(UPDATE: July 19 at 9:27 pm KST) After both T1 and Faker’s legal team delivered their official statements, they held a Q&A session to answer questions from the media in attendance. Please scroll down to see a translation of the full Q&A session.
For years, LCK teams have suffered from online harassment and threats. More recently, K.T. Rolster was sent pictures of lethal weapons and even the weapon itself in the box in K.T.’s training room. The LCK teams have urged fans not to harass or threaten the players in any capacity, and have taken appropriate action in private.
On July 19, T1’s legal team filed a lawsuit against those who wrote malicious comments about Lee “Faker” Sang Hyuk. T1 and Faker’s legal team, Apex, made official statements in front of the Jongno Police Station for the first time and answered questions from various media outlets.
Official statement from Faker’s legal representatives
“Hello, this is Park Ji Won and No Yoo Hyun, legal representatives for Faker from APEX Law LLC.
Despite T1’s repeated requests for those who leave malicious comments, we found that not only were there more such comments, but there were more malicious ones. The player, the player’s family and all of his surroundings continue to suffer on a psychological level, so we had no choice to initiate a criminal case against those who left such hateful comments online.
Regarding Faker’s opinion on this matter, we are only prosecuting those who repeatedly and habitually leave such malicious comments, as he believed that these individuals should be severely punished. Thus, there will be no requests, no favorable arrangements.
Please be aware that our law firm will continue to monitor online comments to see if there are such hateful comments that could be criminally implicated against Faker and T1 players, and will actively take legal action to combat such harassment. We hope that a healthy and mature esports culture can be created to avoid similar lawsuits in the future.”
Official statement from T1 (translated)
“Today, T1 will file formal lawsuits against John Does from a certain online community who have consistently and repeatedly harassed Lee “Faker” Sang Hyuk with malicious comments.
Faker himself believes that objective assessments of a game and a player’s career by the fans are something that a professional player must endure. However, unfounded criticism and personal attacks are unacceptable.
We at T1 are determined to protect all of our affiliated members from unwarranted attacks. Earlier this year, we filed lawsuits against those who verbally attacked our coach Kim “The Moment” Jihwan, and today we are filing additional lawsuits against those who attacked Faker.
The lawsuits we are filing today are not one-off actions. T1 would like to clarify that if additional incidents of violations of the personal rights of our players arise, we will take active legal action to protect our players.
Freedom of speech should never defame or violate the rights of others. T1 will continue to do everything we can to protect our players and create a healthy esports culture.
Q&A session with the media in attendance (Translated, update: July 19, 9:27 pm KST)
Could you elaborate on how many people are being sued?
This is a small group of people. As this ongoing case is under investigation, we are unable to provide an exact number of people against whom we are suing. We did not sue all those who left hateful comments. As we stated in a statement earlier, we only took action against those who consistently left very malicious comments.
In addition, while monitoring various online communities, we learned that a small group of malicious messages from netizens make up the majority of all messages in these communities. The defendants are a small group of people who have consistently left such posts and comments since the beginning of the year.
How serious were these posts?
If I indicate the seriousness of such comments, then the identities of those we are suing may be exposed, so please understand that we are very careful in this regard. To give examples, it was slander aimed at Faker’s mother and drawings that would have been considered unspeakably dirty.
Some of the defendants were previously warned by the organization to stop posting hate comments. Despite this, they continue to ignore the warnings and keep going.
The claim is only filed under Article 311 of the Criminal Code?
Like this. This is only under the law of insult.
Are there ongoing legal actions against other T1 players?
Lawsuits by trainer Kim “The Moment” Jihwan were filed earlier this year and are pending. If it becomes necessary to sue other T1 members, we will take appropriate action.
Can you give us more details on the reasons behind the lawsuits?
As we stated earlier, despite the warnings from T1, these people have consistently posted malicious online comments. Since T1 had no choice but to continue these lawsuits, the organization and Faker himself wish that these people be properly punished.
So why now? Why did you decide that today is the right time to move forward and sue?
To combat such hate comments online, we created an in-house legal team this year. After MSI, the severity of these reports got much worse, so we felt the need to take drastic action.
Should the court decide in favor of Faker, what sentence do you expect?
Regarding the insult law in Korea, defendants are usually sentenced to a fine of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 KRW. [764.58 USD to 1529.17 USD]. However, depending on the seriousness and frequency of such insults, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment. In our case, since these people were very malicious and constantly insulted Faker, we believe that the sentence would be much more severe than a simple fine of 1-2 million won.
Depending on the outcome of this criminal case, are there any plans to file a civil suit?
At the moment we are advancing the criminal case. However, if further action is required, we will potentially discuss plans for a civil case as well.
After T1 filed a lawsuit, did anyone approach the organization for favorable terms?
The administration of the anti-fan community Faker contacted the organization and sent us a written apology. Also, with regards to the current lawsuit, since this is the first time we are publicly announcing the lawsuit, there has not been any contact with him yet.
Are there any plans to sue these online communities themselves for ignoring measures against such insults and slander?
They are required by law to monitor and take action against such hate messages and comments, and they are very cooperative with our requests so we are not concerned.
Incidents have recently occurred at kt Rolster where they were sent not only photos of deadly weapons but actual weapons shipped in a box to their practice room, essentially threatening the players and coaching staff. Were there similar incidents with T1?
There were no such cases with T1. While I don’t feel it’s out of place for me to speak on behalf of other organizations, I do agree that our CEO Joe Marsh tweeted about the KT incident on a personal level.
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