This scary story out of Korea: A Rapper Ravaged by an Online Firestorm. Dan Lee graduated from Stanford with both a BA and a Masters in English, and then he decided to become a rapper in his native Korea, going by the name Tablo. He flew to the top of the charts. According to the article, he even outsold Jay-Z and Eminem:
“His album at that time was the No. 1 album on the U.S. iTunes hip-hop charts,” Davis says. “It was topping Jay-Z and Eminem, so he was really on the verge of something.”
(Not sure why I know who Jay-Z and Eminem are but hadn’t heard of Tablo. But I’m no hip-hop expert.)
Someone got either mad or jealous. They/he/she claimed to be a relative and said that Tablo had lied about his academic credentials (funny how a Stanford degree gives street cred to a Korean rapper, while getting locked up in prison does the same for an American rapper). He graduated with both the BA and Masters in 3.5 years, which looked suspicious. When Tablo responded by releasing his transcripts and degree, Korean netizens began poring over the documents and looking for reasons to believe they were doctored. Tablo’s sales plummeted. He was harassed in the streets.
As it turns out, Tablo hadn’t lied. He did graduate from Stanford. Stanford actually contacted a journalist from Wired and asked him to find out the source of the rumors. 12 people are now on trial for defamation. Tablo’s career is now back on track.
I’m just a bit surprised that an anonymous commenter who claimed to be a relative could cause this much damage. We’ve got an anonymous coward rule on this site, but even without such a rule, wouldn’t people fight for Tablo’s right to know who his accuser is? This kind of nonsense happens often in small, rural American towns, but how does something this obviously avoidable take place with one of an advanced, industrialized country’s most famous celebrities?