League of Legends is a national sport for many South Koreans with their esports association being a part of the Korean Olympic Committee. Top tier players are often national celebrities such as Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok. As such League of Legends has been utilized as a political bludgeon. lately, Ryu Ho-Jeong of South Korea’s Justice Party has come under scrutiny after esports journalist Ashley Kang found that Ryu Ho-jeong had boosted her League of Legends account over six years ago. Ashley Kang leaked the information via Twitter and then later adds a Facebook post from Democratic Party member Hwang Hwi-du who comments on Ryu Ho-jeong admission to boosting her account. Account boosting is the act of paying for professional players to take over a private account to grind it to a higher rank or status.
League of Legends permiating into KR politics.
Ryu Ho-jeong, a Korean politician, a member of Justice Party @Kr_Justice and a candidate for national assembly, has come under controversy after it was discovered that she shared her League of Legends account (boosting) pic.twitter.com/hWqzG0F83t
— Ashley Kang 애슐리강 (@AshleyKang) March 13, 2020
Hwang Hwi-du, former pro StarCraft player and self-described gamer, was the first publicly denounce Ryu Ho-Jeong after evidence of her boosting her account from Gold 5 tier to Diamond 1. He accused Ryu Ho-jeong of being an untrustworthy candidate, “As a former pro gamer, many may think that the controversy over Ryu’s history of account sharing, but the issue of getting boosted in League of Legends is a very serious issue. ‘Dopa’, a well-known player within the LoL community, was stripped of his title as a professional player and had his account permanently banned, so it’s just like having someone else take an exam for you.” Fellow national assembly member Lee Dong-sup has even suggested that she steps down from her position in politics. Lee Dong-sup would use this allegation against Ryu Ho-jeong as well who was the president of Ewha Women’s University’s esports club at the time of the event and is currently running for South Korea’s national assembly. Ryu Ho-jeong did give a public apology after the allegations were made against her.
I was careless to let other people use my account, and it was a very wrong thing to do. It’s not something to be easily forgiven within the gaming community, and my wrongdoing raised a negative stereotype on the ability of female gamers. I once again deeply apologize to those that were disappointed by my actions, and am reflecting upon my carelessness with a heavy heart.
Account boosting has been an issue that Riot Games has double its efforts to crack down on, resulting in several players being banned from the game. South Korea takes account boosting far more seriously than most other places. In addition to just ruining one’s reputation, account boosting can lead to jail time if found guilty. The punishment can result in up to 20 million Won ($17,300 USD) and/or two years of jail time. In addition to account boosting, this law also encompasses duoing and repeated coaching. It is unknown if Ryu Ho-jeong will face legal issues as a result from the account boosting.