Fans mourned and questions were asked on Monday after K-Pop star and revenge porn victim Goo Hara was found dead in a possible suicide, which would make her the second female singer in a month to take her own life in the high-pressure industry.
The body of Goo, a member of former girl group Kara, was discovered on Sunday evening at her home in Cheongdam, one of Seoul’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.
Police were still investigating her cause of death and Yonhap news agency reported they were “keeping the possibility of suicide in consideration”.
In May, the 28-year-old star apologised to her fans after being hospitalised following a suspected suicide attempt, saying she had been “in agony over a number of issues”.
Goo was abused by an ex-boyfriend last year who — after they split — blackmailed her over their sex videos.
The ex, hairdresser Choi Jong-bum, threatened “to end her entertainment career” by leaking the footage, and a CCTV clip of the couple showed the singer kneeling before him apparently begging him not to.
In the conservative South, women who appear in such videos often feel shame — despite being the victims — and face ostracism and social isolation if the images become public.
The man was convicted of multiple crimes including blackmail in August and was given a suspended jail term, but the star had been targeted by abusive online comments since the incident.
Before her body was discovered on Sunday her Instagram account was flooded with hate comments about her appearance and her history with her ex.
Goo made her debut in 2008 with Kara — for several years one of the two biggest K-Pop girl groups — and pursued a solo career after the group broke up, completing a tour of Japan last week.
Her death sparked an online petition on the website of the South’s presidential office calling for stronger punishments for cybercrimes and abusive online comments, which garnered more than 20,000 signatures in less than a day.
“It was not long ago that we lost someone through hate comments and this cannot happen again,” the petition said. “Please protect the people from hate comments and criticisms that are spreading like a virus.”
Goo’s last Instagram post on Saturday evening showed her in bed with the caption, “Good night”.