Daniel Lee’s Internet ordeal appears to be over

Alumnus DANIEL LEE’s efforts to clear his name and prove that he earned a Stanford degree may finally be over.

According to the South Korean press, police have issued an arrest warrant for the leader of an Internet forum that accused Lee, a rapper-poet better known as Tablo, of lying about his Stanford education. Lee is the leader of the well-known South Korean hip-hop group Epik High.

Lee, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English in 2002, returned to campus in August, accompanied by a television crew, to put the Internet rumor-mongering to an end. The trip followed months of harassment of Lee and his family by members of an Internet forum called “We Request the Truth from Tablo.” The group clung to its accusations that Lee lied about his education despite an abundance of evidence provided by Lee and by Stanford.

The Oct. 1 airing of the resulting television program, called “Tablo Goes to Stanford,” on MBC in Seoul seemed to have helped turn the tide. In the segment, Lee is shown meeting with Registrar TOM BLACK, who confirmed his degree, and TOBIAS WOLFF, the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Department of English, who was Lee’s teacher.

But what finally resolved the issue was a recently completed police investigation. According to the Oct. 10 Korea Herald, “The cyber-crime team of Seocho Police Station said it has checked Tablo’s certificate and transcript from Stanford and confirmed that he earned a bachelor of arts and master’s degree at the prestigious U.S. university.”

According to the JoongAng Daily, the police planned to request the arrest of the Internet user who led the campaign of harassment against Lee. The publication said the police also filed summonses for 20 other Internet users. Lee also has filed a lawsuit alleging libel against members of the online community behind the attacks.

The nearly yearlong controversy has been big news in Korea, where publications even covered the mere fact that articles about Lee appeared in Stanford Report and the Stanford Daily. Publications throughout the country have been calling for increased laws against cyber-harassment as a result of Lee’s ordeal.

Lee said his family “feels safer, which is what really matters to me. It will take time for us to recover, but we are beginning to see hope.”

He added that he is grateful to Stanford, which he calls “the greatest alma mater in the world, for doing all it can to enlighten the truth and protect a family in the face of persecution.”

He said he also wants to correct any misimpressions the controversy may have created about Korea, saying, “I worry very much that recent events may distort the image of my homeland in the eyes of American academia. My harassers should never reflect the Korean population, which is filled with great talent and compassion.”