..MANILA, Philippines - After more than two years, rapper Tablo (real name Daniel Armand Lee) of the Korean hip hop group Epik High has achieved legal victory against an internet forum in Korea that accused the singer of forging his Stanford University diploma and other credentials.
The Seoul Central District Court has convicted two members of the internet group "TaJinYo" (translated to "We Demand the Truth from Tablo") in the defamation case that Tablo filed in 2010.
The court sentenced the two to 10 months in prison for spreading false rumors against the singer.
In addition, six members of the internet group were sentenced with eight to 10 months in prison suspended for two years.
The group was formed in May 2010 to attack Tablo, accusing the singer of faking his Stanford degrees and saying that he did not graduate from the prestigious university. Members even requested the Seoul prosecution office to investigate Tablo.
But the accusations were rebuffed by Tablo and the university.
Tablo brought a TV crew from Korea's MBC channel to Stanford University to prove that he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree from the university. He even published his transcript of records online.
Stanford University also issued a certification in June 2010 that Tablo graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction and Master of Arts in 2002.
In the certification, Director Tobias Wolff of Stanford University's English Department said, "Again, let me stress that the records of the university and the department are absolutely clear on these points."
The university's online news ran an article to affirm that Tablo was indeed a graduate of Stanford.
"The rumors continue despite the efforts of TOM BLACK, university registrar, and TOBIAS WOLFF, the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in English and Lee's former teacher. Both Black and Wolff released letters in early June verifying that Lee was, indeed, a Stanford graduate," the article said.
The article quoted Black as saying, "My document has a legal bearing here in the United States. I could go to jail if I were to falsify the document. The ignorant mob, I'll call them, is just spewing poison for no reason."
However, despite the presentation of Tablo's credentials, the internet group continued to attack the singer.
This prompted Tablo to file charges against them.
In his ruling, according to KBS website, Judge Kwak Yoon-kyung said, "The public has the freedom of speech in expressing their interest in celebrities, and in turn, celebrities should be able to handle it to a certain extent. However, these two members crossed the line between simple person comments to continuous, malicious slander against Tablo and his family."