On the most recent broadcast of MBC’s ‘Tablo goes to Stanford -1’, Tablo revealed all the rumor about his falsifying graduation documents from Stanford University. (MBC is one of three major national South Korean television an radio networks.)
Tablo (the real name is Daniel Armand Lee) is best known as the leader of the South Korean hip-hop group ‘Epik High’. His music work incorporated various musical styles ranging from hip-hop to electronic as well as gangsters.
He becomes more famous leading social media trend in the K-pop industry. After five studio albums, he surpried everyone with his decision to break from a major record label and go independent via online.
Epik High recently launched their own bilingual Website, where fans can watch their videos and live performances, read members’ blogsan buy their albums online. The decision to deviate from established distribution services stemmed from Tablo’s desire to make his music more affoardable to fans.
Not only using his main Website, but Tablo is also using numerous social media tools (e.g. Cyworld, Twitter, YouTube and blogs) to reach out more international fans. As a result, his first online special album ‘Epilogue’ reached the number one spot on the iTunes hip-hop album chart on Marth 9th 2010. CNN reported him as a piorneer of the online music industry.
However, after being accused of falsifying graduation documents last June, Tablo’s career began to collapse. People formed an ‘anti-cafe’ site named ‘We Request the Truth From Tablo’, saying that Tablo has taken some advantages in the Korean music industry with his false Standford MA degree.
Although Tablo had already posted his Stanford documents on his blog and Cyworld, the members of the cafe turned a blind eye and commented. Even Ashton Kutcher (Tablo’s Twitter friend) and Tom Black (Stanford Registrar) defended Tablo via Twitter, nothing was enough to change anti-fans minds. Thus, Tablo finally went to the mainstream media to clear his name. (In Korean culture, people tend to more believe what mainstream media says than what social media does.)
Last week, the Stanford Daily from Stanford University has recently announced a report about MBC’s ‘Tablo Goes to Stanford -1’ and showed their support for Tablo, saying “it’s true that Tablo is a Stanford University graduate accoding to our documents” (see the article). They also revealed Tablo’s photo during his days ar Stanford in his year of graduation. Furthermore, Stanford Registrar, Tom Black expressed:”It is all just rumors and innuendo. It is not truth they are after. It is just to ruin his life.”
Tablo case is closely associated with Korea’s deep-rooted culture of judging someone by their educational background. It appears Tablo mentioned Stanford quite frequently whenever he appeared in media, and that may have made some Internet users jealous.
With the airing of the MBC special, hopefully Tablo will be able to clear his name and finally be able to put this out-of-proportion online rumor behind him.