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Single’s Inferno: Netflix Korea responds to ‘colourist’ backlash

Netflix Korea has been forced to respond to backlash from international viewers over ‘colourist’ comments that were made on the hit dating series Single’s Inferno. 

The show was plunged into controversy after it premiered in December when two male contestants praised a female co-star for her ‘pure white skin’.

Responding to the outrage, Netflix Korea’s Vice President Kang Dong Han said praising fair skin is culturally acceptable in Korea.

‘White and pure’: Netflix Korea has been forced to respond to backlash from international viewers over ‘colourist’ comments that were made on the hit dating series Single’s Inferno

‘If you think about it, it hasn’t been too long since Netflix began streaming worldwide,’ he said in comments translated by Koreaboo.

‘Something may be okay in South Korea, but not okay in other countries. And of course there are countless instances where it’s the opposite as well.’

He then called the scandal a ‘learning opportunity’ for Netflix Korea.

‘This is why studying humanities is so necessary,’ he explained.

'Something may be okay in South Korea, but not okay in other countries': Netflix Korea's Vice President Kang Dong Han said praising fair skin is culturally acceptable in Korea

‘Something may be okay in South Korea, but not okay in other countries’: Netflix Korea’s Vice President Kang Dong Han said praising fair skin is culturally acceptable in Korea

‘It is incredibly important and I do take it very seriously. Sometimes, we do the translations, subtitles and dubbing ourselves. Other times, we do collaborate with third-party companies.

‘I see this all as a learning opportunity to become even better and am soaking it in with a humble attitude.’

Fair skin is a common beauty standard in Korea and dates back thousands of years.

Popular: Single's Inferno has become a blockbuster hit since it premiered in December, topping the Netflix charts in Korea and Japan and also charting internationally

Popular: Single’s Inferno has become a blockbuster hit since it premiered in December, topping the Netflix charts in Korea and Japan and also charting internationally 

‘White and glossy skin symbolized high class, which motivated people – men and women alike – to make their skin white,’ Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration wrote in 2014.  

Single’s Inferno has become a blockbuster hit since it premiered in December.

Not only is it the number-one show on Korean and Japanese Netflix, it has also charted in the global top ten and made waves in the Western world. 

'Her skin is so light!' The controversy started when Moon Se-hoon (pictured) praised contestant Shin Ji-yeon's fair skin during a conversation with one of his male co-stars

‘Her skin is so light!’ The controversy started when Moon Se-hoon (pictured) praised contestant Shin Ji-yeon’s fair skin during a conversation with one of his male co-stars

Fans on social media have been in a spin ever since the series premiered, with many likening it to the Love Island franchise.

‘So Korea made a show similar to Love Island I’m so invested,’ one fan tweeted.

‘I’m sure the girls and gays will go gaga over this guy,’ added another, referring to hunky contestant Kim Hyeong-joong.

‘Singles Inferno gotta be one of the best things Korea did this year,’ tweeted another.

Agreeing with him, Choi Si-hun (pictured) added: 'Her skin is so fair'

Agreeing with him, Choi Si-hun (pictured) added: ‘Her skin is so fair’

However, the show caused some controversy among international viewers due to the Korean cast’s politically incorrect beauty standards.

In one scene, two single men praised female contestant Shin Ji-yeon’s fair skin.

‘Her skin is so pale!’ Moon Se-hoon gushed. ‘As I saw her walking in, I was like, “Gosh!” She seemed so white and pure, that was my first impression of her.’

Agreeing with him, Choi Si-hun added: ‘Her skin is so fair.’

'Obsessed with white skin': These remarks outraged non-Korean viewers on social media, with some even saying they were unable to watch the show due to the fixation with whiteness

‘Obsessed with white skin’: These remarks outraged non-Korean viewers on social media, with some even saying they were unable to watch the show due to the fixation with whiteness

 

'She looks so white and pure': Some viewers were distraught over the colourist comments

‘She looks so white and pure’: Some viewers were distraught over the colourist comments

These remarks outraged non-Korean viewers on social media, with some even saying they were unable to watch the show due to the fixation with whiteness.

‘MFs [motherf***ers] in that Netflix show Single’s Inferno are a little too obsessed with white skin,’ tweeted one critic.

‘Started watching Single’s Inferno last night… some of these men are so fixated on bodies and pale skin… get help,’ added another.

‘I started to watch Single’s Inferno and all these men are obsessed with pale skin like stfu. I hate Korean beauty standards,’ a third viewer said.

The Asian Love Island? Fans on social media have been in a spin since the series premiered, with many likening it to the Love Island franchise

The Asian Love Island? Fans on social media have been in a spin since the series premiered, with many likening it to the Love Island franchise

One viewer tweeted screenshots of the offending scene and wrote: ‘Watching Singles Inferno and just from the first ep I know it’s not for me.’

Following the blockbuster success of Squid Game, Singles Inferno is the latest in a growing number of Korean shows that has found an audience with international Netflix viewers.

Hellbound and My Name have both been huge hits in recent months, while certain films like the horror-thriller #Alive have also gained popularity.

Hit factor: Following the success of Squid Game, Single's Inferno is the latest in a growing number of Korean shows that has found an audience with international Netflix viewers

Hit factor: Following the success of Squid Game, Single’s Inferno is the latest in a growing number of Korean shows that has found an audience with international Netflix viewers

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