Bae Suzy ordered to pay damages to studio mistakenly accused in YouTuber Yang Ye Won's sexual abuse case
In the government petition titled "Hap Jung XXXX Illegal Nude Filming" signed by netizens, the studio named in the petition (the plaintiff) was mistakenly mentioned although it was unrelated to the studio Yang accused. This studio is, however, located in the same address and so was named.
Actor Bae Suzy, who is popular for her roles in series 'While You Were Sleeping' and 'Uncontrollably Fond' among others, was ordered by the Seoul Southern District Court on June 13 to pay 20 million Won ($16,900 USD). The court ruled partially in favor of the plaintiff, CEO Lee of Once Picture Studio, and said Bae along with two others will have to pay for the damages the plaintiff suffered when the studio was wrongly accused in the case of model Yang Ye Won's sexual abuse.
In the government petition titled "Hap Jung XXXX Illegal Nude Filming" signed by netizens, the studio named in the petition (the plaintiff) was mistakenly mentioned although it was unrelated to the studio Yang accused in her video. This studio is, however, located in the same address because of which it was mentioned in the petition. Once Picture Studio was targeted however because of this.
In May 2018, news of YouTuber Yang Ye Won being sexually abused broke when Yang posted a video to her channel titled, "I'm a victim of a sex crime. Please listen to my story." In the video, she explained that nude pictures leaked and shared on the web recently were of her and how things turned out that way.
According to a report by Allkpop, when the story broke, Yang had said, "All the people who love me told me that I'm a victim so I shouldn't hide and be in pain. So I've gained the confidence and want to reveal how there are many victims and bad people doing bad things in Korea." She said she had signed a contract with an agency to do five photo shoots of different concepts as a fitting model and was informed by the director that one of them could be sexy.
Since the YouTuber wanted to be an actress, she agreed when she was told the photoshoot pictures would be given to her for free and can be used for her portfolio. However, when she reached the venue, there were no female staff members and 20 men with a camera were present. In the excuse of helping her pose in costumes which she had only been seen in pornography before, the men groped her breasts and vagina.
She continued in the video, "I thought to myself that I might be raped and dead if I don't follow along. So I just continued, trying to get out of here alive. I smiled when they told me to smile, I made finger hearts when they told me to make hearts, I opened my legs wide, stuck my tongue out, held my breasts, and pulled down my underwear when they told me to."
She received support from many in the Korean entertainment industry, however, the biggest of them was Bae. The studio claimed innocence and said the shoot was done with Ye Won's permission and that they would sue her for false allegations. With Bae's support, things snowballed because netizens signed a Blue House petition in support of Yang and the mistaken photo studio (which was not the one she had mentioned in the video) was run down.
Later, screenshots of a conversation that took place between Yang and the member of the photo studio (not Once Picture Studio) showed the YouTuber did not seem forced by the director or the photo studio, but instead, she was the one who repeatedly asked for them to be scheduled. The chat messages which were translated read: "How about Saturday night? I need to submit my classes fee by Sunday so I need to do it one more time before then TT. If there's a conflict in schedule, can we do it next week with me receiving the payment in advance...I wanted to ask TT. If that doesn't work, can you schedule me in difficultly TT. Obviously, I can't do much otherwise TT."
Also, it was revealed that between July 8, 2015, and September 18, 2015, Yang had scheduled a total of 13 sessions, while in the video that she had shared, she claimed she did five shoots after being forced by the director. According to the Korea Times, a month after Yang accused the CEO of the photo studio, he committed suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Bukhan River. This incident also resulted in Bae being accused of being irresponsible as an influencer in light of the screenshots. Yang also received a lot of hatred for being a liar after the screenshots with the CEO were released.
Bae tried to meet the CEO of Once Picture Studio in person to apologize, however, they denied her a chance and so she shared a public apology about the misunderstanding in the situation and not paying close attention to what she was supporting on social media. Her lawyers said, "Though we do feel a moral responsibility, mediation, and compensation are completely different things. We believe this will become a precedent to limit celebrities' freedom of speech. We find it difficult to provide financial compensation," when Bae and two others were sued for defamation. According to Allkpop, the studio stated in the lawsuit, "It may have not been intentional, but they hold partial responsibility for the escalation of damages."