Poisoning Ivy

      November 21, 2007 07:06

      Ivy is a singer who on the strength of her hit song "Sonata of Temptation" came into the spotlight as the sexiest female pop idol since Lee Hyo-lee. Not long ago, Ivy found herself embroiled in a scandal after she reported her former boyfriend of several years to police. According to the victim's testimony and the arrest warrant, the boyfriend threatened to release a "scandalous" video clip, beat her up and extorted money from her. The man is now behind bars.

      Now everything is in the hands of law enforcement authorities, so the Ivy case can be shut, right? Not quite -- on the Internet, the case is still pending. Last week Ivy failed to show up at an awards ceremony hosted by a cable TV station. More precisely, she couldn't attend the ceremony because she still fears the negative attention of netizens and online media outlets.

      An online entertainment magazine posted an article about the arrest of Ivy's former boyfriend that contemplated on the existence of the purported "Ivy sex tape." A large photograph of the singer accompanied the text. The blackmailer has been arrested, but Ivy's nightmare doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.

      The Ivy scandal began to take off about three weeks ago. Since then, many netizens, boastful of their information-gathering prowess, have posted messages online gossiping about another man Ivy was supposedly involved with, passing judgment on her purported affairs, and even suggesting she should be beaten for being a "bad girl." Others simply want to know where they can buy the sex tape. Some Internet media outlets, eager for wider audiences, have posted such stories as if they are truthful. They seem to have completely forgotten the fact that even a woman who has 10 boyfriends is entitled to her basic human rights.

      One male singer who claims to be the victim of Ivy's "two-timing" has almost made it a rule to repeat his woeful tale of "falling prey" to that "bad girl" at every televised opportunity he can get. TV networks have increased their viewer ratings by taking advantage of his personal grudge against her.

      So a woman has been turned into a witch by a joint collaboration of powerful TV networks, Internet publishers, a man who claims to be a victim of love, and rabble-rousing netizens fond of manufacturing villains.

      The public masses on the Internet are a duplicitous bunch. They go wild with enthusiasm for the latest sexy pop idol. But the moment she's implicated in a scandal, they turn on her and burn with a vengeful passion. Though she might be the real victim of wrongdoing, they bombard her with attacks of psychological violence. In the wink of an eye enthusiastic fans become terrorists of slander. This phenomenon stands in sharp contrast to cases involving male celebrities. Sex scandals involving men are seldom exposed. And even if photographs are posted to the Internet showing them lying on beds in hotel rooms, they can still enjoy high popularity.

      The problem is, male chauvinists aren't the only group of online trash talkers. Click at random on a few of the slanderous messages on the Internet and you'll soon discover that many of their authors are women. Over the past years, women have become braver and their sense of their rights has become stronger. But even these women sometimes follow what the boys do, when they try to accuse other women of sex scandals. They are eager to join the guys on the bandwagon in their pursuit of Schadenfreude and the creation of witches.

      You may understand by now how female celebrities should behave from this point on. They should never part with their boyfriends. They should never meet other men even if they don't like their current boyfriends. They should never report their old boyfriends to police for hitting them or threatening to release a video. It's as if our female celebrities are walking on tightropes, chased by blackmailers carrying knives, with netizens and yellow journalists waiting for them to fall into a pot of boiling water below.

      If we'd like to be realistic, we ought to give the following advice to women who might suffer similar scandals in the future: Give up your belief in social justice where the bad guys are punished, hand over your money whenever you're threatened, sit still for your beatings and never forget just what sort of society you're stuck with.

      This column was contributed by Park Eun-joo, from the Chosun Ilbo's Entertainment News Desk.
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