(UPDATE: July 19, 21:27 KST) After both T1 and Faker's legal team have provided their official statements, they held a Q&A session to answer questions from the media outlets that were present. Please scroll down below for a translation of the full Q&A Session.
For years, LCK teams have suffered from online harassment and threats. Most recently, kt Rolster was sent pictures of deadly weapons and even actual weapons in a box to KT’s practice room. LCK teams have urged the fans to not harass or threaten the players in any capacity, and have also taken appropriate action privately.
On July 19, T1’s legal team filed a lawsuit against those that wrote malicious comments towards Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. T1 and Faker's legal team, Apex, first provided official statements in front of Jongno Police Station, and answered questions from various media outlets.
An official statement from Faker's legal representatives (Translated, Update: July 19, 17:20 KST)
"Hello, this is Park Ji-won and Noh You-hyeon, Faker’s legal representatives from the law firm, APEX Law LLC.
Despite T1’s repeated requests towards those that leave malicious comments, we found that not only were there more of these comments, but also have gotten more malicious. The player, the player’s family, and all those around him continue to suffer on a mental level, so we had no choice to file a criminal lawsuit against those that left such spiteful online comments.
With respect to Faker’s opinion on this matter, we are filing criminal lawsuits only towards those that repeatedly and habitually left such malicious comments, as he felt that these individuals need to be severely sanctioned. As such, there will be no plea nor favorable arrangement deals.
Please be aware that our law firm will continue to monitor online comments to see if there are such spiteful comments that can be criminally implicated towards Faker and the T1 players, and will proactively take legal action to combat such harassment. We hope that a healthy and a mature esports culture can be established to avoid such legal action in the future."
An official statement from T1 (translated)
"Today, T1 will file official lawsuits against the John Does from a specific online community that have continuously and repeatedly harassed Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok via malicious comments.
Faker himself believes that objective assessments of a player’s performance and career from the fans are something that a pro player has to bear. However, unjustified criticism and personal attacks isn’t something to be accepted.
We at T1 are determined to protect everyone of our affiliated members from unjustified attacks. Earlier this year, we have filed lawsuits against those that have verbally attacked our coach, Kim “Moment” Ji-hwan, and today, we’re filing additional lawsuits against those that have attacked Faker.
The suits that we’re filing today are not one-off measures. T1 would like to clarify that should there be additional cases of those that violate the personal rights of our players, we will proactively take legal action to protect our players.
Freedom of expression should never defame nor violate others’ rights. T1 will continue to do our best to protect our players and create a healthy esports culture.
Q&A Session with the media outlets that were present (Translated, Update: July 19, 21:27 KST)
Can you specify how many individuals have been sued?
It’s a small group of people. Because this is an ongoing case that’s under investigation, we cannot provide the exact number of the people that we are suing. We didn’t sue all those that left hateful comments. As we stated in the statement earlier, we took action against only those that have continuously left very spiteful comments.
Additionally, while we were monitoring the various online communities, we learned that a small group of hateful netizens’ malicious posts took up a large chunk of all the posts in those communities. The accused are a small group of people that have continuously left such posts & comments since the beginning of the year.
Just how severe were these posts?
If I do specify the severity of such comments, then the identity of those we’re suing may get revealed, so please understand that we’re being very careful in that regard. To give examples, they were slanders targeted towards Faker’s mother and drawings that would be considered unspeakably foul.
For a few of the accused, the organization has previously warned them to stop hate commenting. Despite this, they have continued to ignore the warnings and continue on.
Is the lawsuit just being filed under the Criminal Act Article 311?
That’s right. It’s only under the insult law.
Are there any ongoing lawsuits for other players on T1?
Coach Kim “Moment” Ji-hwan’s lawsuits have been filed early this year, and are in process. Should there be a need to take legal action against other members of T1, we’ll be taking proper courses of action.
Can you give us more details on the reasons behind the lawsuits?
As we stated earlier, despite the warnings from T1, these individuals have continuously posted malicious online comments. As T1 had no choice but to move forward with these lawsuits, the organization and Faker himself wishes that these people are properly punished.
So why now? Why did you decide that today was the appropriate time to move forward and take legal action?
In order to combat such online hate comments, we established an internal legal team this year. After MSI, the severity of these posts have gotten much worse, so we felt the necessity to strongly take action.
Should the court rule in favor of Faker, how much sentencing are you expecting?
In terms of the insult law in Korea, the accused are usually sentenced to a fine between 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 KRW [764.58 USD to 1529.17 USD]. However, depending on the severity and the frequency of such insults, the accused may be subject to jail time. In our case, because these individuals have been very malicious and continuously insulted Faker, we believe that the sentencing will be much harsher than a simple 1-2 million KRW fine.
Depending on the result of this criminal lawsuit, are there plans to move forward with a civil lawsuit?
For now, we’re moving forward with a criminal case. However, should there be further action needed, we’ll potentially discuss plans for a civil case as well.
After T1 provided a statement with regards to taking legal action, has there been anyone that contacted the organization to request for favorable arrangements?
The admins of a Faker anti-fan community have contacted the org and have sent us a written apology. Also, with regards to the current suit, because this is our first time publicly announcing the lawsuit, there has been no contact yet.
Are there any plans to take legal action against the specified online communities themselves, for neglecting to take action against such insults and slander?
Legally, they do have a duty to monitor and take action against such hateful posts and comments, and they’ve been very cooperative of our requests, so we’re not concerned in that regard.
Recently, there were incidents within kt Rolster, where they were sent not only pictures of deadly weapons, but actual weapons being sent in a box to their practice room, essentially threatening the players and the coaching staff. Have there been incidents like such with T1?
There weren’t any incidents like that with T1. While I do not believe that it’s not my place to speak for other organizations, I agree with what our CEO, Joe Marsh, tweeted with regards to the incident at KT on a personal level.
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