Koreatown business sues TikToker for libel, slander over video review

A plastic surgery clinic in Koreatown is suing a TikTok influencer over her video in which she told her tens of thousands of followers not to go there after her experience. 

Surveillance video from the Wave Plastic Surgery Center in Koreatown shows TikTok influencer Tina Kim walking up to the front desk and walking around the lobby. It is what Wave's lawyers said is direct contradictory evidence of Kim's claims that the center is a "horrible horrible place."

Dr. Peter Lee is the CEO of Wave Plastic Surgery Centers. He's upset by the video. He told FOX 11, "I so take offense and I take it really seriously."

He said his workers go through training, they care about service and, he added, patients come in with appointments. Kim, he said, did not have an appointment "and, all of our staff were busy at that particular time."

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To Lee, Kim's reaction was beyond a simple review. He's suing the social media influencer for libel and slander. He's asking for unspecified damages because of loss of business and harm to his company's reputation. The lawsuit says there was a drop in business around the same time as Kim's post. 

Others weighed in too. Ugo Lord is a business law attorney and also a TikTocker.

"The first thing I noticed when I saw this video was, yes this TikToker is explaining her experience when she went into this plastic [surgery] facility, however, there is an issue when she goes a little bit too far," Lord said. "It is one thing to express your experience to say ‘I did not enjoy it and I would not recommend it,’ but it's another thing to go a step further and say ‘Do Not Go Here.’"

In the video Kim said, "Do not go to this WAVE Plastic Surgery in Koreatown Los Angeles."

There is another matter. In her TikTok, Kim claimed she was at the desk and in the lobby for 15 minutes. But, according to the lawsuit, surveillance video shows it was under four minutes.

"If you exaggerate the truth or stretch the truth maliciously, or you rephrase the truth to allow the audience to think something else happened even though your words are actually truthful, then a court can deem it malicious," Lord said.

The suit was filed December 7, 2023.

FOX 11 has reached out to Tina Kim for comment and has not yet heard back. 

Lord also discussed the similarities to Kim's video, and posting a review for a business on a site like Yelp. He said anyone who posts reviews should make sure any time they post, describe their experience, don't embellish or exaggerate and don't tell other people what they should do. Simply describe the experience and let the public come to a conclusion of their own.