Wed, Jul 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Media team sues Professor of Power

UNREASONABLE?The team members said they owned Lee Si-kuen’s fan page and asked him to pay them more as content managers to keep the page up, but he refused

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Content mangers for the social media account of National Taiwan University political science professor Lee Si-kuen (李錫錕) on Monday filed a lawsuit alleging that Lee owes them back wages totaling NT$600,000 (US$19,735), although Lee rejects the claim.

Since 2006, Lee — who dubs himself the “Professor of Power” — has built up a fan base of more than 720,000 followers on Facebook by posting daily videos that share his views on politics and current events.

Lee in March announced plans to run as an independent candidate for Taipei mayor in the Nov. 24 elections.

While netizens discovered that Lee’s fan page had disappeared without notice, a new fan page with only several thousand followers appeared, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on Sunday.

The original fan page was managed by Lee’s former students, the report said, adding that Lee formed a management team of about 10 people who received salaries as the page gained popularity, asking them to help him start a company.

The team said the members owned Lee’s fan page and asked him to pay them more as content managers if he wanted the page to stay up; he refused, so they shut it down.

However, the team on Sunday evening said in a statement issued to the media on a Line group chat that the fan page had been created by them and had always belonged to them, and that they had initially gotten Lee’s approval to post video clips from his class lectures.

Lee started paying the team after they agreed in September last year to use the page to promote his election campaign and recruited more people to the team, but they claimed that by May Lee had owed them a total of NT$600,000, the team said, adding that it had decided to stop cooperating with Lee on May 31.

Rejecting the team’s allegation, Lee on Monday said that while he paid them a total of about NT$3 million during the period of their agreement, the team kept asking for higher pay, adding that he had asked them to itemize their expenses, but they had not complied.

Team member Lee Yun-hua (李芸樺) and two other members on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit in Taipei against their teacher.

The team had planned to terminate the cooperation with Lee Si-kuen in April, but he asked them to manage the fan page for another month, she said.

The members had asked Lee Si-kuen to pay NT$600,000 for their work in May, with April’s expenses totaling about NT$580,000, she said, adding that Lee Si-kuen is defaming them by claiming that they asked him for unreasonably high pay.

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