BLACKPINK‘s management company, YG Entertainment, has threatened serious legal action against the person or people who allegedly leaked private photos of band member Jennie. According to BBC News, YG has asked police in South Korea to investigate how images of Jennie ended up on Twitter and the Telegram app, including shots that appeared to show her at dinner with BTS’s V.
“Photos that were circulated online were illegally released, regardless of the intentions behind them and without the consent of the individual involved,” YG reportedly said in a statement, in which it said Jennie has faced “personal attacks” and “sexual harassment” due to the leak. YG reportedly asked police to track down the “original distributor” of the photos, promising to take “all possible legal action without any leniency to prevent further damage in the future.”
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The statement also noted that YG had been keeping mum on the photo leak until publicly acknowledging it on Monday (Oct. 3). “YG has been consistently monitoring the matter and filed a lawsuit in September after collecting information. We have refrained from mentioning the matter or making an official statement in order to minimize any further damage,” read the statement. “However, there have been indiscriminate rumors, criticism, personal attacks, sexual harassment and violations of personal life sparked by those private photographs. We are now announcing that we will take legal action and correct the situation.”
BTS’ management, Big Hit Music, has also reportedly filed a separate criminal complaint over posts it said contain “false information” and “ill-intentioned rumors” without specifically naming the photos of V and Jennie as the cause of the action.
While YG has asked fans to not share the images more widely, BBC reported that two accounts associated with sharing them have already reportedly been suspended. One of the leakers reportedly claimed the photos were originally posted to a private account and appeared to feature a personal message from one of the singers to the other; BBC noted that none of the pictures are explicit and that the star’s faces are partially obscured or blurry in many of the images, leading some fans to speculate that they are fakes.
South Korea’s defamation laws allow individuals to be sued for posting malicious rumors or any words — even if they are true — that harm another person; punishment includes fines or possible imprisonment. Unlike in the U.S., in South Korea civil liability can be criminally punished. The country’s laws also give individuals a legal right to retain ownership of their image, which could lead to prosecution for anyone who leaks photos without permission.
At press time spokespeople for BLACKPINK and YG had not returned requests for comment.