Following the news of what Koreans named the “Slave Chatroom,” an exploitative group chatroom created by a user identified as “American Guy,” Twitter has seen a surge of #ProtectTWICE and similar hashtags — trended by TWICE fans demanding JYP Entertainment to take action against the malicious and even sexually harassing rumors being spread about the girl group.
According to Korean media Kookmin Ilbo‘s report, the “Slave Chatroom” is created by “American Guy”, who is allegedly an IZ*ONE fan — trying to seek revenge on IZ*ONE haters by trapping them in these chatting rooms. In a post uploaded to the Korean community site DCInside, “American Guy” is said to have proudly claimed that he “created a system” of “enslaving” IZ*ONE’s haters.
Koreans became extremely concerned as this “Slave Chatroom” system by “American Guy” seemed extremely similar in nature to the “Nth Room” system — though the latter evolved around sexual exploitation.
The report revealed that “American Guy” would track down online users who have left malicious comments toward IZ*ONE, discover their private information like their names, pictures, phone numbers, and addresses, and then threaten to leak the discovered information if they don’t participate in the “Slave Chatroom.” In fact, when some refused to enter the chatroom or tried to leave it after having entered, “American Guy” would not only leak their private information online, but also threaten to turn them and the collected evidence over to the police for actual investigation.
In the “Slave Chatroom,” divided into smaller sub-chatrooms of 10-12 participants, the participants were then forced to stay on “shifts” to monitor the internet community sites for any negativity toward IZ*ONE. The participants also had to use the “American Guy” method to collect more participants like themselves. According to Kookmin Ilbo, the said chatroom has grown to have at least 80 participants collected this way — including minors as young as elementary school age.
Then, a TWICE fan by the Twitter handle @_LightOfDawn_ exposed “American Guy,” based on screenshots taken from an alleged conversation between the fan and an anonymous tipper who had information on “American Guy.”
According to these screenshots — with original translations by @_LightOfDawn_, “American Guy” not only exploited IZ*ONE’s malicious commenters by trapping them in chatrooms…
… but also actively spread rumors about other girl groups like TWICE and NiziU.
Shocked by the revelations, TWICE fans began circulating the screenshots from @_LightOfDawn_ and trending the hashtags #ProtectTWICE and #ListenToUs_JYPE to demand the agency to take action against “American Guy.”
안녕하세요, Respect TWICE 입니다.
현재 JYPE의 아티스트 보호에 대한 총공을 준비중에 있습니다. 준비되는 대로 공지하도록 하겠습니다.
Hello, we are Respect TWICE.
We are preparing a mass mailing about JYPE's artist protection. We'll notice you when we are ready.#ProtectTWICE
— Respect TWICE 총공계 (@_Respect_TWICE_) March 13, 2021
While TWICE fans rally to bring the perpetrator to justice, “American Guy” is reportedly insisting that he has not crossed any legal boundaries in running the chatrooms. Lawyer Cho Hee Yeon of Lee Jeong Law Firm advised, however, that he is likely to receive a stronger sentence if taken to court.
He could be charged for blackmailing and coercion. Seeing that he also leaked the victims’ private information, he could be charged for the violation of the Personal Information Protection Act. As many have fallen victim to him, he is likely to receive a stronger sentence if taken to court.
— Lawyer Cho Hee Yeon
That being said, “JYPE” has also begun trending on Twitter with more fans coming to support the movement to push the agency to protect TWICE members from further online harassment and to seek action against “American Guy.”