K-Pop Group Asks U.S. Court for Help Finding YouTube User in Defamation Case

NewJeans, one of the biggest K-pop acts, has asked a federal court in California to order Google to release the identity of the person behind a YouTube account that the members say is spreading defamatory statements about them.

The group said that a YouTube user with the handle @Middle7 made the statements in dozens of videos that were viewed more than 13 million times, according to the court filing. The group’s lawyer, Eugene Kim, wrote that the account had also engaged in “name-calling or other mocking behavior” targeting NewJeans. The videos “continue to inflict significant reputational damage,” according to the filing.

The move, made on March 27, is the latest example of K-pop stars responding to the pressures they face from the fervid online fan culture in South Korea. The request, if granted, would allow the group to sue the YouTube user in South Korea for defamation and insult, which are criminal offenses in the country.

“We regularly take legal action for violations of artists’ rights,” Ador, the management agency for NewJeans, said in a statement, confirming that it was pursuing a case against the videos.

Mun Hui Kim, a lawyer representing NewJeans in South Korea, declined to comment. Google did not respond to requests for comment. The YouTube account’s owner could not be reached.

NewJeans, which has five members, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list last year with its second album, “Get Up,” as part of the newest generation of South Korean girl groups dominating K-pop.

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