3 plastic surgeons fined for false claims about K-pop stars
Three plastic surgeons and their marketing agent were fined Monday for respectively approving and creating false advertising that claimed a member of a girl band had undergone facial cosmetic surgery.
Seoul Central District Court ordered the four to pay a combined total of 20 million won ($17,500) to Kim Jae-kyung, 23, leader of K-pop group Rainbow, ruling that the online advertisement marred the reputation of the singer.
“The advertisement has made the public believe that her beauty is artificial, and this could have a serious impact on this young female celebrity who is sensitive to public opinion,” the judge said. “The court therefore has ordered the plaintiffs to make financial compensation to the singer who is under extreme emotional distress.”
The three surgeons employed the marketing agent, only identified by his family name Na, to advertise their hospital in January 2010.
The advertisement on a blog ran by the hospital in southern Seoul carried two photos showing Kim’s face, allegedly “before and after” she made her debut as a member of Rainbow in November 2009.
The blog also contained text implying that she underwent cosmetic surgery in order to become a celebrity. It was posted for nine days during which Internet users carried, shared and spread the pictures online until Kim’s agency found out and filed a lawsuit.
Na did not check with Kim in advance as to whether she really had surgery on her face. But a number of online users took the claims in the advertisement as true and spread rumors that she was a “fake beauty.”
“The surgeons have said they’re not responsible for the incident, claiming that they entrusted the advertisement to Na. Such a claim, however, cannot be accepted as the advertisement was made with the consent of the doctors,” the judge said.
Kim’s agency also accused the surgeons and the marketing agent of infringing copyright of her image, but the court rejected that accusation.
“The court finds no evidence that Kim and her agency suffered damage in terms of property, and the 20 million won compensation will be solely limited for damaging Kim’s reputation.”
Rainbow, a seven-member girl band, successfully debuted with the song “Gossip Girl.” It won the “Iconic Hallyu Star Prize” in January this year at the Golden Disk Awards, an annual awards ceremony during which prizes are awarded based on artists contribution to Korean pop music.