On the 6th (KST), the Justice Party, one of the many political parties in Korea, nominated Ryu Ho-jung their number 1 representative through proportional representation. This meant that she was almost confirmed to be a member of the National Assembly, and she was on the way to become the youngest member in Korean history. However, all of this is turning to dust.
Ryu was once a chairwoman of a well-known esports club in Ewha Woman’s University, but she was dishonorably removed from her position when it was found out her League of Legends account was being shared by other people (boosted). After that, she built her career in various game companies, and after she was forced to resign while trying to set up a labor union, she entered the Justice Party.
When she was confirmed to be the number 1 representative, the National Election Commission raised voices of opposition. Many members of the National Assembly questioned her history of account sharing, and just as the name, ‘Justice Party’ suggests, her history of account sharing has resurfaced.
On the 10th (KST), a former pro gamer and a member of the National Assembly from the Democratic Party of Korea, Hwang Hee-doo, commented, “As a former pro gamer, many may think that the controversy over Ryu’s history of account sharing, but the issue of getting boosted in League of Legends is a very serious issue. ‘Dopa’, a well-known player within the LoL community, was stripped of his title as a professional player and had his account permanently banned, so it’s just like having someone else take an exam for you”
Ryu, once again, apologized, and said, “I was careless to let other people use my account, and it was a very wrong thing to do. It’s not something to be easily forgiven within the gaming community, and my wrongdoing raised a negative stereotype on the ability of female gamers. I once again deeply apologize to those that were disappointed by my actions, and am reflecting upon my carelessness with a heavy heart.”
However, this controversy became much more serious, when Lee Dong-sup, a member of the National Assembly who has always been actively interested in creating laws for Korean esports prepared a statement titled, ‘A question to the Justice Party and Ryu Ho-jung. What is justice?’. He commented, “I wholeheartedly welcome every young gamer trying to enter politics in Korea. Although I had high hopes for Ryu because of her diverse background in gaming, she wrote the issue off in her apology as ‘carelessness’.”
Lee suggested her to step down. He comments, “As the member of the National Assembly who proposed and passed the most amount of bills related to gaming, Ryu’s only using gaming as work experience. Stepping down from her position is the only way to truly apologize to the gaming community”.
It’s hard to project whether or not her dark history in gaming will prove to be an obstacle that she can’t overcome, which ultimately may mean her stepping down from her position. This issue far outgrew from just being another account-sharing issue, and now turned into a problem of justice and impartiality, which brought forth a wave of rage and attention to the gaming community and the industry. As many people, not just politicians, but also gamers, are seriously taking this issue, so this will mean a lot of red flags for her.
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