White Influencer Criticised For Getting Surgery To ‘Look Korean’
A white influencer has faced backlash on social media for claiming to ‘identify as Korean,’ after getting several surgeries to look more like their favourite member of BTS.
Oli London, from the UK, has reportedly had more than 15 cosmetic surgeries since 2013 in an attempt to ‘look Korean.’ In a recent YouTube video, London said they identified as non-binary and Korean, and asked their followers to use the pronouns ‘they/them/Korean/Jimin.’
‘I do identify as Korean… this is my choice, my decision. It’s not hurting anyone,’ they said. In a subsequent tweet, London posted an image of the a rainbow-coloured version of the South Korean flag, and said they would also use the ‘pronouns’ ‘kor/ean.’
London’s posts have received huge backlash, with the influencer variously accused of racism, being disrespectful to Korean culture, and invalidating those who identify with non-binary pronouns.
‘You may fetishize koreans but you’ll never be a korean,’ one user commented, while another wrote ‘kinda makes us neopronoun users look a bit like a joke and i feel quite invalidated ngl,’ referring to the use of Ze/Zir as non-traditional pronouns indicating gender neutrality.
‘Idc if they’re nonbinary, doesn’t change the fact that they’re a white person pulling this stupid s**t’ someone else wrote.
In an email to the Daily Dot, London’s manager denied their decision to identify a different race was offensive, saying, ‘Besides from identifying as gender fluid and nonbinary for the past several years, Oli has also felt strongly attached to Korea and the Korean culture and feels much more connected to this than [their] own culture.’
London responded to the criticism themselves in a video posted to YouTube, saying those saying they couldn’t identify as Korean were ‘disguising their homophobia.’
‘The only people that need to be cancelled [are] the woke people… because they are so dangerous to freedom of speech in society,’ they said.
The growth in popularity of BTS and other Kpop groups in recent years has led to accusations of some western fans attempting to appropriate Korean culture, with the word ‘Koreaboos’ often used to describe Kpop fans who go too far in their obsession.
London has previously shared images of themselves dressed in a Hanbok, a traditional Korean outfit, and told the Daily Mail last year: ‘I’ve been having surgery since 2013, when I decided I wanted to look like Park Ji-min from the Korean boyband BTS, travelling all over the world to Korea, to Poland, to China to get it done.’ BTS debuted in 2013, when Jimin was aged just 17.
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