SM Entertainment Announces Legal Action to Combat ‘Malicious Slander’ About RIIZE

SM Entertainment RIIZE
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SM Entertainment RIIZE
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Photo Credit: TenAsia / CC by 4.0

SM Entertainment announces legal action to combat so-called malicious slander about members of K-pop boy band RIIZE.

SM Entertainment has released an official statement declaring its intention to sue individuals responsible for writing “malicious slander” and defaming the character of members of K-pop group RIIZE. On Wednesday, March 13, the agency released a full statement following rumors that began circulating on social media, particularly about member Anton and an alleged relationship.

“Not only are falsehoods about the RIIZE members being recklessly spread on social media and online communities, but illegal acts such as the creation of posts that cross the line, including attacks [on RIIZE members’] character, insults, and malicious slander, are continually taking place,” SM Entertainment’s statement begins. “These actions are a clear criminal act that severely defame our artists’ character and violate their rights.”

“We are well aware of the situation and are in the process of reviewing the material we have gathered, and we plan to take strong legal action by suing, so that the perpetrators of these illegal acts will be punished, without any settlement or leniency,” the agency asserted. “The privacy of the people around our artists, especially their families and acquaintances, is being continuously invaded through habitual stalking, verbal abuse and swearing, sexual harassment, and more.”

“As these kinds of acts are also criminal behavior, we ask that you recognize clearly that legal action is possible, and we urge you to take special care not to get involved in such shameful acts,” the statement warns. “We are always grateful to the fans who love RIIZE, and we will do our utmost to protect our artists in the future as well.”

Dating rumors almost always create a buzz for celebrities, but for K-pop stars, they can be tantamount to scandal. For RIIZE, the rumors surfaced after a blurry photo of two individuals circulated on social media, with speculation that it was member Anton and a “non-celebrity” female companion. Coupled with accusations of “neglecting” fans on the Weverse platform during his time off, it seemed that netizens were determined to “out” Anton’s so-called romantic involvement.

To make matters worse, Anton, who was raised in America, has been accused of running a “secret” Instagram account. There, comments have ignited controversy in the K-pop community, allegedly belittling and “tarnishing” the reputation of Koreans, even as Anton benefits from his status as a K-pop idol. The account has since been removed, and it’s unclear if direct ties to Anton or other RIIZE members have been proven.