Netflix Korea Responds to Backlash Regarding Skin Color Comments on 'Single's Inferno'
“In the cultural aspect, there are things that are acceptable in Korea but not in other countries.”
Netflix‘s latest Korean dating show Single’s Inferno has been making headlines since its premiere, from joining the streaming platform’s Global Top 10 list to the controversy surrounding Song Ji-a’s knockoff outfits. The company’s Korean branch has addressed the recent backlash for statements contestants have made on the show regarding skin color.
For those who have yet to watch the reality series, some of the male participants repeatedly mention “light” and “white” skin color as one of the traits they notice when they first meet the female contestants. “I like [Shin] Ji-yeon. Her skin is so light,” the translated subtitles read as Moon Se-hoon speaks with his fellow co-stars. He additionally mentions: “She seemed so white and pure. That’s my first impression of her.” Choi Si-hun made similar comments: “I like people who have light skin.”
While having “fair” or “lighter” skin is generally considered one of the many beauty standards in South Korea, international viewers pointed out that the skin color-related remarks are colorist. Kang Dong-han, Netflix Korea’s VP of Korean content, said at an online event: “There are actually too many concerns about this. If you think about it, it is not long since Netflix started streaming worldwide. In the cultural aspect, there are things that are acceptable in Korea but not in other countries. So yes, there are countless cases of this concern.”
He added: “So we realized the studies on humanities were necessary. And it is very important and we are considering with most seriousness. There are instances when we do our own translation, subtitles, dubbing, and more, but there are cases when we hire a third-party company.” He continued by saying that the team at Netflix is “taking this opportunity” to “learn with a humble attitude.”