(from left) Jo Kwon, 10cm’s Kwon Jung Yeol, Yu Seung Woo / Photos: Ten Asia DB

Male celebrities in South Korea have joined their female colleagues in speaking up about the so-called Nth room case – a sexual exploitation incident involving Telegram chat rooms. The public has become enraged over the large-scale sexual exploitation that has been perpetrated on minors. 

On March 21, entertainer Jo Kwon posted a screenshot on his Instagram Stories of a petition to the presidential office that read: “Make the list of the Nth room users public and punish them.” Other celebrities, such as Baron from the group VAV, urged their followers to sign the petition by posting the same screenshot.

10cm’s Kwon Jung Yeol and Yu Seung Woo also brought attention to the cause by posting another petition that read: “Unveil the identity of the Telegram Nth room suspect and put him on a press photo line.” 

The case in question involves the distribution of sexually exploitative videos, which were shared via the mobile messaging service, Telegram. Although the chat room operators and participants were mostly adult men, a large number of the victims in the videos were found to be underaged girls. 

The Nth room operators reportedly called the victims “slaves,” and acquired gruesome videos from women by threatening them. Operators charged the chat room users, who paid to watch the videos. 

On March 16, an Nth room operator surnamed Cho, who went by the nickname “Doctor,” was arrested. Cho was formally detained on the 19th for violating juvenile sex protection laws.

The country’s female celebrities took to social media, before their male colleagues, to express their outrage over the incident. Actress Son Soo Hyun voiced her anger on Instagram on the 20th with a post that said: “If this kind of immoral behavior just ends with perpetrators serving a prison sentence for a few years, I will lose it. Identities need to be revealed and these people need to be put on a photo line. All 250,000 users need to be caught, and we need to make it so that they can’t set foot in society.”

“The mentality of the perpetrators is extremely dangerous and unethical. Juvenile rape is bad enough, but this is also an affront on those close to the victims. They deserve severe punishment and condemnation,” wrote actress Ha Yeon Soo.

Actress Moon Ga Young, singer Baek Yerin, Sojin from the group Girl’s Day, and EXID’s LE have also shared online petitions and expressed their support for the cause.