Jang Wonyoung (IVE) is currently the prominent example of a star suffering from online malice.
As of the current moment, Jang Wonyoung is a prominent example of a victim suffering from the excess of malicious comments online. Following the saddening passing of the late Sulli and Goo Hara in 2019, a wave of denouncement of this “culture” took place. Yet, it seems that malicious commenting is on the rise once again after three years and is heading towards Jang Wonyoung, with the video “eating strawberry with two hands.”
These behaviors online are problematic firstly because the IVE member herself was only an 18-year-old. At such a young age, the idol has endured streams of rumors and malicious comments on her SNS, most of which targeted her “exaggerated” facial expressions on stage or broadcast.
As a public figure and a professional singer, constructive criticism on relevant matters such as singing and dancing can be beneficial to the idol herself. Yet, the ongoing problem is that these criticisms are largely ill-intended (they are given not for the benefit of the singer.) With the previous unfortunate incidents in mind, the issue becomes much more alarming.
Previously, comments were only bounded on portal sites. However, When the comment sections on portal sites closed down, the malice and its posters have moved to YouTube where it can be spread far and wide. Generated by haters and blown up by “cyber-bullying” channels, the malice and rumors are being conveyed to numerous site users as if they are real and only get worse over time.
Jang Wonyoung was mentioned as a prominent example, but in fact, other girl group members are not free from this ongoing practice. While agencies are trying to combat these wave of ill intention and protect their artists with actual legal measures, this “culture of malicious commenting” is not easily erased. This shows that individual self-reflection online will not work without strict and functioning regulatory measures.
In the end, an user must keep in mind that a simple, “mindless” joke to them could be a “don’t ask violence” to someone else. And when the victim is a celebrity figure, the violence increases exponentially.