tablo. I believed him from the start because that’s Stanford & I don’t believe they can be paid any amount just to continue that lie. I don’t know how the mean netizens still can think of other reasons when Tablo repeatedly shows evidence for them to believe him.

    They ruined him. He’s such a great talent and at one blink, he’s damaged. That’s pretty sh*tty. Good thing Tablo managed to be strong amidst everything. I also admired his wife for not leaving him during those dark days.

    I wish this won’t happen ever again to any celebrities. I hope the netizens will stop accusing, judging and defaming celebrities. Destroying someone’s credibility and status especially if they’re not even correct with their judgment won’t get them anywhere.

  59. I knew what happened to Tablo was horrifying, but reading the article, the situation was much worse than what I had imagined or heard. I can’t believe they persecuted his family and friends, too! I hope this the Stanford article can be translated into korean, so people can get the story of how Tablo was affected. Like someone in the article said, it was a witch-hunt. Tablo is an entertainer, not some public official or a relative of someone super-important- what reason is there to suspect that so many people would participate in a conspiracy with him to lie abt his credentials?

    I wonder what those haters thought when they found out that they were being lead by some aging ahjusshi from the US who fraudulently used someone else’s ID to create that hate-cafe. Man, what a way to bring embarrassment to South Korea and its people.

    Knowing that it was MBC who had the guts to look at this controversy head-on and vindicate Tablo, they will always have a place in my heart. And I hope his brother sues that broadcasting network for firing him unjustly. Or better yet, get hired at an even better broadcasting network.

    • And furthermore, the doubt regarding Tablo’s credentials despite the responses and statements from Stanford officials makes me wonder about the officials at South korean universities….

  60. My reaction was identical to my fellow “playgrounders” who previously shared their thoughts and feelings above on this terrible persecution.

    Been spreading the article around. Thanks for pointing it out to us, Mrs Koala.

  61. Thanks for sharing this. I enjoy Tablo’s poetic lyrics and I do hope he gets to share the brilliance of his music once again. I pray that he will be healed from all this anguish that was unduly caused to him. The Lord vindicated Tablo and I am sure He will be avenging Tablo as well.

  62. I just read this article and I can’t believe the amount of things Tablo had to do to prove that he graduated from Stanford with his BA and MA. As I read more of it I can’t help but ask those “netizens” ever heard of people double majoring and yet graduating early, it’s called hard work and dedication. Understandably the scrutiny his under can cause major amounts of stress that I hope he gets over. Thanks for sharing this since I didn’t really know what the scandal was about.

  63. I would like to avoid making a sweeping statement as I have in my circle of friends some of the nicest, most thoughtful, and most level-headed Koreans.

    But yes, I am deeply disturbed at the absurdity of the Korean netizens’ cause! Pinning down and giving death threats to a person because of his educational background?!!!!! If not for my faith in God and His infinite patience in men, I would think that the world has gone to the dogs!!!!! I thought Koreans are very hard-working people? How can 200,000 Korean netizens even have the TIME and the misguided zeal to pursue such a ridiculous pursuit?

    I have read of the high rate of suicide in that country, many of whom are celebrities. The tide must be stopped. Building up, not tearing down is the wise way to live one’s life.

  64. Like momosan I’m an avid fan of Epik High, I read about the troubles that Tablo was having but I have no idea of its extent and virulence. I’m not a Korean speaker but music breaks barriers through its complex melodies and engaging lyrics so I’m not surprised that their music became no 1 on itunes. To destroy such talent using the anonymity of the internet is such a cowardly action and it surprised me that the main agitator the head honcho of them all is a “57-year-old Korean-American businessman living in Chicago”, what is wrong with him and what is wrong with those 200,000 thousand people willing to follow this guy on his witch hunt expedition. The fact that he lives in the states would make him familiar on how the school system works and if he was that avid he could have gone to Stanford to verify things himself if he was after the truth. But then from what has been written he is not after the truth he is after destruction and he had a whole anonymous army with him.
    One of my favorite quotes is “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” or that good men procrastinate. As late as it may be I would like to offer my support to Tablo and his family, hang in there and know that there are people who believe in your talent and integrity.
    I remember watching a cartoon when I was young, I could no longer remember what it was about or what it was called but there was one scene that stayed in my mind. After long years of battle both opposing army were tired. During an impasse a soldier who was looking at a butterfly asked the question, if I don’t fight would there still be a war? Then he threw his gun and walked away, another soldier followed him then another and another. We don’t have to be mindless drones we have to think for ourselves and what our conscience dictates.

  65. First, thanks ockoala for sharing this with everyone. And props to you for graduating from Stanford as well! I knew you were one smart cookie, even if our drama tastes don’t always mesh. πŸ˜‰

    I had never heard about this before but it is really a shame. I hope this documentary will give him some vindication and hopefully enough positive response and love from fans etc to help him begin healing.

  66. Doesn’t cyberspace have IP addresses and they can trace where those written attacks were sent from? There should be a way.. I really feel for him. Thanks for letting us know about this . I hope to see him well again. To Daniel, this too will pass.. Good Luck

  67. This is the first time I’ve heard about Epik High and Tablo, but towards the last part of the article, I couldn’t help but shed tears. What the netizens did were really overboard.

  68. I’ve heard about this news before but I never really knew the reason why ANONYMOUS NETIZENS accused him of fraud. Some fans/ANTI-FANS can really take things to new heights, it’s crazy. I hope he’s okay.

  69. Thank you misskoala for the sharing this brilliant article..tsk tsk..cyberbullying has truly become worse nowaday πŸ™
    honestly, i don’t know much about Tablo’s controversy but i do agree that what the freakin’ b*stard netizens said was just really bad..They are very immature and irresponsible..they don’t know that what they’re saying can really be destructive to public figures like him..I’ve read a lot of post in some websites where netizens insults korean stars/idols by saying rumors without giving credible justification..Is there no law in Korea that can protect the not only those public figures but everyone from being bullied online??
    I admire South Korean for being a good country, for their good korean dramas and actors but i’m quite disappointed at how those netizen behave, bashing..insulting korean..naaahh they should learn how to be responsible for whatever words they say and whatever things they post online.. because those things will be permanent on the web and truly those things can greatly affect anyone’s life..having an access to the internet doesn’t mean that they have the right to bully or say something bad to anyone THEY SHOULD THINK BEFORE THEY CLICK

  70. Kamsahamnida Ms. Koala for this… Cyber bulling is dangerous and scary. There should be an international law on this. Whether you are a 57 year-old mean and nasty OLD Korean man living in the US, living in Korea or anywhere in the world, those people should be brought to justice and punished for their crimes. Korea as a country should feel ashamed, double ashamed…

    Tablo Daniel Lee, you have been blessed with the smarts and a good family, keep on going with your super talent for an even brighter future, FIGHTING…

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