In this age and advent of the internet and social media, one of the disadvantages of using the internet is the anonymity that comes with it. As there are no strict rules concerning the use of real names, people can spew hateful comments without any repercussions and vulnerable people like Sulli take the hit badly.
Another menace of social media is cyberbullying which no one seems to be immune to. It has prompted several beautiful, bright and young individuals to end their lives tragically because they could no longer cope with the onslaught. Sulli, whose real name is Choi Jin-ri was an actress, a stunning model, and a singer-songwriter who tragically ended her own life due to constant bullying and hateful comments she received on social media which led to depression and eventually her suicide.
Why Did Sulli Leave f(x)?
Sulli who was 25 years at the time of death started her career at a very tender age. She joined the SM Entertainment group as a trainee and began to learn all she needed to succeed in the entertainment industry. She built her acting and singing career simultaneously and in September 2009, she made her debut as a member of the musical group f(x) with the song “La Cha Ta”.
It appeared that things were going fine for Sulli in her musical and acting career. The group released their first (Pinocchio – 2011) and second (Pink Tape – 2013) albums to commercial and critical acclaim. Their second album became the only K-pop album that made it to Fuse’s (US music channel) “41 Best Albums of 2013. During the promotion of their third album titled Red Light (2014), Sulli quit the group abruptly due to the several maliciously hateful comments and rumors that were constantly spread about her on social media.
She became physically and mentally exhausted, withdrawn, and wanted a break from the pressure of being constantly in the public glare. A year into her hiatus, it was officially announced in 2015 that she has completely withdrawn from the group. Ironically, it seemed like her main exhaustion was related to her singing career as she continued to act and feature in movies.
Sulli began to gradually return to her singing career on her own terms. She was featured in the single “Dayfly” by Dean in 2018 before she made her debut as a solo artist in June 2019 with the album “Goblin”.
What Led To Her Death?
Sulli has been under attack for several years on social media. On the surface, she appears well put together, beautiful and successful but has been a victim of cyberbullying for years which might have led to depression and suicide. Towards the end of 2018, she revealed that she suffered from social phobia, panic disorder, and severe depression. With her positive attitude and constant advocacy for women’s issues, Sulli seemed to have things under control. She even appeared in the JTBC2 program -The Night of Hate Comments where celebrities discuss their reaction to malicious rumors, cyberbullying and the hateful comments they encounter online.
On the show, she admitted that she is an attention seeker and her social media presence is her biggest success but she disagrees with the notion that she goes braless to seek attention. She revealed that it was just more comfortable, natural and prettier. She also disagreed with the comment about her looking like a drug addict due to her large dilated pupils. She revealed that she studied drug behavior during method acting which helped her portrayal of the drug addict character. She preached acceptance of other people’s differences and advised online trolls to divert their energy towards positive endeavors.
Another major criticism and backlash she experienced online and in South Korea was a month before her death when she accidentally exposed her breast during a live stream on social media. All these must have culminated to the tragedy that happened on the 14th of October 2019 when her manager, who was worried about his inability to reach her, found her lifeless body hanging on a noose in her house. There was also a note in her diary where she described her feelings but they aren’t sure if it’s a suicide note. While an autopsy was carried out to determine the cause of her death, her family members and close friends held a private funeral in her honor.
Moreover, before her death, she had constantly asked her agency to take strong measures against cyberbullying and malicious comments. She also advocated for tougher punishment for cyberbullying and strengthening the use of one’s real name when creating accounts and posting comments.