League of Legends is a big deal in South Korea. The esports’ greatest ever player, Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, is considered a national celebrity, and competitive gaming is one of the nation’s biggest entertainment forms.
It’s held in such high regard that it’s even being used as a political weapon. According to a tweet from Korean esports journalist Ashley Kang, a member of South Korea’s Justice Party, Ryu Ho-jeong, has been targeted by opposition politicians because she was found guilty of boosting her League of Legends account six years ago.
Kang’s tweet links to a Facebook post in which a Democratic Party member – who is apparently an avid gamer himself and a former StarCraft pro – unearths Ryu’s 2014 statement admitting that she account shared and boosted from Gold 5 (as it was back then) to Diamond 1. He accuses Ryu of being an untrustworthy candidate, comparing her boosting in LoL “to using a proxy on a test and getting caught.”
Ryu was also reportedly the president of Ewha Women’s University’s esports club.
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
While politicians are always trying to dish the dirt on their opposition in order to damage their reputation, the fact that boosting in a League of Legends is deemed as an offence that makes an political figure untrustworthy says a lot about the game’s standing in Korean society.
While League of Legends fans will understand the frustration of Ryu’s opposition, with cheaters and boosters being an infuriating part of the LoL experience, it’s crazy to see it mentioned in Korean politics.